Hurry Up Hedgehog (Nintendo DS) - Review by andyr
Hurry Up Hedgehog! is based on the 'popular' German board game of 'Igel Ãƒâ€žrgern' (which, according to the inventor's website, has a suggested translation of 'Hedgehogs in a Hurry'). Most readers will consequently have never heard of it but let's not let that put us off. It's largely a game of luck, with some element of skill used to take advantage of the 'dice roll'.
The game involves the simple matter of getting three out of your four hedgehogs across the small 9 x 6 square board before your rivals. Your four 'hogs start off on the left side of the board, arranged randomly so that some will be stacked below & some above your opponents. You can only move your 'hog if it's on its own square, or on top of the others on that square. On each turn one of the 6 rows is chosen (either randomly or by the current player). You must then move any hedgehog in this row (including one of your opponents) forward one square. Prior to this you may move any one of your own 'hogs sideways one square - for example to push one of your opponents into a hole or change yours to a better lane. If you don't have one of your own 'hogs on the selected lane, or can't move one into it with a sideways move, but there is an opponent in the lane, you'll be forced to move the other player's piece. There are six 'pits' on the board and if you find yourself in one of these then you can't move that 'hog again until all others on the board have caught up with it, so manoeuvring opponents into holes is a key part of the game.
There are supposedly 32 different ways to play although this is a bit of a mi-representation to be honest. Yes, there may well be 32 combinations of the various rules (I'm not going to work it out so I'll have to trust them there), but in my mind it doesn't make this 32 ways to play. There are five 'rules' that can be switched to one of two modes - for example you can have standard 'flat' mode for the board, or choose 'tube' mode where 'hogs can wrap from the top of the board to the bottom. The other modes are: stacking / shunting, which controls what happens then you move onto another hogs square; doping / no doping (with doping on the first 'hog to reach the end is disqualified); player or random lane selection and finally random or player selected starting positions.
Playing one against the 'computer' seemed a pretty random game - I seemed to end up in pits more often that my opponent but hopefully that was just the luck of the dice rather than any bias. You can play with up to 5 friends on the same DS (which can get pretty chaotic), alternatively use wireless for multi-card play.
Control is via the stylus and is just a matter of selecting a hedgehog and then dragging it sideways or forwards as appropriate.
Graphics are pretty basic in this game. You get a top down view of one of 6 board designs overlaid with the square grid. Some of these backgrounds are quite nice, with my personal favourites being the orchard and the picnic cloth, while some others, like the allotment scene don't look too good. Your 'hogs are represented on the board by a spiky circle with a tiny yellow point sticking out the front (presumably the nose!). On the upper screen you have both a static and an animated hedgehog which reacts according to how well you are doing (and a shocked expression if they're in danger of being pushed into a hole). The 'hogs themselves, I'm sorry to say, are pretty ugly critters but I can see that their design might appeal to the younger audience that this game is no doubt aimed at.
The main menu screens resound to pretty standard DS musical fare which actually not bad. The only other sound effects come from menu item selection and weird little laughs and cries from your hedgehogs as you shunt them across the board.
With the bottom screen reserved for the actual game board, the upper screen is just used during play to indicate whose go it is and to give you an indication of how well you are doing from the reactions of an animated hedgehog. It also shows a representation of how the 'hogs are stacked on the selected square (since this can get tricky to see when there are a lot of players).
It's not a bad little game and I can see the appeal of it in board form. However I'm not all that sure that it holds up on the DS. With a board game part of the appeal is having friends and family sat round the table together and this can't really happen with a DS which would just get passed from player to player. It may offer the odd bit of light entertainment in the car but that's about it. Just one word of warning - do read through the rather sparse instructions before playing. On it's first outing a couple of children tried to play it in the back of the car without doing so and were completely flummoxed by it. They had no idea what was going on! You may need to go though it with younger kids before they get the hang of it but after that it's actually very straightforward.
Pro: Simple once you understand what's going on. Lots of options.
Con: Sparse instructions don't help younger gamers Dubious long term appeal.
Final score: 4.5