PSN Review: Hamilton’s Great Adventure



Presented as a cross between Indiana Jones and Pixar classic Up, Hamilton’s Great Adventure begins with elderly Ernest Hamilton as he babysits his granddaughter Amy, settling down to tell her grand tales of his youthful exploits as an intrepid adventurer. As it happens, decades ago, Hamilton and his professor friend had dreamt up and constructed an invention called the transmorphanizer, but its power source – the fluxatron – was stolen by nefarious evildoers and the adventurer would have to set off in pursuit of those responsible, risking life, limb and his trusty parrot Sasha in the race to recover the device. It really is as daft and as charming as it sounds.

The game itself is a platform puzzler with emphasis on finding the perfect route along a grid path of square spaces to avoid traps, crumbling floors and dangerous enemies, while snagging keys along the way to exit the level. There’s no jumping to be done, and Hamilton’s movements are restricted to stepping onto the next space around him in any direction. To make his adventure a little more complicated, you’ll also assume control of his parrot sidekick Sasha, who can activate switches to open a path for Hamilton, and who can collect bonus items, too.
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Things start out simple enough, with the primary challenge being figuring out the ideal path to take along rickety walkways, where your footing might only last for one step before it disintegrates, blocking your route back if you took a wrong turn. Toss in some sections of floor that will allow two steps, and the puzzle becomes a trickier endeavour as you have to suss out a serpentine route that’ll allow you to snag items and retread your steps without stranding yourself on a broken bridge. As the game progresses, the puzzles get more complex, with water rapids that’ll drag you to your doom if you don’t step off in time, boulders that’ll flatten you like a pancake, along with mountain goats and Lovecraftian enemies for you to contend with. The game steadily ramps up the complexity and challenge and will soon have you scratching your head trying to suss out the solution. Puzzle game aficionados will have a ball with it, especially if you replay levels to collect every coin and get the gold ranking for every stage. Unfortunately for a family-friendly game primarily aimed at younger games, though, the ramps in difficulty might stump kids without an adult to guide them through.

But kids or adults alike can hop into the game’s co-op mode, where one of you will control Hamilton while the other takes to the skies as trusty parrot Sasha. It makes for a great team-up mechanic that’s a lot of fun, and the game proves much smoother and more enjoyable with a second set of hands. While the co-op mechanic’s a fantastic one that you’ll love playing with friends or younger family members, sadly the game doesn’t always feel particularly well-suited to a single player game, primarily in situations where you’ll need to speedily switch between Hamilton and his bird to throw switches with lighting fast timing. Puzzles that would be a breeze for two players suddenly result in some unnecessary added challenge for solo gamers.
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The game looks great and the charm of the story is aided by sharp, colourful, cartoony graphics and fun comic book cut scenes (which could, however, benefit from some voice acting). Sadly while the visuals are lovely, the camera can be rather troublesome at times. Often it’s tough to see where some objects, switches and collectibles are placed, especially on darker levels, and though you have the option to zoom in and tilt the view around a little, it can sometimes be cumbersome to be futzing around with the shoulder buttons to try and get a better angle on things, especially when controlling Sasha and having to adjust her altitude and direction at the same time, too.

Problems aside, Hamilton’s Great Adventure is a colourful, challenging and charming entry into the pantheon of PSN puzzle games. The lovely story set-up leads into a family friendly puzzle game that’s ideal for bringing a spot of brain-teasing adventure to a lazy weekend afternoons with the kids.

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Hamilton’s Great Adventure is available to buy on PlayStation Network now.