Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: Kaznapped!
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2006-02-04 GBA Action/Platform E (Everyone) D3 Publisher / Altron

My interest in Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi came from the similarities with Atomic Betty: side scrolling platformer with environmental puzzles to solve through character switching.

The game is based on the Cartoon Network show, which tells the stories of Ami and Yumi, two J-pop stars belonging to a band named Puffy. If you're wondering what the Hi Hi stands for, it's one of their hits. You can check them out at their official site.

At first glance, I expected it to be another short and easy game, but it didn't take long to prove me wrong. Kaznapped was a lot more challenging than it originally appeared.

After a short tutorial to get acquainted with the controls and the different moves for each character, you go into story mode. And what a wacky story it is! Ami and Yumi are chilling backstage with their manager, when their number one fan Harmony stops by demanding for them to take them on a tour. And they have to do it now. Since the girls' tour just ended, Harmony throws a fit and goes on her own tour, kidnapping the girl's manager Kaz (hence Kaznapped).

Gameplay is split between a side-scrolling platformer and a side-scrolling shooter. In the platform levels, you have to progress by solving environmental puzzles such as breaking certain blocks, pushing other blocks and activating switches. You switch between Ami and Yumi according to what you need to do. Ami can triple jump to reach higher grounds, she can use her microphone to swing on hooks and she attacks with her mic as well. Yumi uses her guitar to activate switches and break certain blocks, and she is strong enough to push or pull other blocks out of the way. She attacks with her guitar and has a cool air gliding attack.

The girls can also perform a special move together. When your Jam Session meter is full, hit both trigger buttons to see a little "show" that gets rid of all enemies on the screen.

Aside from the block-moving puzzle-solving, you have to dodge crazy fans and annoying paparazzi (among other creatures). Fans will grab you if you come too close (the animation is hilarious by the way), paparazzi will hurt you with their camera's flash. You can sing or play a chord to daze them for a moment so you can get by.

A couple of adorable little helpers can be found along the way. The girls' cats, Jeng Kang and Tekirai, sometimes appear in a level to help replenish the health bar or give an extra life. While standing near them, press down on the D-pad to pet them (it's a very cute animation).

The ultimate goal of the platform levels is to reach the speaker, which represents the way out, but there are other goals: collect all the music notes, wardrobe and instruments in any given level.

In the shooter levels (the World Bus Tour) you fly in the tour bus shooting whatever is in your way and eventually come to a boss fight. Defeating waves of robots can sometimes get you extra health or an extra special attack. Basically keep your finger on the B button to shoot constantly and dodge as necessary.

The bottom line: Hi Hi is a good game with a wacky story, cool characters, clever puzzle-solving, hilarious animations, solid gameplay and great music. Plus, there is quite a bit of replay value, since there are tons of unlockable features to find.

If you cringe at the cutesy cartoonish look of a title, put that aside and you will find that Hi Hi has quite a decent amount of depth for a kids-oriented GBA title.

Special thanks to Kirk Green and D3 for providing a copy of this title.