1 thumb Hurry Up Hedgehog – Nintendo DS

Hurry Up Hedgehog is not what you expect it to be when you hear the title. Naturally, you first think it’s a Sonic rip-off, given the “speediness” of the title. It’s easy to assume it might be some type of platform jumper, but that couldn’t be more wrong. It’s actually based on the German board game Igel Argern, which was released in the 1990s.

Not too many people have played Igel Argern (also known as Egelrace), mainly because it was (obviously) never released in the rest of the world. Plenty of board games are available for the DS platform, but most are popular titles like Scrabble or Monopoly. Hurry Up Hedgehog is somewhat of a backgammon meets checkers type thing, and will provide a different type of board game from what you are used to. Plus, it has a silly name that makes you want to give it a try. To that end, Oxygen Games gets a few points for originality in deciding to bring American audiences a German game instead of something we’ve seen a million times. The question is whether or not it holds its own as a standalone video game…

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Hurry Up Hedgehog’s package presentation is fairly nice. The cover graphic looks intriguing and the back makes the game sound fun.

Specifications:

Hurry Up Hedgehog

Hurry your hedgehog’s home with Hurry Up Hedgehog!
An intriguing brainteaser challenging the whole family to shrewdly manoeuvre their
way to victory. Jostling against the canniest critters in the garden players must
dodge hazards, out-smart their friends and use cunning to race their hedgehog’s
home.
Hurry Up Hedgehog! Is both a simple and thoroughly addictive puzzler offering an easy-to-learn playing experience for the whole family to shrewdly manoeuvre their way to victory.  For board game aficionados, it’s based on the popular board game, Igel Ärgern.
Play against the computer or with up to 5 friends on a single Nintendo DS™ (or with multiple consoles through local wi-fi) whilst dodging hazards and out-smarting friends to race your hedgehogs home.

Featuring multiple game play environments and a selection of customisable game play and game rules options, Hurry Up Hedgehog offers up to 32 unique ways to play the game providing enough depth to keep players coming back for more and more!

Hurry Up Hedgehog! – Race, creep, jostle and out-manoeuvre in this intriguing multi-player brainteaser for all ages.

Probably the cutest hedgehogs to be seen on the Nintendo DS™ will be in shops from 28th March 2008.


Features:
• Hurry Up Hedgehog! game play dynamic is based on the popular board game Igel
Ärgern (also known as Egelrace) loosely translated “Hedgehogs in a Hurry” and
designed by Doris Matthäus and Frank Nestel.
• Board layout: Consists of 6 numbered lanes each 9 columns long. .
• Single DS Multiplayer and Multi-Card Multiplayer for up to 6 players.
• 6 graphic sets, and 5 rule customization options, allowing for 32 unique ways to
play.
• Stylus control throughout.

Release Date: 28 March 2008

Formats: DS

Age Rating: 3+

5 thumb Hurry Up Hedgehog – Nintendo DS 19 thumb Hurry Up Hedgehog – Nintendo DS

This is now the fourth Oxygen Games title I’ve been given to review. It is also the fourth title that majorly lacked instruction. Loading this game brings you straight to a menu that you can’t understand, putting you into a confusing situation before you even start the game. If you are a fan of acronym’s, this game’s initials are suitable here: HUH?

The first menu has only four icons. Touching them brings up words on the top screen that tell you what they mean. They are single player, multiplayer, credits and help. This isn’t the real confusing menu, though. Touching the single or multiplayer options takes you to the next menu where you set the options for the game, and that’s where it gets real messy.

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There are a lot of settings for Hurry Up Hedgehog. The box art advertises there are 32 ways to play, based on how you employ the options available. That is true, though there is little difference between them when you get down to it.

Icons are spattered all over the menu and it’s impossible to tell what they mean. They look very disorganized and sparse. Touching each icon brings up things on the top screen like “stacking on” and “shunting on,” “tube mode on” and “flat mode on.” Since you’ve never played this game before, you don’t know what those things mean.

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If you go back to the main menu and touch the Help option hoping for clarity, you won’t get any. The game tells you to consult the manual. You’d better hope you didn’t lose it (or if your home is like mine, you’d better hope the poodle didn’t eat it).

What the help menu does tell you is how the game works. However, it doesn’t tell you in much depth, so I’ll lay out the premise for you:

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Each player has with four “hedgehogs” on the far left of the screen, which is a 6×9 grid. These hedgehogs are really just weird looking circles – the actual hedgehog is on the top screen, where he dances or does weird expressions based on how your turn goes on the screen below. During every start of a turn, a “dice is rolled,” though you don’t see it, and random row is chosen. When it’s your turn, you move one hedgehog vertically and one hedgehog horizontally along the chosen row. The hedgehog you move vertically has to be your own. The one you move left or right can be any hedgehog, giving you the chance to sabotage other players if you don’t have an option to further your own hedgehogs towards the goal. Your turn ends once you have made the forward move. Thus, the vertical move is optional. Pits are found all over the game board, and if your hedgehog moves into one of them, he can’t get out until all the other hedgehogs on the board catch up. You have an unlimited amount of time to choose your moves, so these hedgehogs aren’t actually in much of a hurry. The first player that moseys three hedgehogs to the far end of the board wins.

If you don’t read the manual and only read the in-game help, it’ll take you a while to figure that out.

That is all how the game works on the default settings. Changing the options allow slight variations that don’t change the game drastically. For instance, tube mode allows you to move your hedgehog from the sixth row to the first row by going around the “back” of the board.

The game board itself is very basic, but it gets the job done. There are six backgrounds (or as Oxygen calls them, “playing environments”) you can choose, though they have no impact on the game aside from the placement of the holes.

Control is entirely through the stylus, which works very well for this type of game. The use of buttons would have complicated the control structure, so this was a good call on the developers’ part.

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The top screen doesn’t really have much purpose. Hedgehogs dance up there, act awkward, frown, and otherwise emote. It also acts as a score card for how many hedgehogs each player has navigated to the finish line.

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Multiplayer with other human beings is the heart of this game. If you have friends with the title, you can link up your consoles. Otherwise, you can just hand the game around to friends on one DS thanks to its turn-based nature. Playing by yourself will get old quickly because the competition is very uninteresting in single player mode, and constant multiplayer against the AI opponents is boring, as you spend the majority of the time watching them.

While there is some skill and tactical stuff you can do when playing against others, it’s not so much that this game becomes a true competition in any context. The challenge piques fairly early and thus the game can get mundane.

As far as graphics go, you can probably tell they are fairly weak. They don’t push the DS at all, and look more like GBA quality. Obviously this game is targeted towards kids, who don’t generally care as much about graphics as a selling point, but I’ve seen comparable graphics in Flash games on the internet. Even the icons on the menu screens are rendered sloppy.

Sound is possibly the worst element of Hurry Up Hedgehog. By that, I mean there hardly is any. Music plays during the menu screens, but the entire game is devoid of any instrumentation. This is uber boring. The only sounds you hear during play are a repetitive little chime during dice rolls and the awful giggling of a hedgehog, both of which will make you want to shoot yourself two minutes into the game. Music doesn’t even play when one player wins the game. Instead, the creepy hedgehog on the top screen dances to silence, performing very awkward pelvic thrusts into the air before the game anticlimactically returns to the menu screen.


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Conclusion:

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With some friends, this game could be fun for a while, particularly if you are a fan of board games. Solo, it’s a great way to spend 15 minutes, then it will grow stale. That is, if you can convince others to play. While it is fun to play a German board game that is new to most people, there just isn’t a lot of substance to Oxygen’s title to make it a lasting investment.

With awful menu screens and a terrible lack of instruction, it fits the mold with many other O-Games titles. There may be a lot of ways to alter the rule set and change the game a bit, but there is still a distinct lack of content and motivation to spend money on this title. If board games are your bag, then it’s probably worth checking out at the budget price of $20. If not, you probably won’t get your money’s worth.

5 thumb Hurry Up Hedgehog – Nintendo DS

Pros:
+Interesting new board game
+Great stylus control
+Functional multiplayer play

Cons:
-Bad menus and instruction
-Overall weak graphics
-Total lack of sound
-Lack of content for a full game

Grades:
Overall score 5 10 thumb1 Hurry Up Hedgehog – Nintendo DS
Design score 3 10 thumb1 Hurry Up Hedgehog – Nintendo DS
Performance score 6 10 thumb1 Hurry Up Hedgehog – Nintendo DS