If you've ever wanted a game with that special blend of "what the heck am I playing" and "wasn't it Tuesday when I started playing this?" then maxmobile's iOS and Android RPG sim Pygmies Hoglet EX might just be for you. An enhanced and expanded version of the original game, it puts you in charge of a lonely little hedgehog trundling around the world looking for spiky friends. Your quest might take a long time as you travel to distant lands, but is you can handle cuteness wrapped in a whole lot of brightly coloured weird, this might just be the addictively engaging little pick-me-up you've been looking for.
Just tap the directional buttons in the center of the menu bar and your hoglet will start walking in that direction until you stop him or change the way he's facing. The minimap in the bottom-right corner displays your position and any events you can encounter, which range from swapping gifts with Santa, to tracking down gems for the Jewelery King, or just straight-up fisticuffs with things that want to eat you. During battle, your opponent's action bar will fill up as yours does. You'll attack automatically, but though holding the big exclamation mark button will halt your action bar, it also curls you up into a protective ball that will reduce the damage you take and deal a bit in return. For successfully completing miniquests or defeating enemies, you can earn EXP orbs you can either use to buy things from certain characters, or spend on increasing your own stats. You can even earn badges that grant bonuses if you're lucky. Just keep an eye on your health and food points... health can be restored by hitting the pause button during normal gameplay to sleep, but food can only be restored by chowing down on items you find throughout the land.
Make no mistake, Pygmies Hoglet EX is an extremely simple little game, only a few steps above your basic Tomagatchi-type toy. Gameplay is very slow, largely due to how long it takes your hoglet to move around the map, and resting as well as grinding for EXP orbs takes up even more time... unless, of course, you want to pay for more orbs through an optional in-app purchase. Despite that, it's still weirdly hard to stay away from for very long. Pygmies Hoglet EX is like addictive sunshine and off-kilter charm delivered straight to your eyeballs. The easy, "just one more encounter" style gameplay is something even young kids will be able to grasp quickly, but adults will find a lot to love in the relentlessly cheery design and quirky sense of humour. Pygmies Hoglet EX lacks a great deal of depth and creativity, but offers boundless vibrancy and silliness for players looking for something they can pick up and fiddle with anytime, anywhere.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on an iPad (First Generation). Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.