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Hot Potato!

Review By:  Chris Lee

Developer:  bam!
Publisher:  bam!
# of Players:  1
Genre:  Puzzle
ESRB:  Everyone
Date Posted:  8-20-01

The mark of a good puzzle game has always been two very important things. Number one, it has to be simple enough that playing it isn't the puzzle. Number two, it has to be addictive and well thought out. That combination has yielded many classic puzzlers. Hot Potato! is another one of those games that's simple but very addictive.



The story, like most puzzlers, is pretty out there. However, you can say that they at least came up with something right? It goes that these Potatoes from Mars have come to earth to mate with the females. The males hang out in the street and the females just kind of.....shop. So what you have to do is hook the males and females up so that they can get back to their spaceship. You do this by taking a bus full of female potatoes and matching them up with a male of the same color. It's a simple premise, but the gameplay (as with most of the really good puzzlers) gets hectic.

The bus looks more like a big tray of potatoes with eyes more than anything else. The bus can move all around the screen (and there are times when you really have to). On the bus there are two horizontal rows of potatoes, three on each row. You can flip them and spin them as needed to match up the colors. As you're driving along you'll see males in various areas just kinda sitting around hangin' out. You know, guy stuff. I really wonder how badly they want to be tied down though. Cause I know for me sometimes it's just....nevermind. So you essentially match up a color with a color and shoot the girls at the guys, if you match them correctly and hit them, they shuffle off to the spaceship. The concept of shooting females at males is an interesting one. Much too interesting to cover in this review.

As the game progresses there are more and more males in the street to be matched. Oh and something I forgot to mention, you can actually run over a certain type of potato, but if you hit others, the bus blows up. Seems like the natural reaction of a carefree dude livin' on the edge. The more couples you match, the higher your score. There are also different types of guys hanging around like a reader (he reads books), a worker (he uses a pickaxe to find water) and a bouncer (get this, he takes out his eye and bounces it back and forth) and so on. On certain missions your goal is to get a certain number of a certain type off the board. As the levels get harder the field becomes more dense with potatoes and compact so you'll have to be fast and accurate. Certain types yield more or less points as well. There are also a special type of females that carry around rolling pins and they become invaluable on the higher levels. What they do is, if you match them up correctly, they'll wipe out everything in their line of fire. Good stuff.



You'll also run into many bonuses and obstacles along the way like bonus pads.  With bonus pads you have to clear off all the spuds on top of them to get either a 1UP or to get the allotted points indicated overhead. Then there are spud multipliers, they hold up signs with numbers on them, if you hit one of them then the next bonus pad will be multiplied by that number. Also, multipliers are the only type you can run over so keep an eye out, and NO not like the bouncers....yuck. There are also colored pills laying around that just so happen to match colors with the little spuds. What they do when you feed em to the little guys is a mystery so you'll have to figure that one out for yourself. And finally you've got speed lanes. At intervals throughout each level you get to pick what speed the bus will travel. So of course the faster you travel the harder the game is but you also get a higher score for higher speeds. You also have two modes of play to choose from, Mission Game and Score game. In the mission game your job is to unlock successive levels and hunt down newer types of spuds. In the Score game you have to clear the level in addition to reaching a high score target.

The animations in the game are actually very impressive. All the spuds are animated with several frames of animation and you can easily tell one type from another. The sound is also crisp and clear with this one. And as with all the GBA games so far, everything is sharp and colorful. BAM! has put out some real winners now with Fire Pro and now Hot Potato!. With Hot Potato I can sit down and find myself playing for an hour or more before I realize where the time went. If you're a puzzle fan like myself you'll really enjoy and get a kick out of Hot Potato!, you really can't go wrong here.

Highs:

  • Highly addictive
  • Sharp graphics
  • Great sound

Lows:

  • As with all puzzle games, may not be for everyone
  • No multiplayer modes.

Final Verdict:

There's nothing much to say here that hasn't already been said. I really like this game, and was actually surprised by it because it came out of nowhere. A multiplayer feature would have been nice but it's a fun single player title as is. It's solid and very addictive. You can't go wrong with this title if you're a puzzle fan and it's a nice addition to anyone's Gameboy Advance Library. 

Overall Score: 8.0

Additional Media:

Image 1
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Box Art

 



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