Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak is one of my favorite video games. I've replayed it more times than I can remember, and still have my original copy
The game was originally released in the US on the Gameboy Advance in 2002. It was a sequel to the Gameboy Color's Hamtaro: Ham-Ham's Unite!
In the game, you are traveling around the land, trying to protect and restore the love of all hamsters.
After naming your characters, their default names being Hamtaro and Bijou, you are shown a dream in which Hamtaro sees a hamster in a devil costume breaking up several hamsters before charging at Hamtaro himself.
Hamtaro wakes up in a bed at the top of the Clubhouse, and heads downstairs. However, he ends up slipping on the completed Ham-Chat dictionary from the previous game, and soaking it with a misplaced bucket of water. Most of the Ham-Chats were lost, meaning you have to relearn them as well as newly added ones.
From here, Boss teaches you some basic Ham-Chats you use to interact with other hamsters and the environment before sending you off to the first area, Sunny Peak, to find Bijou.
It's here that after meeting up with Bijou and reuniting your first couple that you meet the game's primary antagonist, Spat, who plans to destroy the love of all hamsters. He is the rival of the angel-hamster, Harmony, who you meet back at the Clubhouse later.
From here, you continue to travel, meeting more hamsters, saving more relationships, and learning more Ham-Chats.
There are a lot of different areas to explore, including the Clubhouse, a mountain peak and the surrounding base, a beach and island, a haunted house complete with ghosts, a theme park, a jungle, and a castle tower.
There's a lot you can do in the game, from finishing the main plot, to collecting all the Ham-Chats and completing the dictionary, to playing mini-games and exploring the world.
If you want to take a break from the main plot, there are plenty of little things you can do on the side as well.
One area they expanded on from the previous title is the dress up game. In each area, there's a shopwhere you can buy clothing and accessories you can use to dress up Hamtaro and Bijou. There are different sets you can collect, like an astronaut set and a Santa Claus and reindeer set for example. Once you collect all the items in a set, when you go to dress up and take pictures, you can select a special background based on said set.
Another thing you can do is collect rocks for polishing. Scattered around the world, you can find rocks that you can pick up and save for later. You can hold up to fifty rocks at a time. In one area, you meet a pair of hamsters who teach you the Rub-Rub Ham-Chat for polishing these rocks. After this, the Rub-Rub Room will open up at the Clubhouse, and you can use it anytime.
Inside the rocks, you can find sunflower seeds, acorns, gems, fossils, and human-made artifacts like beads. Sometimes the rocks will just disappear. Each area also contains a hidden cave that has a special, large rock. Each of these larger rocks contain a special gem unique to the area that can only be found once. Different normal gems can be found in different areas, too, so you have to collect rocks from all over if you want to find them all.
After completing the main plot, you can take these gems and other items and use them at a special room that opens up in the Clubhouse. You can pay the hamsters inside to have them convert the gems to accessories, which can also be used in dressing up.
Various mini-games can be found throughout the world, many of which are found in Funland. There's a matching game, a game where you try to catch colored paper that falls from the ceiling, and a game like a mix of bowling and bingo where you attempt to pop numbered balloons by rolling a ball into them.
Funland also has a roller coaster, teacups, and Ferris wheel you can ride, as well as a little Ham Rangers 'show' you can watch once gathering all the missing members of the group.
Another little extra you can work on is gathering all the songs in the game. There are ten songs to collect, and once you have them, you can set Ham-Chats to them to make your own dance.
One thing I like about it is that you aren't just trying to restore the love of couples. You do end up saving a lot of them, but there are others that you help, too. The bond between two brothers, a mother and son, bitter rivals, best friends... You help save a lot of relationships, and it makes the world feel more dynamic and special. You get to meet a lot of characters, both ones that appeared in the anime and ones unique to the game.
I didn't have any real problems with the game. It's got cute, bright graphics and nice sound. It's fun going through and trying to finish everything in the game, and I've replayed it enough times to have pretty much everything memorized. It's relaxing to just go through it at your own pace, trying to save all the hamsters. It's a fun game that can easily be replayed over and over again, and that I find fun no matter how many times I go through it.