When someone utters the words ‘Early Access’ to you, what comes to mind? Unfulfilled promises? Broken mechanics? Yet another open world survival game? Fortunately, Action Henk is none of these.
Created by RageSquid Games, a small indie developer based in the Netherlands, Action Henk plays like the love child of the original Sonic the Hedgehog games and the more recent Trials series. The name of the game, Action Henk, is also the name of the protagonist. His appearance is that of a child’s plastic action figure, though his movement and flexibility Is undoubtedly a lot higher. Each level is set in a children’s bedroom with a track set up for Henk that often reaches all four corners of the room, winding, dropping and snaking it’s way around. And it’s worth mentioning too that the game looks absolutely gorgeous on the highest graphics settings which, by the way, are very well optimised and even an average system should be able to run at 60fps or above. Action Henk is ideal game for speedrunners or anyone who is looking for a game that’s easy to pick up and put down again. I would say it’s a relaxing game but I’d be lying due to the frequent frustrations of ‘He only beat me by 0.2 seconds! **grumble**’. However if you’re not too bothered about being a completionist, then it would definitely be a relaxing game.
Currently in the game (as of 15/02/2015) there are seven sets of levels, each consisting of 6 ‘normal’ (time trial against bronze/silver/gold ghosts) levels, 1 boss (time trial against an unlockable character) level and if you manage to get gold on those 7 tracks, you unlock a bonus level which consists of collecting all the coins across a smaller arena style level as quick as possible. In total that makes 54 levels with presumably more to come as the game progresses through and exits Early Access.
For the current Steam price of £6.99 or your regional equivalent that’s undeniably a fair amount of content, especially due to the high amount of replayability. It’s worth noting too that for the ultimate completionist, when you achieve a gold medal on a track you unlock the rainbow medal which is even quicker. You also unlock the ability to download the #1 ghost in the world for that track and try to beat them. You get to utilise a couple of different mechanics to get from start to finish on each track, the most common of which is Action Henk‘s butt slide which is important to perform on any downwards slope to gain as much speed as possible. Notice the flames coming out as he slides… ouch. Another predictable one is the jump mechanic, the longer you hold it down the higher you jump (to a certain degree). With this it’s important to get just the right height so you can hit as much of the next slope as possible, or to minimize the time in the air. The third and so far final more unique mechanic is a grappling hook, known in game as a hookshot. This allows you to swing on platforms above you to try and garner enough momentum to swing through some tracks as quickly as you can.
Other aspects worth mentioning are the unlockables; for purchasing in Early Access you unlock a special ‘Blue Blaze’ costume for Henk, then as you unlock the bosses by defeating them you can unlock more costumes for them too. The sound design in the game is fantastic too; bouncy sound effects supplemented by a great, fast paced, energetic background soundtrack. At the end of the day, most Early Access games aren’t worth the investment due to the uncertainty in the development and the unfinished game. Action Henk is one of the exceptions to this; it’s incredibly polished and while not an incredibly original idea, it’s one that’s executed very well indeed. As it’s still in Early Access that implies there’s still more work to be done on it and as long as they produce more content and maybe a couple of new mechanics similar to the hookshot, it’d definitely be in contention for my game of the year so far. Score-wise, I think Action Henk deserves a strong 8/10.
If you’re interested in seeing more gameplay, you can check out a video of mine on Action Henk here:
Action Henk! (Early Access) First Impressions
Action Henk; a lovechild from Sonic and Trials full of nostalgia.What Our Ratings Mean