A little hamster named Penelope is lost in some tunnels underground. Lucky for her, the Ham-Hams, her hamster friends from the popular “Hamtaro” television show on the Cartoon Network, are there to help. Kids join in on the rescue when they play Hamtaro Wake Up Snoozer! a computer learning adventure for children ages 5-7.
In order to find Penelope, the hamsters have to create a contraption to move Snoozer, a sleeping hamster who is blocking the entrance of the tunnel where Penelope disappeared. Children join the hamsters in playing games to earn items needed to make the contraption.
The games encourage kids to practice skills in number recognition and early math, geometric shape and fraction identification, phonics, early science concepts, and logic. For example, in one game youngsters match tiles with pictures of animals. On more difficult levels, kids need to match baby animals to their parents, or animals to their prey.
Minor gripes with the software include some negative feedback (“What are you doing? That isn’t the right one!”) and the lack of help when a child is struggling. While five of the six activities have three levels of difficulty, the software could have used more activities.
Positive aspects include fun educational activities, and a storyline that encourages children to cooperate with others to reach a creative solution. Fans of the television show will enjoy playing with Hamtaro and his friends, and viewing video clips from the show.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.