Hula Hamsters – PC – Review

A collection of mildly amusing
activities for young children.

Hula Hamsters is a self-financed software program designed by 3A Studios, a design and multimedia company. This collection of activities marks their first foray into children’s programming.

Hula Hamsters is designed in a loose, self exploratory format in a child’s room; the games are accessed by clicking on various objects scattered around the room. There are a total of seven activities, plus lots of clickables. Some of the games are interactive stories, some are memory type games, and some are educational in scope. One of the games is quite cute, Velly Balls. This involves “throwing” velcro balls at a bull’s eye marked with numbers. The numbers that are hit are placed in the spot previously occupied by the velly ball in a linear equation – when all the numbers are placed, a question mark can be clicked on for the answer. One of the educational games introduces the planets of the solar system by way of a talent show. An interactive story tells the tale of Gravity, who no longer wants to do his job. Three different scenarios tell what may happen if gravity takes a holiday. One game called Brain Twisters is simply a matching game. Other games are similar in concept to these.

The animation is fairly unique, and resembles old cartoons from the sixties and seventies in a nostalgic style. The effect is attractive, especially to adults. The music is upbeat, but could quickly become annoying.

The activities included in this program are more just for fun, than for educational purposes. The quality varies widely, with a few good ones, such as the Velly Balls, the Hula Hamsters Heroes, which is an interactive story, and Find the Bean, which while just a shell game, still is fun to play. Others are mediocre, such as the Brain Twisters, a matching game, and Mini’s Microscope Game, which asks kids to guess which object is being displayed under a microscrope; set up as an educational game, this activity really teaches nothing, it’s just guessing. On the whole, the animation is very well done, but the content could use some tweaking. For a first effort, some rough edges are to be expected. Hopefully subsequent games will be smoother.

Gameplay: 5.5
The activities are very basic games for the most part, with one exception, Velly Balls, which is pretty fun to play.

Graphics: 7 
The animation is really cute, in a retro sort of way.

Sound: 7
The music is good, but slightly manic.

Difficulty: Easy
The games are pretty easy for the most part, as they’re designed for young children.

Concept: 6 
There’s nothing very innovative here, except for Velly Balls.

Multiplayer: N/A

Overall: 5.9
A mostly average type of game: nothing particulary wonderful, but neither very bad. As a first effort, not too shabby.