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The gameplay in Hamsterz Life gets right to the point. Hammy, the game's resident hamster specialist, introduces you to the world of cage living, and immediately throws upon you the task of choosing from five different breeds. These breeds don't vary so much in size and shape, or at least the differences aren't noticeable, but rather allow you to choose from over a dozen different color combinations. For my first run through of the game, I chose a cute brown and grey hamster of the Baby variety, which I named Stewie.
After choosing your hamster, you are taken to their cage, viewing everything in a first person perspective. From here, your responsibilities go into effect, and you are placed in charge of your hamster's training, happiness, hunger, thirst and overall well-being. The options available both in the food and toy departments are numerous, and keep your gameplay experience new and fresh day after day, even though the main premise might seem a little boring on paper.
Apart from the basics like feeding and cleaning, you also have the option to talk to your hamster. Yes, in Hamsterz Life your hamsters have mastered the human language and as such depend on you to help them express their feelings and needs. Mainly, this is accomplished by them asking a question such as "When I do something good, I feel..." with your options for replies being 1) Proud, 2) Sad, 3) Angry. Obviously, in the above situation, the answer would be number 1, and with the simple click of your stylus, your hamster will learn how to express their pride.
Or, if answering questions gets boring, you can initiate a conversation by utilizing the DS's mic. Simply say "Hello" or "Good Morning" and your hamster will greet you with a few phrases of its own.
Apart from helping them with their feelings, you can also teach your hamster the basics like "Hey", and "Good Evening" as well as how to greet people on holidays by saying things like "Happy New Year", for instance.
Much of the gameplay in Hamsterz Life revolves around your hamster's growing intelligence, not only in terms of speech, but also when it comes to toys and new cage layouts. When you receive a new toy, for example, your hamster must first experiment with it for a few minutes before it learns how to properly interact with it. For instance, there is a large tube that you can place in the middle of the cage, but until your hamster is used to it being there, it will never know to crawl through it.
The beginning hours of the game are more basic, and allow the player to learn the fundamentals when it comes to caring for their hamster. In order to reward the player for their good caring practices, your hamster will approach you at random intervals with the option of playing one of several mini-games ranging from those old tile-sliding games where you have to rearrange the pieces of a picture to the claw-machine games you normally find by the checkouts at the supermarket.
Each game allows you to win up to three random items. Most of the time, the items are some form of food or drink, but occasionally you can win new toys, cage layouts, wallpapers, and even outfits for your furry friend like earrings and leather hats.
As the game progresses and your hamster gets smarter, it will also grow in size, making the larger cages you can win not only fun to play in, but also a necessity since the default cage is quite tiny. But life in a cage can still get boring at times, so Hamsterz Life allows you the option of releasing your hamster into your bedroom to play on the bed or couch. After the bond between hamster and player grows, you will sometimes find presents waiting near the cage's exterior. Simply set your hamster near these items and the