As if one movie tie-in game for Over the Hedge wasn't enough, now, coinciding with the DVD release, comes Over the Hedge: Hammy Goes Nuts. Capitalizing on the popularity of the movie's leading squirrel, Hammy goes Nuts follows the adventures of Hammy and his friends as they wreak havoc on the neighborhood's human inhabitants.
The premise of the game is a bit out there, to put it mildly. Hammy the squirrel is pissed because his cable TV is out, and a beaver named Boris says he can help Hammy get something better than cable, called "interactive TV."
What is this Interactive TV, you might ask? Let's just say it involves breaking and entering, and then peeping on people as they fall victim to traps that you set up for them. That doesn't sound shady at all, right? It seems someone finally found the perfect premise for a children's game that includes committing felony crimes and delighting in violence against others, and still manages to include cute animal friends. Did we mention that somehow all of this is supposed to help Boris the beaver build the beaver dam of his dreams? Yeah, we're not following either…
Each level, or "job," consists of two parts - figuring out how to break into an innocent person's house while they sleep, and then setting up a "gag" (like a booby trap) inside the house, so you can watch them humilate themselves later.
The puzzles are basically the same in each job: you have to find a series of items in a specific order to get the key to get in the house, and then once you're in, you have to collect more items to assemble the gag. That's pretty much it.
Three of your furry friends are there at each job to assist you, but you can safely ignore them except for the odd occasion when more than one switch needs to be activated simultaneously to open a door. If you really want to go for a good time in each level, you will have to toggle between characters a few times, but after completing a few jobs you probably won't be too motivated to go back and replay them for better times.
The game's major flaw (besides the repetitive item gathering) is the completely unnecessary use of the stylus. The controls in the game are stylus-only, when a regular control scheme would have been more appropriate. While switching among characters is easier with the stylus, moving Hammy and picking up items (which constitutes 98% of the gameplay) is awkward and detracts from the game overall.
An undiscerning child may have a bit of fun for awhile with Over the Hedge: Hammy Goes Nuts, and adults may even find the wacky, borderline creepy premise of the game slightly amusing. But if you care about children (or your own sanity), you may want to skip this one and just get the DVD instead.