By Christopher Healy,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Fun, original, spoof of The Bard's tale with clever puzzles.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The literal message of the game's storyline is to take responsibility for your mistakes and try to fix them. A subtler message is that it's okay to have fun with the classics and that reinterpretations of literature can be a delight.
Positive Role Models
The hero risks his own life to save Ophelia and to right the mistakes he made when he accidentally landed in Hamlet's time period.
Ease of Play
There's no real learning curve. Some of the first puzzles to challenge you are some of the trickiest in the game. All can eventually be figured out, though. And hints are available after a time. Two of the boss battles require not just brain-work, but fast and accurate mouse-clicking.
Violence & Scariness
A time machine lands on Hamlet. A girl in a cage is thrown into water. Characters are hit on the head, electrocuted, and eaten by a giant octopus. The hero is hit (non-fatally) by several canonballs. A boxing-glove to the face "kills" the hero, who comes back to life after outsmarting Death. All of this is portrayed in a very unrealistic way with very cartoony characters.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Ophelia has exaggeratedly rounded breasts and her dress shows cleavage.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this video game version of Hamlet has little to do with the source material outside of the characters' names. The "re-envisioned" story is one that most kids will find to be a lot of fun, though, and may inspire them to familiarize themselves with Shakespeare's original. Explain to children that this Hamlet is a spoofy play on the original, and perhaps you can even read the real Hamlet with them as prep work. Spoofs are always more fun when you understand what is being parodied.
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What’s It About?
A nameless time traveler drops into HAMLET -- and his time machine literally drops onto Shakespeare's Hamlet. With the prince out of the picture, the evil King Claudius changes the whole story, kidnapping Ophelia with plans to force her to marry him. The time traveler must step into hero shoes and take on Claudius and his henchmen to rescue Ophelia and bring her back to the stricken Hamlet. The game is played out through a series of brain-bending point-and-click puzzles, with boss battles against characters like Polonius, Laertes, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Is It Any Good?
Hamlet is a very likable adventure with playful artwork, creatively designed puzzles, and a bizarre-yet-effective sense of humor. There are multiple laugh-out-loud moments. Some of the puzzles are very challenging and may require too much trial-=and-error exploration for casual gamers. Hints do become available if you're stuck for a certain length of time, but be aware that the clues are just that -- clues -- they never completely give away the solutions. Puzzle afficionados who can appreciate witty literary references (and jokes about the Periodic Table -- Polonius's castle bears a sign with "Po," the symbol for the element Polonium) will likely be sad to see the game come to an end, which happens sooner that we would have hoped.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why it's important to read the great classics of literature. So much of contemporary pop culture -- this game included -- plays upon stories, themes, and references from the classics. Is this game more fun if you already know the real story of Hamlet? What are some other games, books, or movies that have been inspired by literary classics?
- Platform: Windows
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Alawar Entertainment
- Release date: April 9, 2010
- Genre: Puzzle
- ESRB rating: NR
- Last updated: August 31, 2016
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