Action Henk (PlayStation 4) Review

By Gareth F 03.03.2016

Review for Action Henk on PlayStation 4

It's hard not to feel a little sorry for Henk (not Hank ... Henk), although the last thing he wants is sympathy - just another seemingly forgotten action doll from the '90s, an ageing relic long past his prime. He was once revered as being the fastest figurine in the box, and the proud recipient of the 'Toy of the Year' trophy, no less. Sure, it looks like he might have piled on a few pounds of late but it could just be the way he was moulded. Henk will always have his cherished memories, although unfortunately the same can't be said about his beloved trophy, snatched right from under his nose by rival figurine, Dr Kentony. While most would treat a stolen trinket as a major inconvenience, Henk sees it as the opportunity to prove he's still the fastest toy on the block and sets off to prove there's still life in the old dog yet. After an early look at the game, RageSquid's Action Henk finally leaps, dashes and butt-slides its way onto the PS4…

Action Henk follows a fairly simple premise - get the titular hero from point A to point B in a series of increasingly complex, toy-heavy courses in the quickest possible time. While portly Henk doesn't appear to possess the finely honed physique normally attributed to speed of any kind, his excess poundage actually becomes an asset when sliding downhill at great speed by the seat of his (no doubt reinforced) pants. Upon realisation that every hundredth of a second counts, it soon becomes apparent that momentum is the key to success here, especially when something as innocuous as a well-timed transition from slide to sprint can result in a slight boost while jogging uphill. Likewise, the numerous obstacles strewn about the track can be hurdled fairly easily, but efficient use of the jump mechanic, to ensure maximum sprint traction upon landing, can mean the difference between winning a bronze medal or a gold medal.

Screenshot for Action Henk on PlayStation 4

Just to further complicate matters, a grappling hook is tossed into the fray later on in proceedings that has to be grabbed en route before using it to traverse dangerous gaps in the course quickly and efficiently. It becomes a case of working the angles, as releasing a grapple too soon will result in falling to a certain death or hitting a wall at high speed, and releasing too late leads to precious seconds being lost on what feels like an agonisingly slow descent back down to the track. With a variety of areas to sprint through, ranging from a disco inferno to the seaside, there is at least a modicum of mild peril at play as getting too close to the floor will turn it into molten hot lava. Plastic toys and extreme heat... let's just say they just don't mix well.

Fans of the popular Trials series should find an affinity with Action Henk as they are both cut from the same cloth and follow a similar format. The heavy emphasis on repeated play, with a view to shaving milliseconds off past performances, is present and correct in both titles, and it becomes maddeningly addictive… to an extent. While RageSquid has provided ghosts for Bronze, Silver, Gold and Rainbow medals (the new Platinum apparently) to compete against as a virtual yardstick, there doesn't seem to be an option to select the ghost of a friend or high score rival. Logistically, this is understandable, and maybe the facility to do this in Trials has unfortunately raised expectations somewhat for this type of game, but it's still slightly disappointing that the only variable ghost on offer is that of the previous personal best for the selected course.

Screenshot for Action Henk on PlayStation 4

Each track is split up into checkpoints that will feedback comparison times from previous runs, making it handy for gauging performance on the fly. While the ability to continue from the most recent checkpoint is available whenever an error is made, true score chasers will want to complete the course in one take, so it's particularly satisfying that restarting from the beginning is an instantaneous button press away. Much like Trials, it's all about memorising the layout, although while Red Lynx's series got into the habit of trolling the player with its ridiculous spikes in difficulty, Action Henk never feels like a level is impossible. Each game chapter includes a bonus level that pits the chunky hero in a head-to-head race against an unerringly accurate rival (including the dastardly Dr. Kentony himself), with victory unlocking either that character or a change of costume for use in-game.

Multiplayer fans have the option of local competition for up to four runners, and rather than using split-screen as is the norm in these circumstances, it operates by eliminating any players that fall behind and drop off the screen, with the winner obviously being the runner first past the finish line. During setup, there is the option to specify the number of rounds played on each track, or even whether eliminated runners are allowed to re-spawn back into play at each of the checkpoints. Score is kept as a running league table, with three points awarded to the winner, which does a good job of fostering some friendly competition, making it perfect for a social gathering. It's no doubt a fun time for those with four DualShock controllers to hand, as well as three friends to regularly compete against, but given that only a small minority of the PlayStation nation would meet this criteria, it seems a bit of a shame that this was included in place of online multiplayer rather than being an additional option to complement it.

Screenshot for Action Henk on PlayStation 4

The PC version includes an online mode that allows for a high number of participants to compete simultaneously for a specified period of time, with the fastest runner announced as the winner at the end. This should sound familiar to anybody that's played the Trackmania series, which besides turning the game into quite the sociable experience, really adds to the replay value. RageSquid is to be commended for supporting local multiplayer, although it's hard not to feel slightly short-changed knowing that the PC version also includes a level editor, which, again, would appeal to the more creative types out there and could possibly even nurture a Henk-centric community.

Screenshot for Action Henk on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Action Henk is a fun little blast that proves to be the very epitome of 'just one more go' and possesses qualities that should appeal to fans of the Xbox classic Doritos Crash Course, Sonic the Hedgehog, and not forgetting, of course, the Trials series. The constant need to improve ensures regular returns in the short term, although the lack of the online multiplayer and level editor included in the PC version will no doubt impact on its longevity.

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   

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