3.6

Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg review
A Non-Sonic Presentation

The good:

Charming graphics
Unique combat system

The bad:

Terrible soundtrack
Poor Camera
Levels getting closed off
All too famaliar

Summary:

Billy Hatcher is Sonic Team's first non-Sonic platformer, but can it match up to other platforming games?

Graphically it has its charm. Colourful and cherry certainly matches the theme of the game. There's nothing wrong here. The various environments are lush and varied. Forests, ships, fire, ice. BH has them all, and they are visually appealing. The animation is also smooth, running along at a respectable pace.

The sound, however, is terrible. Most of it is very high pitched. It sort of reminds me of that childish "song" that's intended to get on your nerves. Well, the soundtrack of this game certainly accomplishes that, and you are well advised to turn the sound down while playing. The sound effects do their job but are nothing special so don't worry about missing anything.

Now the gameplay. BH does boast a unique combat system, which sees Billy rolling round a giant egg (hence the name of the game). Billy can use these eggs to smash bad guys, jump high and other platform cliches as standard, simply delivered through a different style. Eggs can also be hatched to earn treasures, though then you need to find a new egg as Billy is mostly helpless without one. It is a refreshing take on the genre, so kudos to Sonic Team for taking such a path.

Unfortunately, that's about the only redeeming feature of the single player. The camera doesn't really help you out. It has moments where it can't decide what to do, usually leading it to face the wrong way. Not a good trait for a 3D platformer to have.

Also there's Sonic Team's insistance of making the game very linear. Any part of a level that has nothing to do with your current objective is sealed off. Apparently, we don't want the freedom to explore the stages. Actually, we do. Moreso, this sense of being guided from A to B literally incapable of exploring other routes results in an easier game as you cannot possibly not know where to go.

Bosses do provide an interesting aspect, thanks largely to the aforementioned control system, but these are few and fail to save the single player from being bad overall.

In truth, BH's single player is all so familiar as, aside from the control system, most other platformers do the same things. The problem is that those other platformers do it much better.

Billy Hatcher also comes with a multiplayer mode. Players can compete for glory. It might have been fun too, if not for the camera. Bad enough in single player, the all too apparent flaws of it are made worse by the reduced size of the indivudal player screens.

Overall, a disappointing effort. There are far better platformers available so get them instead, and leave this on the shelf to gather dust. A rather unique control system can't save this.

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