Our Hamsterdam – Muse Games charming new brawler Kung-Fu hamster
Hamsterdam follows the adventures of Pimm, a Kung-Fu hamster. After watching the city of Hamsterdam fall to the crooked crime boss Marlo, it’s time to battle some unfriendly furries in this simply charming but fast paced action title. Available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, iOS, and Android Hamsterdam is a rather unexpected title from the team at Muse Games. Generally known for the steampunk battleships that float through online co-op Guns Of Icarus, this is a definite change of direction. Hamsterdam follows the adventures of Pimm, a Kung-Fu hamster. After watching the city of Hamsterdam fall to the crooked crime boss Marlo, things couldn’t seem to get any worse for this plucky protagonist. When things do, and Grandpa gets kidnapped, this cheeky blighter sets out on a quest to save Grandpa and the entire city from the clutches of Marlo and his scoundrels.
This premise probably sounds pretty light on lore. Let’s be clear, it is. Hamsterdam is, like many classic platforming titles, all about the experience. Like saving a Queen Bee or protecting the princess, Hamsterdam relies on great gameplay and a quirky edge to keep players hooked on its spritely action. While Hamsterdam is available on a variety of devices, my experience with this particular title at EGX Rezzed convinced me that it was worth shelling out on Switch. I’ll explain why a little later. Booting up the Switch’s 6.2-inch screen, it is obvious the tone of this title is definitely not that of a gritty steampunk disaster. Instead, a fuzzy little fighter pops up front and center. He appears in an overworld that depicts a hyper-stylized version of the real-life Amsterdam. Filled with tall houses and winding rivers, the game scampers across regions that take in the canals, red light areas, upmarket city streets, and beyond. Each of these has its own distinct visual cues without taking away from the overall whimsical feel of this rhythm-based fighter. Whether it’s the jacked-up riot rabbits or weapon-wielding weasels, the bright animation of Hamsterdam has almost as much impact as a hamster chop and I cannot argue that it is utterly charming.
This core component of Hamsteram is where the Nintendo Switch really starts to stand out. While other platforms tap, swipe, and wiggle their way to success the Nintendo Joycon controllers make extensive use of the system’s motion control. Simple swipes are mapped onto horizontal flails and hamster attacks become synchronized chopping movements. The simplicity of the control scheme never makes any task any more demanding than flicking a switch but the Joycons adds a level of hilarity and uniqueness that still makes me smile after a solid week of playtime.
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