Game Review Data
Game Title
Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak
1 Player. Battery Save.
Andrew Blanchard



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My first introduction to the world of Hamtaro was this year's GBC version (Ham-Hams Unite!) of the strangely compelling Hamster world. I have to say I was a bit cynical to begin with but after spending a little time with the game I was completely won over, which is remarkable considering the age range it was intended for. Like Pokemon though, it's a lot bigger than a mere GameBoy title. As well as a hefty collection of merchandise in its native Japan, there's also a TV series, which my youngest nephew never misses. Although it's hard to change the game structure, the GBA version does promise updated visuals, sound and even more mini-games. Have Nintendo delivered? Read on and see...

Screen Shots


I won't delve into the plot too much but an evil Ham-Ham called Spat has decided to cast a rather nasty spell on some of the more romantically inclined couples, causing them to suffer severe relationship problems. Your job is to complete a number of tasks to convince these would be couples to get back together again. As with the previous outing, most of this is achieved by chatting to as many inhabitants as possible in order to increase your Ham-Ham vocabulary because the more words and phrases you possess, the easier it is to solve problems.

Encountering anyone (or thing) will produce a drop down menu of different options. Scroll down to the one you want and you'll be able to converse. Frustratingly, you'll occasionally encounter a problem where nothing appears to work with some of your options simply reading '???'. This simply means that you've yet to learn the required word and the puzzle will need to be placed 'on hold' until you do.

You'll also encounter a few mini-games on your adventure, the most enjoyable of which is the Dance Contest. This challenges you to combine a series of Hamchat in the most inventive way and so produce a winning dance. To be honest, it doesn't seem to matter exactly how good or bad your creation is as success is based on external factors including other puzzles you've solved.

Then there's the photo studio, which allows you to dress up and pose for a gallery that can be viewed whenever you wish. There are also some seemingly pointless pursuits though and collecting stones just to rub them down to see if they contain any more valuable properties really should be avoided at all costs.

Finally (and as with most Nintendo titles) there is a battery backup but the fact that this is an adventure means that a pass code really wouldn't do here.


The interface has had little altered from the GBC title - meaning that fans of the series will take to it in no time at all. Nobody else should have any problems either, as the controls are both intuitive and responsive, allowing you to learn by trial and error without anything too disastrous occurring.


Except for the screen resolution, this latest outing is almost a carbon copy of the GBC title, although you can see that it has been given an overhaul thanks to the GBA's ability to handle more sophisticated visuals. Everything's still very cute and it does include more animation and richer, more detailed backgrounds but it's the game's simplicity that makes it so endearing in the first place. You get some wonderful scaling and transparency effects but these are generally used for the various characters to express an emotion of some description so there's a good chance you won't even notice.

Sound & Music

If the visuals can be considered cute then the audio is equally so and fans of the original will be delighted to hear that the various hamsters still squeak and purr at one another at every possible opportunity. The music isn't bad either with 'themed' music accompanying the different sections as you travel around bringing a little love back to the land.

Final Comments

This latest Hamtaro is a joy to play and a wonderful introduction to the world of adventure for younger gamers. The majority of the game is focused enough so that you can generally decipher what to do next without it appearing too linear. However, that's not to say that it's a walkover as some sections are fairly tough, encouraging you to employ some diverse problem solving skills. It won't be for everyone though, so if you're used to the Broken Swords or Lucasarts titles of this world, you'll probably find the whole thing frustratingly easy but for beginners and fans of the series, it's definitely recommended.

@ EAGB Advance 2002. All rights reserved.