We here at JayisGames (and, presumably, our Weekday Escape fans) really like classic four-wall one-room escape games, but occasionally they can become a bit...tedious, can't they? Every now and again we like to break away and do something a little different. This week, join us for the harrowing adventures of Chubby Hamster as he tries to escape the child from The Bad Seed (or at least her distant cousin) before she can do something unspeakable to him. Unspeakable, I say!
You'd think with a title like "Chubby Hamster" and such a cute protagonist, this would be some light, kid-friendly room escape. Au contraire! The mood is set with the opening animation, as the demon child from heck buys our poor hapless hamster from a pet store and brings him home. What is a chubby hamster to do to avoid a fate worse than death? Why, he needs to escape! Escape from his cage, and escape from the house of horrors where he now resides. Can you help him escape in time? Will the demon child return, possibly with hot pokers? Will she love him and hug him and call him George? Can you figure out how to give a mouse indigestion? How surreal will it get before our hero gets out?
Designed by Daniil Dolgoshapko, Chubby Hamster is not a classic point-and-click room escape. Rather than you, the player, picking up, examining, and using items, the actions are performed by the furry pet as he attempts to escape. Click on something and our chubby little friend will walk over and try to manipulate it. If you've guessed the correct action, you will be rewarded with smiles and giggles. Direct the hamster the wrong way, however, and be braced for his displeasure. Boy, that hamster is a killer! Or, at least, unusually aggressive for a hamster.
You will find clickable areas with the help of a changing cursor, and when it comes time to move to the next scene handy arrows will appear in strategic places, allowing you to move, climb, or jump from one place to the next. There is even an inventory, although you will not be able to interact with it, just be able to see what it is your hamster has on hand as you direct him from place to place. There are also handy controls to mute the music and sound effects, which can become a little grating as time goes on. A save button would have been nice, though, if you wanted to give it a rest and walk away for a bit.
Analysis:Chubby Hamster more resembles something like Escaping the Prison or Abuba the Alien (albeit not as kid friendly) than your classic room escape, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Not at all. Still an escape in the broadest sense (he is trying to get out of that house before the kid can do...well, whatever evil thing it is that she has planned), Chubby Hamster is fantastic fun with more emphasis on using found objects than any type of puzzle solving. In fact, there's not any true puzzle solving at all in this little gem. It's all about using what is at hand.
What impresses most is the sheer amusement of the gameplay. The growling, suddenly aggressive behavior of the hamster if you send it to the wrong place is hilarious, as is many of the situations he finds himself in that you have to get him out of. It's a shame, though, that the terrifying youngster from the opening animation never makes another appearance. That would have been the icing on the cake.
With its cute animation, wacky yet suspenseful music, amusing sound effects, and its bizarre characters, Chubby Hamster is a fantastic adventure all on its own. Slightly scary, somewhat bizarre, and wholly entertaining, Chubby Hamster is the perfect mid-week break.