CGR Undertow – DOKODEMO HAMSTER 4 review for PlayStation

CGR Undertow – DOKODEMO HAMSTER 4 review for PlayStation


I’ve frequently spoken of my love of board
games. Well, that should be qualified a bit. I like good board games, which require strategy
and planning and contingency after contingency after contingency. That’s what gets my posterior
medial frontal cortex a’bubblin. Dokodemo Hamster 4 provides little to none of that
action, though. It’s the more common form of board game: Roll a die, move X number of
spaces, make almost no decisions except which path to take around the board, and hope that
the random number generator is kind to you. There might be some wrinkles here or there,
like cards that allow you to affect the outcome of some rolls, but for the most part it’s
brainless roll, move, roll, move, and a lot of waiting on the computer opponents. That’s about the size of what you’re getting
here. Unlike the first three installments in the Dokodemo Hamster series, which were
hamster-raising and indeed hamster-correspondence games that just insidiously tried to spy on
your media consumption from the comfort of the Wonderswan, this fourth version is naught
more than a series of boards, which you roll around and… um.. try to win. You win by
getting to the goal. That’s about it. The aesthetic is very much the same, with various
styles of cute hamsters bounding about, though this version benefits from things like color
and not being limited to the Wonderswan’s extremely tiny screen. That’s what I’ve
got for you this week on Hamster whatever-today-is-the-days-are-kinda-blending-together, brought to you now and forever by Felicity
in Worcestershire, who probably hit all the sales on the high street through careful planning
and a fleet of furry, adorable minions. Awright, so that’s really all I’ve got
for you today. What is there to say? You move forward, you maybe get cards that move your
opponents back or cost them a turn… sometimes at the cost of one of your turns… and you
eat things on the board. Each hamster has a health bar, which depletes over the course
of the game and must be replenished either by chomping down vegetables or by using other
cards, gained from card spaces that you might be lucky enough to land upon if the dice gods
favor you. Run out of hearts, and you get thrown back to the beginning and have to roll
through another twenty turns just to get back where you were. Look. I’ve got no problems
with dice, or roll-move board games that actually have some challenge or action to them like
Mario Party or Momotarou Dentetsu or the like. I’ve got no problem with strategy games
that use dice to effect a random strategic effect, like Kingsburg. But taking turns to
hope you land on the one space that will let you progress to the inner path where the goal
is… there’s a word for that, and it’s “mind-numbing.” They try to mix it up,
by having battles between hamsters should two end up on the same space… but even then,
it’s random numbers, in an event triggered by random numbers, which has the effect of
knocking one hamster back a random number of spaces. At least they’re kinda cute when
they’re mad. So that’s Dokodemo Hamster 4: They took
a kinda advanced chatterbot for the Wonderswan and turned it into Snakes and Ladders and
Hamsters. And bad things happen when Snakes and Hamsters are in proximity to one another.
If the utter lack of interesting gameplay doesn’t get to you, the constantly-looping
music and incessant springy sound effects will. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200
hamster-bucks. Do feel free to go back through the Hamster Thursday archives and find something
better than this, which won’t be hard.

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