Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure DS Review

May 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Nintendo DS, Reviews

When a game meshes two genres together, there’s always the possibility that one facet is going to outshine the other. It’s a difficult balancing act to craft a game where both elements complement each other perfectly, but it’s a feat that EA have pulled off admirably well with Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure.

The titular Henry Hatsworth is an old adventurer and the English gentleman stereotype: he drinks tea, when you complete a level he exclaims “good show!” and he’s sophisticatedly dressed. I usually frown up on such stereotypes, but here it’s played for inoffensive laughs and carried out with a certain charm and insanity: a cup of tea will turn Henry into a big robot for example. It also sounds nothing like an EA game and is indeed well out of their comfort zone.

You control Henry on the top screen, through a mixture of old fashioned style 2D platforming and fighting. The jumping is satisfyingly responsive and the fighting, whilst very simple, is immensely enjoyable. Henry can slash at enemies with his sword, or shoot them from a range with his gun. You’d be forgiven at this point for thinking Henry Hatsworth is a well worn formula, but you’d only be half way right.

Defeated enemies will fall into the puzzle realm, which is actually the block-filled bottom screen, it’s also the area where Henry Hatsworth is at its most unique. With a single button press, you’re able to switch to this and play a Tetris style block matching puzzle, which not only allows you to prevent defeated enemies from returning, but you’re also able to make use of a number of power ups to gain the upper hand. Furthermore, it also awards you energy for your super meter, giving you the opportunity to execute special attacks, and with enough energy transforming Henry into his younger and healthier self, when at its highest level you’ll also get to stomp around in an invulnerable robot for a time, a good time it is too.

Given its old skool feel, it’s hardly a surprise that on occasion Henry Hatsworth is a very hard game, to the extent that it‘s very frustrating. This can be alleviated somewhat by upgrading Henry in between levels, with money found and gained from defeating enemies as well as making smart use of the puzzle realm should the need arise, to for example restore your health. The chance to replay levels is also very much appreciated.

A highlight of the game are the boss fights. They’re not particularly original and to beat them it’s all about reading their attack patterns and taking advantage. Nevertheless, like much of the rest of the game, they have a satisfying old fashioned feel and challenge to them, and it’s also an area where the games’ fun sense of humour shines.

Henry Hatsworth is inventive and makes excellent use of the DS’s capabilities. Both its action and puzzling aspects are of a high level of quality but it’s the way that the two genres work in tandem with one another that truly impresses, resulting in a great and clever hybrid of a game.

8/10

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