Henry the Hamster Handler is a competent rhythm puzzler. The FNGR GNS Review;
There’s a bunch of budget priced puzzlers currently residing on the ever-growing pile of ‘get it on Switch. It’ll sell there!’ titles that a being shovelled onto the store without a second thought to its actual quality. It’s strange that Nintendo seems oddly lackadaisical with their quality control for their treasured handheld hybrid, as more and more games pile on every Thursday (an average of seventeen games a week) and whilst a minority of them are probably good, there’s the reality that most aren’t going to do anywhere near as well as the publishers have hoped purely because it’s on the Switch.
This particular issue is becoming a rather serious one, with the eShop beginning to turn into a phones App Store, you have to wonder if there’s even a chance the quality titles will get a chance to breathe amongst the sheer number of games that most of us will never bother playing.
One such title is Henry the Hamster Handler, a game I’d probably never look at twice if it wasn’t for the game being sent over to FNGR GNS towers this week. Everything about it screams mediocrity and a price (a ‘less than a pint round my way’ price of £2.49) that didn’t do an awful lot to help with the concerns. Fortunately, any worries I had were quickly dismissed, as Henry the Hamster Handler (boy that’s fun to type) is a competent game, if a little one-note.
If you can imagine Lemmings but mixed into a rhythm game with hamsters, then you’re someway to understand what on earth this whole shebang is all about. Each level has you delicately ensuring hamsters find their way to escape the evil 2D plain full of traps that can zap them out as quick as they arrived. Through button prompts you’re turning off the traps and guiding these little bundles of fur to safety. You’re scored at the end of each level in regards to the percentage of Hamsters you saved.
A neat addition is if you press the wrong button or press one too quickly your overall percentage will be knocked down. It’s a cool mechanic that keeps you on you toes but it’s fairly simple once you get in the rhythm. It’s important to have a nose at all the buttons before the level begins proper and adjusting your fingers to make sure you’re resting on them, as you’re going to need to react quickly and hit them at the exact moment. Fortunately there are drop-down reminders and a voice that definitely doesn’t get annoying telling what you to press at the right times.
Each trap has a different button assigned, so throughout each level you’re going to be consistently repeating prompts to ensure all hamsters make it to the safe spots. Certain traps upon avoidance will allow the hamsters to float over gaps, avoiding falling into spikes and other hellish nightmares that’ll instantly dead them. Right in the face.
And that’s Henry the Hamster Handler. Based on a 3D VR version of the game currently available on Steam, this Switch edition is quirky and designed well, with some clever and ingenious later puzzles that I failed at rather consistently. Fortunately it’s not Binaries levels of annoyance but the difficulty ramps up enough to make it worth a go if you fancy a challenge. There’s absolutely nothing here that’s going to blow your mind, it’s not a visual powerhouse and the music is infuriating but there’s very little to complain about when the game is less than £2.50. It knows what it is and you should probably know what you’re getting into if you’re going to take the punt.
Save some hamsters, save the world. Or something.
Henry the Hamster Handler is available now on Nintendo Switch (£2.49).
Developer: Pocket Money Games
Publisher: Pocket Money Games
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we received a promotional copy from the publishers. For our full review policy, please go here.