Possibly best described as a ‘platformy puzzler’, Hamilton’s Great Adventure for Android is one of those demanding games that requires concentration, thought and some spot-on reactions in order to reach the end credits. The pick-up-and-play nature of the games makes it a great way to while away a commute, or even an entire evening as you figure out how to get a gold medal on every last level...
The hero of the tale is old school adventurer Hamilton, who traverses a number of disparate worlds with his feathered sidekick Sasha, in search of ancient treasures. You control Hamilton and Sasha directly, switching between them with a touch of a button, and steering them with a virtual thumbstick. Each world is split into a generous number of levels, and the goal of each is simple: grab the golden key and make it to the exit without plummeting to your death or being twocked by the many different enemies.
Hamilton’s Great Adventure starts off at a deceivingly sedate pace, with levels that can be effortlessly completed in just a couple of minutes. However, come the end of the first world the difficulty ramps right up, and you’ll be lucky to reach a level’s exit without enduring at least three or four untimely deaths. The key to survival is pre-planning, although you’ll need to accept a fair amount of trial and error as well, as some buttons and levers can do quite unexpected things, sometimes leaving a level impossible to finish.
Your main obstacle is the floor itself, which comprises mostly of collapsible tiles. These only drop once Hamilton steps off them, but one wrong move and you’ll find yourself trapped and needing to restart. Things get more complicated when new tiles are introduced, which only collapse after you’ve run over them twice. Soon you’ll have to carefully plot out Hamilton’s path before you venture forth, at the very least to ensure you grab all of the gold and jewels that are scattered around. Taking control of Sasha at least allows you to scope out a level, as the peppy parrot can fly across the entire area, and she can also tug the abundance of out-of-reach levels that allow Hamilton to reach locked segments.
Hamilton also has all kinds of bloodthirsty baddies to deal with, from man-eating pirhanas to skulking golems. With no weapons, his only defence is legging it, so you’ll need to have fast reactions to survive. Thankfully the on-screen controls work well for the most part, and only occasionally did Hamilton wander off in a random direction (although this usually resulted in us dropping over a waterfall or running face-first into a gribbly).
Presentation is top notch throughout. We loved the crisp, colourful graphics which really show off the full power of nVidia Tegra 3, as this game wouldn't look out of place on a home console or computer. Character animations are also silky smooth. You even get partially animated cutscenes between levels that help to further the story, which is a cheesy Indiana Jones-style romp. The plot itself is fairly forgettable, but only because we were skipping through in eagerness to get cracking on the next level.
With plenty of worlds to explore, Hamilton’s Great Adventure offers many hours of brain-tickling gameplay. Each area can be replayed to get the best possible score (based on time taken and gold collected), and our only complaint is the occasional unforeseeable death through the trial-and-error elements and control slip-ups.