Parisian indie The Game Atelier hopes to release The Flying Hamster, its first title, as a digital download game for PSP later this year. The team is looking to attract both casual and core players with its adorable concept: a horizontal-scrolling shoot'em up starring a flying hamster named Newton (and cute enemies like "anti-air cows, exploding foxes, ninja squirrels," and more).

"For most people, shoot-em-ups sound a little hardcore-gamer oriented so we really cared about making this product a bit more accessible to every kind of player," said the studio in an interview with Siliconera. "We wanted to share our love for this genre to a maximum of players."

The Flying Hamster will feature eight different weapons, six environments (e.g. Japanese city, Ancient Egypt), and an equal number of "dreadful and unpredictable bosses." The developer also plans to work on versions for iPhone and PC once the PSP edition of the cute'em-up is released.

As for why The Game Atelier chose a hamster of all creatures as the hero for the game, the studio offered this explanation:

"Our main character designer is so into hamsters that one day she came to us and said very seriously, 'Why aren’t there any shooters with hamsters?'. Then she drew a hamster that could fly with spinning leaves on his back and spitting sunflower seeds at enemies.

She practically invented the gameplay basis and designed Newton in about 5 minutes. Actually, from that moment we never thought that any other character could replace the flying hamster for that game."

As good a reason as any!