Zhu Zhu Pets is a popular toy line of little battery operated hamsters that roll, chatter, and scurry around little connected playsets. They’re generally marketed towards girls, so to get boys interested, they’ve now made Kung Zhu. It’s basically the same toy, except now the hamsters come in wild new colors like army green, have equipable armor, and the playsets are now ‘battle arenas.’ Now both boys and girls (who says girls don’t like to kick butt, too?) can enjoy their favorite hamster fighters with Kung Zhu for Nintendo DS.
Kung Zhu on DS is a simple 2-D side-scrolling platform jumping brawler. Choose from half a dozen hamster warriors, each with their own skills and abilities. Also pick from six kinds of armor to outfit your hamster with. Tap on the touch screen to use the armor in a level, which will provide you with different weapons and attacks as well as extra hits you can take. You’ll unlock the rest of the fighters and armor as you play through the game’s 15 or so levels.
You’ll jump, run, double jump, shoot, and slash your way through 2-D platform jumping levels. Collect items to boost your score and hidden health and armor upgrades. You can even battle a nearby friend in multiplayer mode if they have a DS and a copy of the game, too. There’s even a limited edition of the DS game which comes with a real life Kung Zhu toy! Only problem with the limited edition is that there is no game case, so it’s a little hard to keep up with your game card that way. Nothing here that hasn’t been done before, but young fans will probably still enjoy it anyway.
Kung Zhu is rated E-10 for Everyone 10 and up with an ESRB descriptor of Cartoon Violence. While you do smack around cartoon hamsters with silly swords and goofy guns, defeated enemies just disappear and make funny hamster noises. Honestly, I would let kids of any age play this. Kids will love the cartoony graphics, silly hamster sound effects, and easy to understand gameplay. Reading skill is helpful for the story sections, but not totally necessary as gameplay instructions come with picture cues, too. More experienced players will be able to plow through this game pretty quickly, but younger gamers will appreciate the lighter difficulty level.