DJ Hero was a fairly big game. A huge budget, a big-name brand and a number of licensed popular artists donating their music to Activision cause? We’d call that pretty massive. Killzone 2 was arguably the biggest game of the first half of this year. Sony spent five years making it, and couple of million bob too.
But Henry Hatsworth? If you’re an Xbox or Playstation fan, then you’ve probably just either raised an eyebrow or performed your tribute to the grand old Juice-Out-The-Noise act. What the hell is Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure? Why is some random Professor Layton rip-off sat proudly on this list above a number big-budget titles?
Well, let’s kill two birds with one stone. Henry Hatsworth is not a rip-off of Professor Layton’s adventures. OK, there are fine English gentlemen with exquisite headwear, and explorey parts and puzzley parts, but the exploring bits are Platforming levels, (Top Screen) which works in synch with a simple Match-Three game (Bottom Screen). Press X and you’ll flip screen. However, you can’t just hit X at any point, as you have to charge up a gauge that determines the time you’ll get in the puzzle. This can be done by killing enemies, collecting items or just waiting a while as it gradually restocks.
The two modes may sound random, but they’re beautifully woven together. Blocks gradually stack up, and if you don’t time your bursts of colour-swapping, you’ll end up wasting your time. All power-ups gathered have to be ‘opened’ by removing their square from the grid, and if it stacks too high, you’ll die. You don’t get the choice of doing one or the other; you have to carefully manage both.
The game is also very, very hard. Pass half way and you’ll spend many a night trying to progress even further. This can all be aided by a handy shop system, that gifts you extra hearts, longer jumps and more powerful shots from our hero’s little pistol or bigger swipes of his machete.
However, the best part of Puzzling Adventure is the superb character design. Hatsworth himself is an incredibly charismatic figure, brimming with Englishness. (The highlight of which being the ‘Tea Time’ super power-up, in which Hatsworth stops and drinks a cuppa with Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood or some men in tombola hats, mysteriously turning old Henry into a giant robot for a few seconds) His annoying assistant, Cole, is genuinely annoying. There’s a fat nurse who throws wheelchairs at Hatsworth, and the hilarious Lance Banson, a womaniser who fight him only using song. All of the characters pop up at random points as little Easter eggs for dedicated players.
Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure deserves to be a huge game. It’s deep, fun and has the essential ‘One More Go’ factor that all the best titles have. We don’t understand why it isn’t already, but with your help, it easily could be. If you own a DS, go out and buy Henry Hatsworth. You will not regret it.