Everyone at some point in their lives imagined their favourite toy, racing through their bedroom, jumping over obstacles and avoiding the lava floor. RageSquid have brought that childhood fantasy to life in their latest title, Action Henk.
Players are tasked with running, butt-sliding, and jumping their way through a multitude of increasingly difficult levels, to prove that Action Henk is the top toy of the box.
Comprising of nine themes, with six levels in each set, players are whisked through various locations, starting from the bedroom, all the way to a theme park, and even an evil lair. Each level set is full of character and has its own challenges to conquer. One such set of levels requires you to master the grappling hook, swinging your way through the level, trying to beat the best time on the board. When first trying out the grappling hook, it took some time to get used to optimum placing. All too often I would find myself placing it in a less than perfect position, not giving myself the momentum to continue, and having to hit the B button to restart. However, over time, you soon learn the best placements, so you don’t lose that all important momentum.
Action Henk can be infuriating at times, resulting in multiple restarts in quick succession, as often it requires almost pixel perfect placement to ensure a good landing, and enabling Henk to continue on his run. However frustrating this can be, it’s rare that it’s due to the game being unfair, but your own impatience. Being mindful of the “try and try again” mantra is important with Action Henk. If you’re finding it difficult to make it past a certain level, I recommend you run against a ghost, seeing when they time their jumps, and working out the best route through the level.
To unlock each set of levels, players must defeat the boss in a final challenge stage, and collect the correct number of medals. Challenge stages comprise of everything you have faced in the previous levels of that set, and test you on all that you have learned. Defeating the boss then unlocks that character to use instead of Henk. Medals are slightly easier to obtain, as these are awarded in accordance with your time. Bronze will award you with one medal, silver will give you two, and gold will give three. If you can get gold medals on all levels in a set, they there’s a special unlock bonus level for that set, as well as a special skin for Henk.
Multiplayer is a little lacking, unfortunately, and only offers local multiplayer to challenge your friends. However, get four friends around on a Friday night and it would be a blast to play. The local multiplayer sticks with the original premise, racing against the clock, but with a cumulative time, rather than a per race time. Online multiplayer consists purely of leaderboards, both global and friends, but it would have been nice to see an online racing mode, or the option to race against your friends, as seen in Trials HD.
Action Henk has a vivid and fun aesthetic, and features several nods to popular toy franchises along the way, including some childhood favourites including Thunderbirds and Hot Wheels. Each level set is well designed, and easily distinguishable in appearance. Unfortunately, when you’re barrelling through a level at top speed, it’s easy to miss some of the nuances, and are unable to appreciate the great design. The soundtrack mimics that of the visual style of Action Henk. Bouncy, fun, and fitting of each level type. It’s a soundtrack I would be happy to pop onto a playlist and listen to when I’m away from the game.
Overall Action Henk is great fun, and really plays on the “one more go” factor. Unfortunately frustrating at times – going for a breather and coming back to it will soon rectify that. If you’re looking for something to break up from other, more serious titles, or for something to play over some beer and pizza with your mates, Action Henk is absolutely perfect.
Action Henk is available to download now, for £11.99, from the Xbox store.