Part 1: No longer looks like a word.
For anyone who wants to watch the start-up cinematic, heres a video. Im sure that anyone who watched the English version of the anime will recognise the music even if it is coming out of a GBA.
Rainbow Rescue only supports one save slot, so lets get this show on the road!
We immediately fade in on one hamsters arrival at a cliffside viewpoint, joining her in looking out over the little Japanese town where the Ham-Hams happen to reside. (The show is set in the real world, but focusing on such small protagonists provides a rather different sense of scale. )
Of course, the game wouldnt be called Rainbow Rescue without at least one rainbow in it! And as it forms, a rather oddly-dressed individual appears to be following it
But that individual is much too far away to be seen by anyone other than the player, so lets just go take a little wander around and tell some of our friends about the pretty rainbow.
Also worth noting is that AlphaDream offers multiple headshots for each of the main Ham-Hams, which is a nice improvement from the previous game. It does mean Ill be having to give the PNGout plugin a workout though
The game gives us control at this point, and the layout is basically what youd expect. A is interact, B makes you run, Start opens the menu.
Like so. Yes, that does say stickers. No, we wont be fighting any dragon turtles with them.
Rainbow Rescue doesnt share the Ham-Chat system of Ham-Ham Heartbreak, so you no longer need to HifHif (sniff) sunflower seeds before you can collect them. Just hitting A will suffice. They do still serve as the games currency though, so Ill be picking up every one I see.
A magazine for moms asked me to come to Sunny Peak.
Exiting stage left takes us to our first NPCs, including this familiar face. There are a bunch of side characters in this game who have appeared before just not in the English version of the anime. Sunny Peak was a location in the last game, but theres little similarity between the two versions of it.
A carrot grew here out of nowhere! Its in the way, so Im pulling on it. But it wont budge. Really, whats going on here?
Just the game designers making sure we dont stray from the intro area.
Its absolutely perfect for fishing. Ho ho ho!♪
Ill take your word for it, old ham. Anyway, continuing westward (the only direction we can go) makes the screen pan over to
Some more hamsters from the box art!
Right, those guys! Hamtaro is our protagonist and unofficial leader of the Clubhouse Ham-Hams, and Oxnard is his first-made friend, neighbour and professional devourer of everything (especially sunflower seeds).
Oh, right. I should have probably also introduced the female lead, whos formerly hailing from France and crushing on Hamtaro pretty bad. Her name implies something small and delicate, usually in the context of jewellery.
You have to come see this rainbow!
Its over there! Lets go see it! Its right over there!
Okay, lets all go see it together then!
Man, talk about some serious rainbow hype. Guess what word the update title applies to.
And just like that, we have new party members! Yes, this game isnt just a Hamtaro/Bijou partnership; you can have up to eight of the Ham-Hams roaming around together. They each have their own abilities, but well get to that later on.
Ooh! It is really pretty!
Meanwhile, in the skies above
Our mystery hamster makes a valiant effort to stay aloft, but Mayday, mayday! Hes going down!
Well, thats quite unusual even without noticing the hamster with polka-dot wings. Rainbows shouldnt fade away that quickly
I wanted to stare at it all day long If we wait here, will we ever see one again? Huh
Ah, I believe that was our winged friend coming down to earth. I wonder where hell land
Lets go back and look for him.
And now, a brief fade-away to somewhere nearby.
Huh? Where are Hamtaro and Oxnard?
Ah, heres Boss at last. His house serves as the Ham-Hams Clubhouse, since hes a field hamster unlike most of the others. Hes crushing on Bijou, but she only has eyes for Hamtaro.
...Do you hear something whistling?
Heheh, right on target.
It sounded like something fell over there somewhere.
Lets go look, Oxnard!
Bijou, please stay here and wait.
Hopefully Boss wont be too badly concussed from being hit by that meteoric hamster.
Ignoring the obvious prompt to interact with the displaced plank, lets go check on our buddy.
Huh? Hey! Whos that other Ham-Ham over there?
We passed a log on the way here, Hamtaro. Lets bring it over here.
Sounds like a solid idea, Oxnard. Just replace the log (thats clearly flat), and we should be good to go.
...Ah. Seems these two dont quite have the muscle power for it.
Lets get more help so we can lift it!
Well, we cant count on NPCs to lend us a hand. So
We were going to help him, but we cant get to him. Theres a log, but we need your help. We need you to help us move it!
OK! I understand. Lets go!
Im not entirely sure how strong Bijou happens to be, but heres hoping its enough to make a difference with that log.
Do you know how to carry things? Want me to tell you?
But when we go to find out, guess what? Tutorial time! Thankfully, its optional. The controls are just A to pick up, move to spot, A to put down.
Oh, and the old ham also says that the number of hamsters in your party is whats important for lifting stuff. Bijou is just as strong as Hamtaro, and even certain supposedly strong hamsters wont count for more than one hamsters worth.
The option to put something down anywhere is rarely useful on account of Hamtaro prompting us whenever were in the right spot. With that tiny tutorial out of the way, its time that we help Boss and our mystery guest.
Right after the Barbariccia impression and victory dance, of course.
Gee, perhaps its a pair of massive head injuries. Just at a guess.
Boss! Come on, you need to wake up!
This Ham-Ham wont wake up either. What should we do now?
Oh, hey there Cappy. One of the younger Ham-Hams, this guys main quirk should be fairly obvious. He also looks up to Boss, so this must be a bit of a shock for him.
Cappy! Boss and the other Ham-Ham wont wake up!
I hope theyll be ok! Im really worried.
I think we should take them back to the Clubhouse!
Good idea. Lets take them back to the Clubhouse!
Sure, lets drag Boss all the way home on his face. Its not like itll make him any uglier.
Once we arrive at the Clubhouse, it seems almost everyone wants a look at our mystery guest. So expect a fair few short introductions before the update is over.
Maxwell here is the brainbox, often found reading or spouting facts to try and educate his friends. Though he asks a good question The last flying hamsters around here were both pests in their own ways.
Oh, hes waking up. Im sure he wont be bothered by everyone staring at him.
...Or the second concussion.
Id call him a crybaby, but thats honestly a pretty fair reaction to waking up in a strange place, surrounded by a bunch of folks you dont recognise.
...Perhaps you should clarify what you mean by friendly, Hamtaro.
Boy, that expression sure is something.
Insert merciful fadecut here. This series is generally pretty good with those.
Oh! And I made such a scene without even knowing
Oh, the antenna light up. Guess your parents went all out on that costume, huh kid?
So, whats your name?
Well, thats certainly one way to make an introduction. Also note Snoozer napping in the corner; no prizes for guessing what his deal is.
Rainbow Land?! Just what is Rainbow Land?!
Id love to show you Rainbow Land, my beautiful home.
Its late! I need to go now, or everyone back home will be worried!
Sorry to crash and run, but Id better get going! Adios, hamigos!
And with that, everyone files out onto the Ham-Ham Lawn. The game wont tell you thats what this screen is called until the postgame.
Everyone is hanging around here to see Bo off, so lets talk to them before getting on with the next cutscene.
Dexter is a gentlemanly hamster (whose glasses are just his fur markings) that seeks the affection of one of the female Clubhouses hams, but also has to contend with his eternal rival
Ha Ha Ha HA HA HA! Im mighty funny!
...The eternal punster himself, Howdy. He speaks with a southern accent in the English version of the anime (obviously), and he likes to keep things nice and clean.
Also pictured: My reaction to Howdys lame joke.
Moving on, we have the twins Sandy and Stan. Theyre both very athletic and active, with Sandy favouring rhythmic gymnastics while Stan enjoys other pursuits like skateboarding, playing the maracas and flirting with every girl he sees.
Weve already met Maxwell, whos naturally most interested in the academic prospects of this situation. Also worth noting is that Sandy has a crush on him, so this trio tends to be found together.
And here we have Pashmina and Penelope. The former is the target of Dexter and Howdys affections, but shes more interested in being the big sister figure to her little blanket-wearing friend. Dont expect Penelope to say anything other than Ookwee; shes too young to talk properly.
Perhaps with those wings on his back, hell just fly home!
Panda here (again, named such for obvious reasons) is the industrious one of the Clubhouse group. To date, hes built everything from bridges to fun parks! So if you need something built or repaired, Pandas the one to ask.
Well, if games and cartoons have taught me anything, its that rainbows and lands in the sky are almost always associated with candy. So dont fill up on seeds beforehand, okay buddy?
Anyway, thats all of the Clubhouse Ham-Hams who are around. Cappy is probably tending to Boss massive head injury, so Lets see Bo off!
Well, good! Prepare yourselves for something truly amazing!
Listen up! I can make rainbows with my umbrella!
Wh-what? A rainbow with your umbrella?! Thats incredible!
Hey, they avoided using just the bog-standard Metal Gear? bit! Good on you, AlphaDream.
Im now imagining Bo singing Walking on Rainbows, sung to the tune of Walking on Sunshine.
With my umbrella, Ill make a rainbow that goes to Rainbow Land!
Surely this can only go well. We rescued Bo after his fall, so the game must be over now, right?
Yeah, as if. Bos observational skills are perhaps a little lacking.
Well, Im pretty sure your umbrella exploded right in your face.
It did seem rather drab for a magical rainbow-making umbrella. I mean, I like sky blue as much as the next person, but
Its the truth!
Ah, there we go. Now that feels like a game-spanning quest!
Whaaa! I want to go home! Mommy! Daddy!
Yeah, he may seem hopeless and probably useless, but hes still better than Harmony.
Well find what you need to get back home!
What a really great idea, Hamtaro! Really!
Plus, a rainbow is just so pretty. Dont you think, Penelope?
And with everyone in agreement, the search for the seven coloured ingredients can begin! I hope youll join me next time as we return to Sunny Peak for some proper exploration.