Review: Action Henk
Editor’s note: Action Henk released a few months back, and this review is rather late, but the game is currently on sale and I would be crushed with guilt if I didn’t write some musings on it while you have the chance to pick it up on the cheap.
Action Henk takes place in a parallel universe similar to that of Jingle All The Way, the Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad chase-comedy about hunting down a mega-popular toy. Action Henk, the main character of the game, is your typical macho 90’s action hero. His presence was ubiquitous, showing up in games, shows, and movies to name a few. Some evil dude steals Henk’s trophy and you have to race through time trial courses to get it back. Just… just go with it. The story in Action Henk is unnecessary. It’s one of the few aspects of the game that I felt could have been completely cut. If you buy this game (you should), just boot it up, skip any cutscenes, and play the crap out of it.
The single-player mode contains dozens of tracks spread across several varied locations. At first, you’ll be racing in and around a toy-filled room with posters and other toys painting the scenery. I was impressed by the lively backdrops in Action Henk, especially because the game runs in Unity. All of the worlds are richly rendered, lending a touch of whimsy to the overall experience. My personal favorite areas are the disco room and the haunted house zone. So good. Each track has four medal times to strive for, from Bronze to Rainbow, and new tracks are unlocked by hitting medal count checkpoints. At the beginning of a race, you choose a medal, and a ghost runs the track at that medal’s speed. It’s a nice little touch that subtly teaches players new tactics to shave off precious tenths of a second. Every track in single player has an online leaderboard (likely dominated by Vlambeer’s JW), and there’s also a local multiplayer mode that’s quite fun if you can wrangle a few competitive players.
The gameplay is tight. The right stick runs, the X button jumps, and the R2 button buttslides. These are the core mechanics in the game – run, jump, slide. Later on, there’s some grapple hooking (which I personally loved) and a good deal of wall jumping, but you’re mostly executing three actions over and over. This is a time attack game at its core, perfect for perfectionists and speedrunning enthusiasts. It’s like Trials, but with a lot more emphasis on speed than surmounting difficult obstacles. That being said, the final batch of levels is incredibly difficult and will require all of the skills you’ve honed getting there to complete.
Action Henk is a must buy in my book, especially if you’re into quick-course racing games. I had flashbacks of speedrunning 1001 Spikes, Runner 2, and Mutant Blobs Attack, experiences very dear to my gamer soul. The action-packed, radical soundtrack is also worth mentioning here. Especially in the early areas, the thumping music really encourages you to pick up your pace. What’s interesting is that while I partially enjoyed the complexity of the end-game levels, their high skill requirements generally took away from what I fell in love with earlier on in the game. It’s all about going fast, perfecting jumps and slides, and going even faster than the last run. That’s Action Henk in a nutshell – faster than last.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Fast-paced racing
- Fast-paced music
- Fast-paced action
What I Dislike:
- Unnecessary cutscenes/plot