Xaimi's Nerdy Blurbs: In Hamsterdam, Cute is Deadly

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NGB's Sound Riff

Monday, August 6, 2018

In Hamsterdam, Cute is Deadly



Game: Hamsterdam
Developer: Muse Games
Platform: iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch
Team: Muse Games
Genre: Real-Time Rhythm Brawler
Release Date: TBD

Summer 2018 has been kind to the Animal Kingdom’s smaller creatures. Blizzard blew Overwatch players’ minds when they released Hammond, the trigger-happy hamster mech pilot as champion 28.


Well Hammond, make some room for Pimm, the cute, tail-kicking protagonist in Muse Games’ new IP Hamsterdam.
Yours truly attended the Evolution Fighting Championships this past weekend, the largest fight game community eSports event--dare I say it-- in the World. However, EVO is more than the big name tournaments and sweet reverse sweeps. The showroom floor welcomes indie developers too in the Mix Developer’s Showcase. Cameron Bajus and Wendy Fritscher welcomed me to this particular neck of the woods to test out their feisty “pocket brawler.”


Hamsterdam’s cute hero won me over right away with his throwback, blue track jacket and no b.s. grimace. His adorableness could K.O. me for sure, but I wanted to know what makes Pimm so badass?



“His Grandfather taught him Hamster Kung Fu,” Cameron begins to explain, “...[but] Pimm does not care about training or practicing until Marlo [shows up]...”. Marlo is a dastardly chinchilla that storms into the city of Hamsterdam to pillage the seeds and take Grandpa’s secret hamster kung fu for himself. A fire is lit under the fluffy protagonist to save his kidnapped grandpa and molly-whomp rodent tail of all kinds.


If this sparks a remote memory of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, Cameron and I actually discussed the similar adventure catalyst and he has played Klonoa, although the coincidences are purely accidental.


Gameplay



We jump into a stage in the first world of the game. The vibrant art style grabs your attention. Pimm is indeed a master of the arts, but we do not want to show Marlo’s possum and rat grunts our full hand yet. So, we unleash a few quick taps on a bottle-wielding possum. You can screen-tap mash, but if you do not pay attention to enemy placement, you will eat a mighty blow. I eat quite a few and Cameron, giddy with excitement, points out the flashing red, almost Tekken Rage Drive-like aura enemies reflect.


“Swipe the screen! Swipe when they are red and you can counter!”


I refuse to let my coach down, so I swipe the screen once for a rat in the background, then another time for his back up in the foreground.


Jesus.


The hurt this hamster puts on these two is almost painful to watch. He grabs one by the arm and throws him down. The other he counters in a similar fashion, but follows up with a few rapid curb stomps.


Screw Harvey Dent; Pimm is the hero we deserve.

That felt good. That felt just as satisfying as a well-timed Dead or Alive counter or a 3rd Strike parry. Certainly I had this down to a science, but hey, this is a real-time rhythm brawler. The secret to building up your Seed Combo counter are “Perfect” hits.


Somewhere a fellow DDR/PIU player’s ears just twitched and a DJMax scratcher almost had a “break.”


Pimm glows with a white halo aura for a few brief milliseconds with each attack. If you attack at the exact moment he glows, you earn a perfect hit.


Seems like a cakewalk, but your enemies are not going to take it easy on you while you attempt to adapt. Battle long enough and players pay witness to quick-time inputs that, when executed properly, deal heavy damage to the Rodent Gang. A second visit to the Hamsterdam booth introduced later stages with increasing difficulty and new charge attacks. The charged One-Hit KO that would have downed a Rat in World 1 will barely scathe him as we delve further into the city.  I failed a harder level, but the fun and challenge was still present I could not help but get a slight, joyous Guacamelee feeling as combos landed or during fight cinematics.



Pimm’s Origins


The Muse Games team dabbled with the then-untitled hamster beat-em-up while working on Guns of Icarus and Guns of Icarus Alliance. “It was a way to keep the artistic juices flowing,” Cameron recalls. The team programmed the game for iOS and Android, but then Nintendo announced the Nintendo Switch. Suddenly, the team had a pocket console for their “pocket brawler.”


Instead of abandoning the mobile port, Hamsterdam will have two editions. The mobile version will have a smaller file size and thus will be a little cheaper. The Switch edition will boast more content, additional motion controls, and more robust graphics and art.


Both games will include unlockable skins you purchase using in-game currency. The skins create different buff effects for Pimm that compliment various playing styles.


Final Thoughts



The Nintendo Switch and mobile ports do not have a finalized release date yet. The team wants to make full use of the Switch engine to bring out the graphics and artwork of this critter world. Thus, Muse Games has a Kickstarter Fund in the works to raise money for the staff needed to deliver a product they can be proud of. This is their baby, their passion, and I could feel the polish they put into the game. Wendy and Cameron want their “son’s” first steps into the spotlight to resonate confidence.


Pimm is well on his way to continue the season’s trend of proving stereotypes wrong.
Cute can be deadly.


Until Later Guys,


^_^


Follow @musegames and @hamsterdamgame on Twitter and Instagram for Kickstarter updates and game developments!


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