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Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Hammer Heads is the latest release from PopCap Games, which is basically Whac-A-Mole with better graphics. First updated by Eyezmaze, this version sees the furry little creatures replaced by gnomes of all things.

Health, hammer upgrades, traps, coins and shops have all been replicated in this release. Trophies and bonus rounds are some of the new additions not originally from ON's Flash game. Fun to play at first but quickly becomes a rapid button-clicking exercise which can be very painful to the wrists after a while.

Name: Hammer Heads
Developer: PopCap Games
Category: Action
Type: Demo
Size: 10MB
Anonymous Anonymous said at 6/02/2006 08:55:00 PM:  
I haven't played the game yet, and hate to be rash, but isn't this a complete rip-off of Tontie?

Blogger Tim said at 6/02/2006 09:23:00 PM:  
yes, mentioned in the review as well. :)
Anonymous Anonymous said at 6/03/2006 08:12:00 AM:  
... that's what I get for being rash.

Now that I've had a chance to play it, I can honestly advise that there is no reason to buy this game for $20 when Tontie is kicking around for free.

Should this be a matter of ON being flattered, or is there reason to raise a stink over a fairly prominent figure in the scene being ripped off?
Blogger Tim said at 6/03/2006 09:11:00 AM:  
my fault really, i should have mentioned Tontie. :)
Anonymous Anonymous said at 6/24/2006 08:07:00 AM:  
Guys, you are so completely mistaken, I honestly don't know where to begin. There is a good deal more to Hammer Heads, and I find it sad that you haven't picked up on that. For starters, it has a completely different control method, and feel, than Tontie. Its keypad control is Tontie's greatest feature, which I have completely replaced by mouse control in Hammer Heads (and that took a lot more experimentation and tweaking than you would probably expect). As a result, Tontie's best game play element, the number-diverting creature, is not used at all in Hammer Heads. Tontie is also a less casual and more nerve-wracking game (not always in a good way - the difficulty ramp is badly off-balance) than Hammer Heads is.

However great it is, Tontie would not stand a chance of getting distributed in the places that Hammer Heads is. It just does not have the same level of polish and attention to detail. It is a fine Flash game (now about three years old, I guess) in a category of its own, but I think Hammer Heads is clearly better for the public that it was written (not you, possibly) in many ways.

Both are whack-a-mole games, but I have put thousands of hours into developing Hammer Heads, and to see its innovations (not just in game-play and concept, but also in graphics and sound) dismissed so readily is sad. I accept Tontie was there three years before Hammer Heads, but I don't see 'The Sopranos' getting poohed away because 'The Godfather' already provided us with all the mafia entertainment we need. The Eyemaze guy does not own the patent on whack-a-mole.

In the end though, I wonder if you realize what goes into creating a successful game. It is not the grand concept that makes a great game, it is the hundreds of small decisions that the developers make, day in day out. And the fact is that I developed Hammer Heads as a light gun game for the casual crowd, cleverly disguised to look like a non-threatening game of whack-a-mole. Yes, it is a cute version of 'House of the Dead' - just don't tell anyone.

I apologize for turning this into a long rant, but I think it is an important stand to make. If you expect every indie game to be a new Katamari Damacy, you will get sorely disappointed. Looking at your other reviews, I guess you are just great fans of Eyemaze and want the world to recognize his greatness, which I can't blame you for.

Luc Van den Borre (luc@nuclide.com)