Hurry Up Hedgehog! is based on Igel Ärgern, a popular German board game, first published in 1990 by Doris Matthäus & Frank Nestel. Amusingly enough, the title roughly translates as "Hedgehog Annoying", but the game is usually called "Hedgehogs in a Hurry" in English. In the game, each player races a team of four hedgehog counters across the board, avoiding mud pits and occasionally piling atop one another.
Now firmly filed in the “games we don’t see the point of” section at Gamecell towers, Hurry Up Hedgehog! (to be known as its incredibly apt acronym “HUH!” from now on) is a classic example of why not all board games make good video games, and vice versa.
Hurry Up Hedgehog! the DS game is being advertised as ‘an intriguing brain-teaser that’ll challenge the whole family to shrewdly manoeuvre their way to victory. Jostling against the canniest critters in the garden, players must dodge hazards, out-smart their friends and use cunning to race their hedgehog’s home’. Well yes, you could say that. If you can accept that having your hedgehog (counter) moved sideways is being ‘jostled by the canniest critters’, and if you can assimilate the rules of the game then I guess you could say you’ve used your cunning… but racing? Awww come on! It’s a board game in which you move one space at a time for goodness’ sake!
Okay, so HUH! Features:
- Board layout: Consists of 6 numbered lanes each 9 columns long.
- Single DS Multiplayer and Multi-Card Multiplayer for up 6 players.
- 6 different backgrounds and 5 rule customisation options, allowing for 32 “unique” ways to play.
There are variations in the rules, but basically you choose which lane is going to be your ‘active’ lane, and can then move any of your counters one space left or right, and then a counter in the active lane one space forward. This of course means that you don’t just advance your own “Hedgehogs”, but can mess up your opponent’s by dropping them into the various holes on the board. Yes, I’ll admit there are some tactical possibilities involved, but so does Ludo or Snakes & Ladders – yes HUH! is just as exciting as it sounds… And Sonic has nothing to worry about on the game mascot front either, the only hedgehogs in view are the cute animated ones on the top screen, who dance if you make a good move and look sad if you mess up. If you expect this game to contain cute hedgehogs I fear you’re going to be rather disappointed.
Other rule variations include random lane choice, whether you want counters to shunt or stack when they enter the same square, tubes (so if your counter is moved or shunted off the top of the screen it comes back on the bottom lane and vice versa). The rule changes certainly change the way the game is played and add/remove tactical possibilities, but sadly none of them make it any more interesting, or fun to play. This feels like a board game that might be “fun” to play if you’re stuck in a snowed-in log cabin with 5 other people, and might even work as a pass-around DS game if you could find enough bored people to play it with you. It might even appeal to Mums & Dads who look for peaceful, violence-free games for their kids to play, but any hopes of HUH! gaining general appeal seem forlorn to me.
And I don’t want to sound like a fuddy-duddy, but I’d also question the aptness of the game’s packaging, the cover of which has a 3+ sticker on it and is plastered with pictures of the cute hedgehogs, both of which are kind of misleading. Should a busy parent get pressured into buying this for an average five year-old without reading the packaging carefully, there’s going to be tears – they’d rightly be expecting some kind of cutesy platform adventure, but sadly with HUH! they won’t have a clue what’s going on, and will want to know “when do I get to play as the cute hedgehog?”
We all know the saying that board games are called board games because that’s the way you feel (bored) after you’ve played one, and here’s proof positive.