Billy Hatcher & the Giant Egg is a lot like experiencing sugar free candy for the first time. It looks good; it has the same texture and feel of regular candy, and yet manages to be enormously disappointing when eaten. Billy Hatcher certainly looks like a great platformer; it seems to have all the right elements to make a fun game, and yet comes up short in every way possible.
Sega’s newest action title introduces us to a young Billy Hatcher, who is chosen, for what seems like no reason at all, to save the chickens and their eggs from a pack of evil crows. Donning a chicken outfit, similar to one you might see outside of a fast food restaurant, Billy rolls eggs around various worlds solving puzzles, taking out baddies, and the usual platformer stuff.
As the title implies, Billy Hatcher’s main source of power are the eggs he pushes, throws, and jumps around with. As you collect the various fruit scattered around the level, your egg will begin to grow, eventually getting big enough for you to hatch.
The game has a total of 72 different eggs, each with a distinctive design and their own unique contents. Some eggs give you extra guys, others will give you the ability to heal your depleted life, but most eggs contain various types of animals that can be used to solve puzzles and attack enemies.
Like much of Billy Hatcher, the puzzles themselves are rarely difficult, and border on the simplistic far too often. There are countless levels where you have to use your fire creature to do away with an ice door, or use ice to extinguish the fires blocking key areas of the level. If they try a puzzle once, you can rest assured it will be repeated several more times before the game is over.
As I mentioned above, you can use your animal pal to attack your enemies, usually taking them out in one shot. The various animal attacks are nicely animated, and some are even pretty interesting to look at, but you don’t really interact with it. By pushing the button you’ve unleashed your animal, so all you’re left to do is dodge enemy fire or look for eggs.
There are several rare eggs that require a little more work to collect, two of my favorites play homage to a couple of other Sonic Team creations, namely Sonic the Hedgehog and NiGHTS. Like all the other animals, you don’t get to control these characters, but it’s nice to see a familiar face from time to time, and it leaves the door open if they ever need Billy for a cameo in a future Sonic game.
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