Action Henk (PC) Review

By Brandon Howard 03.03.2016 1

Review for Action Henk on PC

The debut title of Netherlands-based developer RageSquid, Action Henk has enjoyed a fair amount of success through Steam's Greenlight programme. With a uniquely retro aesthetic, and a breakneck pace, it definitely hearkens back to a simpler time, in terms of both visuals and gameplay. Among a sea of platformers currently at large in the indie scene, does Action Henk manage to carve its own unique niche?

Action Henk is a washed up toy who's definitely seen better days. In the midst of reliving his past glories, his prized 'Toy of the Year' award is stolen by a dastardly villain. Henk must embark on a perilous adventure to rescue his trophy, across the most dangerous terrain of all - a child's room. While there isn't really any more narrative in this title than most standard platformers, the little bits of characterisation given to the toys really do help flesh out the atmosphere.

Controlling Henk across the levels feels extremely good and it makes playing exhilarating. Unusually, for a platformer on PC, the keyboard controls don't actually detract that much from the experience. With only four standard moves—left, right, jump, and crouch—the directional keys end up working just as well as an attached controller or gamepad. Henk is extremely responsive, so there's rarely any question about what input is going to be required in any given situation.

That said, despite levels moving quickly and being genuinely fun, there isn't a lot of variance between them. While each set of stages does have a unique theme, and the backgrounds and details in them are delightful to look at, they aren't really fundamentally different. There's some added complexity with a grappling hook that gets added later on, but for the most part, levels just slowly climb up in difficultly. They rarely add new mechanics or obstacles beyond incrementally larger versions of anything previously encountered. Later levels are still fun and challenging, but the novelty does degrade as the game goes on.

Screenshot for Action Henk on PC

As a result, a lot of the difficulty (and replay value) comes through straight mastery. Getting that jump off at the exactly right moment or gaining every possible bit of speed from a ramp ends up being integral to scoring well in a stage. There are three medals to achieve in each normal stage, and a global ranking ladder besides. Medals themselves usually aren't too challenging to unlock, but placing higher on the scoreboards is going to require a lot of time replaying individual stages. While the game itself can be completed in under a couple hours, anything more than the bare minimum is going to require a bit more of a time investment.

There is a multiplayer mode, which, while it only involves racing against other players on the stages, is still decent fun. There are options to either join existing, pre-made lobbies, or create one to invite people to. There can be a bit of waiting while other players are finishing, and the results and the loading of the next stage do add a fair amount of time between the action elements. However, despite this, it is fun to challenge friends to see who can complete stages in the least amount of time.

Also, unique to the PC version (for now), is the level editor, which does mostly what its name implies. While not terribly robust on its own, given the limited set pieces built into it, it's still an interesting tool to mess around with, even if the controls aren't quite as intuitive as the main game. It is also possible to download levels from the Steam client, but it tends to be a bit finicky to work with.

Screenshot for Action Henk on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Action Henk is definitely worth looking into for those who miss the long gone days and blistering speeds of, well, certain other platforming giants. While perhaps not quite as polished as it could be, with its definite lack of variety in level design and relatively short length, it's still a solid pick up for fans of those racing-like platformers. There's a lot of character built into the world, with references to other games and long-loved in-jokes. Even if it's not perfect, it's fast, it's fun, and it's a genuinely good time.

Developer

RageSquid

Publisher

RageSquid

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Interesting how there are some features exclusive to the PC version, whether it's just for now or something permanent. I could understand Nintendo fans getting shafted like that because of excuses related to hardware, but PS4 and XB1 users not getting content from the PC game? Odd!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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