Hamilton’s Great Adventure: review


  • Format: PSN, PC
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Fatshark
  • Developer: Fatshark
  • Players: 12 (Offline co-op)
  • Site: http://hamilton.fatshark.se/

Hamilton’s Great Adventure does not start out on the right foot. After skipping through a storybook-reading session that serves as the bulk of the game’s plot, you will guide a portly Indiana Jones knock-off across a grid-like maze, quite naturally themed after the most generic of jungle ruins. Music of soul-crushing boringness is accompanied by sound design no doubt ripped straight from 1001 Super Sound FX rescued from Office Depot’s bargain bin. A slew of tutorial boxes interrupts your solving of the exceedingly simplistic puzzles, followed by a final score that may or may not make sense. However, we urge you to continue reading (or at least scroll down to the score below, which you’ve probably already done), for Hamilton has an ace up his sleeve that takes a while to develop; namely, legitimately great gameplay.

You see, this is a game that gets better and better as the levels become more complex and the player begins to understand what, precisely, makes it fun. Each square is a single step for Hamilton, and choosing the wrong path can spell certain doom– a fact you’ll most likely learn the hard way. Some panels collapse the moment you hop to the next one, cutting off any potential backtracking, and others will fling you into empty space if you get the order of events wrong. Getting Hamilton to the gold key and unlocking the exit isn’t very difficult on its own, but earning a shiny medal can be a tricky business indeed.

And you thought the ancient civilizations from Uncharted built impractical structures.

If you want to earn the elusive gold medal, you’ll have to step up your tactics. Grabbing each and every piece of treasure in the level is required to achieve this most esteemed rank, which is hands down the most challenging and entertaining way to play the game. Every step counts; it’s all too easy to trap yourself within your own carelessness, so paying close attention and thinking ahead will pay big dividends. Roaming enemies will keep you on your toes as you trace a mental path through switches and conveyor belts, but cognitive effort can only go so far. Trial and error will become your close associates as levels force you to race boulders to glimmering coins, and hesitation could lead to an unceremonious demise. Another close friend, the restart button, is only a tap away and will be used often; but that only makes nailing a level top to bottom all the grander.

Oh, and there’s a mostly forgettable parrot named Sasha. You can swap to her at any time, allowing you to fly unrestrained around the entire level, regardless of Hamilton’s ground-bound X and Y axis restrictions. Hitting hard-to-reach switches and distracting enemies with a squawk is all well and good, but its use as a co-op mode is unnecessary; between the limited camera and boredom of Sasha’s life, the second player will probably just get in the way.

And you thought the yetis from Uncharted were terrifying.

Audio and avian issues aside, you’ll find a pretty-looking budget title with a world-spanning slew of imaginative levels (along with extra tough bonus challenges) to justify its affordable price. It’s hard to avoid the obsessive-compulsive draw of gold medals, and leaderboards make this hobby all the more lasting. This title has one important thing going for it: gameplay. And in a world that clamours for flash, pomp, and a daily diet of marshmallow fluff, this alone is quite admirable. Yes, Hamilton’s Great Adventure is worth giving a chance; it very well may surprise you.

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Written by Stephen K

A lover of video games in general, Stephen will happily play just about any sort of game on just about any sort of system, especially if it's a platformer or an RPG. Except sports games. Sports games are boring.

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