Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 26.04.2009

Review for Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure on Nintendo DS

Most developers tend to avoid any major complications when creating new products by sticking to tried-and-tested formulas and genres that they are most familiar with, aiming to reach the mainstream audience and keep them happy. There are times, though, when a team will suddenly get the urge to try something just a little bit different, splicing more than one style together. When it comes to some of EA's past James Bond efforts such mixing and matching has not quite worked as well as hoped, yet there are cases where it works out quite nicely, as Nintendo and Retro Studios has shown with the Metroid series, transforming it from a standard 2D adventure to include first person elements. Now EA's Tiburon group has decided to do its own experiment, melding the world of puzzling with that of a typical platform romp. Has the team managed to make these two starkly dissimilar genres work together in harmony, or does Henry Hatsworth's debut end up being a complete calamity?

Despite being developed over in Orlando, Florida, the character of Henry Hatsworth is actually a traditional British gentleman, all suited up with a bowler hat and even sporting a monocle. The bumbling old adventurer must work his way across more than thirty levels, spread over five inventive worlds, packed full of devastating and devious creatures out to harm the jolly chap. Right from the start it shows that Hatsworth is definitely a labour of love, between its intricately detailed locations and impressively animated characters that are bustling with personality, ultimately making it one of the most attractive 2D outings on DS so far. On top of this, the soundtrack is simply fantastic, with orchestrated sections, upbeat, regally British tunes, and generally uplifting ditties that are all mixed together nicely with some hilarious sound effects (such as the character voices that are mumbled utterances suiting the style of the person perfectly, creating some truly laugh-out-loud funny moments) and even some background singing / chanting at times!

But style over substance is never good enough, which is why thankfully Hatsworth is a true gem of a game, expertly tying together the two radically different genres of platforming and puzzling. Whilst many developers merely use the dual-screens of the DS to show a map or inventory list on a separate screen, Hatsworth's main platform adventure occurs on the top-screen, whilst a Puzzle League-esque scene simultaneously appears on the lower-screen. With every enemy despatched on the upper screen, a new monster block is thrown into the mix on the lower one, adding it to the mix of standard coloured blocks slowly rising upwards. If players do not pause the platform shenanigans to switch to the Puzzle Mode so they can clear as many of the coloured blocks as possible (similar to Nintendo's Puzzle League and Tetris Attack in that blocks can only be slid left or right to match three or more of the same colour) then everything will start to get very hairy. As soon as the monster blocks rise up to the top screen, they become enemies themselves, thus giving Henry even more grief in what could already be a tricky situation.

Screenshot for Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure on Nintendo DS

There is only a limited amount of time that can be spent in Puzzle Mode, though, or else clearing everything would ultimately be too simple. However, creating chains (via multiple block clearances thanks to lining up other appropriate colours so that blocks that were sat atop a batch just cleared away will then end up dropping conveniently next to similar colours, thus disappearing themselves as well) can help boost the timer, meaning vital seconds longer can be spent in that mode. Clearing blocks also helps fill up Henry's special move meter (used for normal projectiles, powerful super weapons and turning into a large mechanical beast that stomps around, invulnerable to attacks and able to use its mighty punch to squash most enemies in one go), plus offers up items to help during the platform section - such as ones to replenish health or freeze enemies in their path.

Screenshot for Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure on Nintendo DS

Useful items are not only found within the Puzzle Mode, though, since throughout the adventure gamers are able to collect coins that allow them to then head off and purchase upgrades for Henry, with additional items helping him to increase the damage dealt by using projectiles, increase the amount of time that can be spent in the Puzzle Mode, as well as simply upping the total number of health hearts to a maximum of five. These may well seem like extras that most gamers will nary need to rely on, yet Hatsworth becomes extremely difficult the further you progress and the extras will indeed become invaluable. The rise in difficulty is in part due to sections where Henry is trapped and must defeat hordes of enemies coming from all directions before play can continue, rather like in arcade games such as Metal Slug. Some may feel this is a cheap way of upping the longevity, yet the game also proves extremely taxing due to the complexity of the gameplay in general later in the adventure. Not only do players have to deal with Henry's array of moves (sliding, dishing out upper-cuts, firing off projectiles, dash-slashing, and so on), more often than not choosing a few of those in rapid succession to defeat specific types of foe, but all the while one eye needs to be kept firmly on the lower screen's movements. Keeping the balance is indeed imperative...

Screenshot for Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure on Nintendo DS

As Henry goes further into the game he picks up new moves as well, thanks to special items of apparel, such as Gentleman's Pantaloons that allow him to slide down vertical walls or jump from wall-to-wall in the same way Samus Aran does in the Metroid series, or the Gentleman's Pipe that grants the aristocrat the ability to breathe under water, and, of course, the Mystical Hat that initially lets Hatsworth gain access to the Puzzle Mode itself with a simple tap of the X button. There is so much variety thrown in to Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure that players will get hours of fun and be left hungry for more at the end. Perhaps if enough people rush out and pick it up there will be a strong chance of a sequel in the future!

Screenshot for Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

EA has struck gold with this amalgamation of the platform and puzzle genre thanks to its Tiburon office clearly pouring its heart and soul into the project. Each element of the adventure complements the other perfectly, leaving gamers with a true sense of satisfaction afterwards. Definitely not one to miss out on...






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date Out now   


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