Curve Digital – Rage Squid – 1-2 Players – Available now on PC & Xbox One and 8th March on PS4 (version tested)
If Trials HD was a platform game in the style of Toy Story, that pretty much sums up Action Henk! in a nutshell, only change the industrial setting for a bedroom full of building blocks and Hot Wheels tracks, and some of the oddest action figures you may well see. The evil Kentony, has stolen Henk’s prized possession and it seems that the only way to get it back is to compete in series of races and get the best finish time possible. Although that’s near enough all you get in the way of story, the game doesn’t require one. The courses have you running, jumping and butt sliding from start to finish. It sounds simple but the difficulty spikes after each stage, and if you don’t get each jump, slide and fall right, you’ll need to restart. Each button press needs to be timed to perfection in order to be successful and that often means repetition, especially on the levels requiring the hookshot, which can get quite frustrating.
The level design varies from a bedroom, be it the usual mess you’d expect from a kid playing with toys or decorated for Halloween, to tropical beaches. When running through the bedroom you have to be careful not to fall through any gaps, after all, the floor is lava! The beach levels pose a different threat if you lose your footing, as there be sharks in them there waters! The bedroom also provides some amusement with the posters plastered all over the walls, all parodying films and games, including some bad Sonic Henk Art! At the end of each set of stages there’s a race against a character which will unlock them for use. Although they don’t have any visible attributes when selecting your character, they do have their own benefits, as some can run faster, some will be lighter so can jump further and others can cover more distance with their own unique butt slide. The music in game isn’t anything to write home about, but it keeps up the fast paced feel and does have the occasional funky retro sound to it.
Action Henk! is great fun, and is surprisingly one of few games around that riffs on the Trials format. While it lacks the technical mastery of the motorcycle physics game, it makes up for it with fast paced action, and even has local multiplayer which adds to the silly fun. It’s not going to win any awards for originality, but when it’s this much fun you really wouldn’t care less and much like Trials HD, it’s as enjoyable as it is frustrating. It seems to be lacking a little in the visual department considering it’s a ‘next gen’ title, but with more than enough replayability to make you want to go back and improve your score and given the amount of fun on offer, you’ll have a great time.