Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure
Often, very often, good things come in pairs. Think of the chicken and the egg, Jesus and his invisible waterscooter or the heavenly boobs of Angelina Jolie. But also a bit of Henry Hatsworth and his puzzle adventure. Of should it be adventurous puzzle? Henry who btw?
At first sight this new franchise from the house of EA, which was dropped in store shelves without much buzz, is an ordinary platform game. Jumping, shooting and hitting so to speak, and that of course with a cuddly lead character. That role is this time given to Henry Hatsworth, a well-dressed treasure hunter who goes looking for a golden suit with magical powers. The kind 50 Cent says he’s got one for every day. Such a suit of course doesn’t come for free and as such Henry at the top screen has to silence hordes of enemies. This he does with his sword, pistol, bombs, boomerangs or with a ridiculous robot suit, but the real mercy shot the adventurer can only do on the bottom screen.
There the defeated enemies appear as block shapes in the puzzle part. This is a variation to Tetris Attach where you, by each time changing the place of two squares, have to form three blocks with the same color. This way you make blocks and as such also enemies, disappear. If you don’t do that in time the venom will return to the platform world and that’s not advisable as it’s already hectic and difficult enough. Puzzling well is the message, especially if you want to get some necessary powerups. These become available by defeating monsters, immediately go to the puzzle world and can in the end only be used when you’ve “liberated” them by adding the right colors together. You’re still following?
It may sound a bit complicated at the moment but it certainly isn’t. With one push on the button you switch between both worlds and that quickly becomes a second nature. Both parts as such aren’t very original or sublimely created, but together they do make for a symbiosis that lifts the game above average. The story of the sum of the parts so to speak. The combination of both game types needs some getting used to but brings a refreshing gameplay I’ve never seen in a game before.
Behind the cute images and sometimes great dialogues that seem to be about nothing quite a challenging game is hidden, and that doesn’t even have so much to do with the combination of the two gameplay genres. Where at first the puzzling can bring some problems, in the end it’s the platform element that wil piss the light out of your eyes. Overall this part manages to find a balance qua difficulty but at certain points that’s far to be found. Not that this is the most difficult platformer ever, far from it, but there are some end bosses that royally test your endurance. Maybe it’s me but for a game that is aimed at kids it’s quite hard at times.
Each level also has at least one locked room where you need to defeat a buttload of badguys. Continuing can only be done when they’re all dead and this can irritate at times. The problem is mostly that these parts are quite difficult while for the rest you can easily go around the world whistling. The hostiles are also very generic and no more than simple variations to some basic models. This makes the platform part after a while a bit repetitive and boring which makes that your drive to continue constantly decreases. A shame as a concept like this deserves better.
The platform- and puzzle genre in my opinion can’t be on a better platform than Nintendos handheld. The idea to bring them together in one single DS game is therefore perfectly understandable and brings even truly innovative gameplay. That’s why it’s even more unfortunate that the finishing is a little weak. Maybe next time?