Moles really do have a hard time.
Whack-a-mole, the staple non-video game that can be found in video game arcades around the world. Many a coin has been exchanged for the opportunity to bash a mole on the head as it emerged from its hole, in an attempt to out score friends and rivals alike. Such a simple pleasure. But can you imagine how much fun it would be if the moles were a bit more reactive? Well, imagine no more. Happy Hammerin’, available on WiiWare from GameBridge, adorns the moles with personality and even gets them dressed up in various costumes. The moles have had enough, and they will no longer make it easy for you.
Adventure mode offers the player the chance to take out those pesky moles across four themed areas. The areas included are Jungle, Horror, Space and Japan, with each area using suitable environments and moles that appear native to that area. As the camera pans across the jungle environment, for example, tribal moles will leap out of the bushes, from behind rocks and even just wander between trees in the background. The player must whack as many moles as possible to achieve a decent score and possibly earn a medal. There are three different difficulty levels available, with each one increasing the time and frequency of the moles, making it harder to get that perfect score. These scores can then be uploaded to a global leaderboard, to be compared with other players around the world.
Marathon mode is available for those that want to relive their times at the arcades. The player will begin with moles appearing from just a few holes. However, as the player achieves a certain number of hits, they level up, which adds more hoels and even speeds up the moles. This can continue forever, but the player has only five lives to play with. Each mole that is missed removes one of those lives and, once all five have been used, the game ends. Again, a global leaderboard is included, with some really impressive scores already uploaded. There must be some real dedicated mole whackers out there.
Finally, and perhaps most impressively, we have the Party Battle. Whack-a-mole was always a social game at the arcades, and thus it should be on the Wii. Although adventure mode can be played through with two players, this is where all of the action is. Up to four player may participate in the two available game modes. The modes are numbers and colours. In numbers the player compete to whack the most moles in a given time limit. This gives way to a frantic chaos of Wiimote waving in front of the TV. Colours challenges the players to whack four in a row of the same colour moles. With each group of four you achieve, your opponents life bar decreases.
The games graphics are simple, but colourful. Given the nature of the game, anything more would have made the game too busy and less playable. The audio, too, is simple, but fits well with the game. The controls are simple and can be picked up by anyone, given that they largely consist of only waving teh Wiimote at the screen. Whilst not containing the most depth I have ever seen in a game, Happy Hammerin’ offers the type of simple gameplay that can become quickly addictive, especially with a group of players. Although perhaps targeted at the younger gamers out there, I can see this game quickly becoming a favorite amongst adults, especially after a night out.
Happy Hammerin’ is addictive, colourful and simple to play. And at just 500 Nintendo points, offers great value for money. You will never need to humiliate yourself in front of a crowd again, unless you want to.