Action Henk is a 2.5D platformer from RageSquid, which they describe as Trials HD and Sonic the Hedgehog meets Toy Story. Released last year on PC, Mac and Linux, it’s now coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 with thanks to Curve Digital.
Action Henk was the world’s fastest superhero and his toy was a rival to any Action Man or GI Joe. Now though, the overweight figure is spurred back into action as his nemesis, Dr Kentony, has stolen his Toy of the Year award! In the game you run, jump, swing and buttslide through courses aiming for the fastest possible time in order to earn medals that will unlock further level sets. The courses often have multiple routes and you need to nail the jumps and slides in order to access the faster paths and shave vital seconds (or tenths of seconds) off your personal best.
To this end, the controls are accurate and responsive and it’s a really special feeling when you master a level through perfectly timed jumping and buttsliding, but it’s easy to get it wrong and scrub speed. Buttsliding downhill is faster than walking and you can slide on level surfaces if you have enough speed, but hold it too long uphill and you’ll be back to a walking pace. When jumping you can reach higher and further by holding the button, essential to scale some gaps, but also slower if a well timed smaller jump would suffice. I’ve not held my breath so much playing a game in ages, as I attempted a string of well timed slides and leaps to avoid both losing momentum and falling to my doom (in true childhood fashion, the floor is lava). It takes a lot of trial and error, but it’s not frustrating as you can quickly restart from the beginning of the level or last checkpoint with a button press.
The game looks great and it’s 3D cartoon style has bags of character; those of us in our 30’s will enjoy spotting our favourite childhood toys in the detailed backdrops of the more than 70 levels. There’s plenty of replay value as you race against a ghost of your personal best time or medal winning times; you can also unlock additional characters and skins through races at the end of each level set and for other accomplishments.
At the time of writing there’s no option to race against the ghosts of your friends’ best times, but this asynchronous option would be a great addition to the already inspiring leaderboard that each level has. Chasing and racing up to three of your friends is possible though, with the oft asked for local multiplayer, that has been added to the console port; sadly there is no online multiplayer or level editor in the console port, both features that appear in the PC version.
The game is well worth playing; bright and bold, easy to pick-up and difficult to master, but never too frustrating with the accurate controls and how easy it is to retry sections or whole levels. If you’re a fan of the trials series, you should definitely give Action Henk a try, especially with a 30% discount to PlayStation Plus members for two weeks after launch.
A PS4 copy of Action Henk was provided by Curve Digital’s PR team for the purposes of this review, and is released on Xbox One on 4th March and PlayStation 4 on 8th March for £11.99/€14.99/$14.99.