I’m particularly fond of weird little games and Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg looked for sure like it would fall into that category – I mean you dress up in a chicken costume and push eggs around. Weird. So I was pleased when I got my hands onto the newest offering to the pool of oddness, but sadly found out that Billy Hatcher is no more than the kind of odd you find in children’s books.
Don’t get me wrong, the game is fun – well it would have been more fun if I was ten, but I digress. Billy Hatcher has three gaming modes to it, including a nifty little battle mode where you and up to three other friends (in chicken costumes) can play mini games like pop the other guy’s egg. But the main game is the story mode. The Crows have cast eternal night upon Morning Land, the world where the chickens who call the sun to rise live. They have turned the Elders into golden eggs and you as Billy Hatcher must return them to their rooster state or the earth will also fall into eternal night. There are several different areas to explore and different goals to accomplish, but you only have to complete two goals to continue on to the next area – save the chicken elder and defeat the boss. There are more goals to complete if you want all of the courage emblems which are the reward for the goal accomplished.
So here’s your gameplay: you get to run around with your egg, roll over enemies – with your egg, bounce about – with your egg, bounce high – with your egg, hit switches – with your egg…. I think you get the point – you are nothing without your egg – and while you can run around by yourself, but it really ain’t worth it. But let’s not forget that they are eggs and eggs are to be hatched – well actually I like mine scrambled, but go fig. In this world, feeding your eggs by rolling over fruit (no reality whatsoever – ain’t video games grand) you can grow them large enough to hatch. Inside are all kinds of fun. Some eggs have extra lives, some have nifty powers ups that allow you to do things like grow spikes on your eggs, some hatch companion animals that can lend you their powers such as a yellow winged monkey that attacks with lightning. And you know what that’s about it. Gameplay interest wise? Well, as I said it would have been more fun if I was 10.
I know you all want to hear the nitty-gritty about the graphics and sound so here it is. Billy Hatcher is a good looking game, but the inexplicable slowdowns that occur when multiple enemies appear is inexcusable on the Gamecube. And well the music is super happy – way beyond hyper – which works for the game, but the voice acting, if you can call it that, is a major drawback. It’s like the same noises over and over and I swear the pushing on a wall noise or stopping the egg noise Billy makes…well it flat out sounds like he’s on the toilet.
So it’s mixed for me – I really like platformers and this one has some nice quirks to it (even if it does win the award for worst commercial ever), but Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg just didn’t grab me so much. I put it in my renter pile – could be fun for a few days, but don’t spend the money to buy it.