Greetings once again from sunny Valencia.
This is the last time I speak to you from here. I’ve spent the last week getting some well-earned R&R which has given me a bit of time to play a few of the games that I have been meaning to play but never get the time to (there is a lot of them).
So this week we have a look at Action Henk which is available for OSX, Windows and Linux via Humble Bundle and Steam but also available for Xbox One (£11.99) and Playstation (£11.99). I’ll be reviewing the Steam version (for OSX) but don’t expect that the game changes massively between versions.
With the fantastic tagline of “Buttslide to Victory” you should already know that this game like it could be fun. You play Henk, who is an action figure with incredibly slippery buttocks, his goal is to traverse as fast as he can cross the obstacle course that lies in front of him that looks like it could be a good home for any Hot Wheels vehicle. When you first begin to play Action Henk, developed by the fantastically named RageSquid there is no denying that the game is super simple, it has just three controls (a fourth is introduced later) which are made up of run, jump and slide but it’s the way that these three simple mechanics are woven together that really make the game what it is. It reminds me a little of Splosion Man, a game that utterly frustrated bit enthralled me on the Xbox.
It’s basically a speed running game and bronze, silver, gold and rainbow medals are awarded at the for each level depending on the amount of time that you took to reach the end. Your main strategy should consist of running on the flat bits, time your jump so that you hit the top of any sliding section then carry that momentum forward to take alternative and sometimes quicker paths to the goal. All this takes place racing against a ghost of the time that you have to beat, watching the ghosts will give you some neat little hints as to where you are slowing down but it all comes down to skill in the end. If you mess up the punishment is nominal as the restart is super fast. You can choose to restart at any time from either the last checkpoint you passed or the whole level; a nice touch to practice some of the tricker jumps. I am not a competitive person, the fact that there are several thousand people above me on the Steam leaderboard does not bother me one bit; however, I will state the obvious by saying there is some satisfaction in claiming another rung of the ladder but I have no active desire to beat people. You can also challenge your friends via the online or local multiplayer though so maybe a game we could set up a competition for at our next MeetUp. For me, it’s all about the flow. The feeling you get from getting that magical combo together that shaves off those few valuable microseconds to get you the next medal or beat your own time. As you play more other characters are opened up to you but as far as I know these are just skins with no real benefit but I could be wrong in this one.
Action Henk has truckloads of character. The graphics are lush and cartoony, it really feels like you’re a toy running around a kids bedroom; Henk and his comrades (the ones I managed to unlock) feel weighty and react as you would expect to jumps and bumps. The game is totally game controller compatible and really benefits from having one. There is subtlety in the controls too, for instance, if you press down in mid air you can reduce the height of your jump which can shave off a few microseconds. I firmly believe that id Action Henk had a slower restart time then I would not enjoy it as much as I do. For you 60 FPS junkies the game even has an FPS counter built into the options screen that you can see update in real time as you turn on/off options. Being the frugal gamer I picked it up in a recent sale on HumbleBundle but would happily pay full price for it. There are nine different stages to play, each with seven levels which include an evil but highly addictive coin collecting stage so the game has certainly enough replay value to keep you hooked for some time. When you have run out of levels you can always grab more from Steam workshop, take on the daily challenge or spend time and effort in making your own with the simple but very well made level editor. I needed something to replace the hole Splosion Man left when I gave away my Xbox and this just might be it. I’m going to need to either invest in a mechanical keyboard or always play using the controller because I think that the frustration may damage my shiny Mac keyboard.
Have you played Action Henk? Do you think it would be a fun game to play during our MeetUp? Has this review made you want to go and buy it? Let us know what you think of it via our usual channels of the comments section, Reddit, Twitter and of course Facebook
Love and paella