Nation, Mr. Prueitt reporting in. Do you enjoy a good speed run? Do you care little for exploration and would rather see how quickly you can blow through a level in a given set of time? Gotta go fast? Well Action Henk may just scratch that itch for you! Dive into a world of action figures come to life and run like hell to earn the best time possible and gold medals for each level!
For those looking for a speed runner with an amazing story like Ori and the Blind Forest, Action Henk may leave you a bit lacking. You control a small toy figurine known as Aciton Henk who starts out the game watching his own TV series. The little plastic action figure has his trophy stolen, and off he races to collect medals and ultimately his trophy. Admittedly looking a bit out of shape, Henk moves rather quickly for a man well out of his athletic prime. Like I said folks, no flashy or well-crafted story here; just a man on a mission to get back what is rightfully his! To help visualize the setting, think of Andy from Toy Story if he was obsessed with building obscure hot wheels tracks and decided to have Woody run a gauntlet as fast as he possibly could.
If you’re a fan of the Trials: Evolution games then I’d put money down you would be a fan of Action Henk. The objective of each course is to finish as quickly as you can by any means possible. Controls are relatively simple: Move right, left, up, and down to navigate the courses to the best of your ability. The game has a feature where shadow runners race with you to help track your progress. Three different ghosts named “bronze”, “silver”, and “gold” will appear as you run and give you an idea of how well you are preforming. Your goal should be to at the very least keep up with the gold ghost, as any times ahead of the gold will most likely set an impressive personal best.
Get going! You’ll be timed for this!
The mechanics for movement are relatively simple, but to increase your velocity the game implements a “slide” option which will allow your character to gain valuable speed as they travel downhill. Slopes and jumps may be needed to traverse large gaps in the course or give you access to alternate routes of travel and shave precious seconds off your finish time. If you fail a jump, the game implements a literal “the floor is lava” system if you fall off the track. Your speed can be lost, however, if you do an improper action in certain lengths of the track. If you run downhill you’ll prevent yourself from gaining the extra momentum that sliding could provide, and sliding on a straightaway will kill any excess momentum where running would be more practical. Most of Henk, as with most speed runners, comes down to having a working knowledge of the course and perfecting timing. That timing can be thrown off with user generated maps.
Buttsliding is key!
Henk offers a competitive multiplayer mode which pits players against one another on the same track. The goal is in a set amount of time to see who can either complete the most successful runs or who can make and keep the fastest run in the allotted time frame. Players can compete for bragging rights with interactive leaderboards that pit your best times on each course against others. A level editor is also available that allows players to create their own insane speed run courses, allowing for the difficulty to be adjusted to however the player desires. New characters can also be unlocked through completing maps and earning medals and modded characters are allowed from the workshop community.
Henk is a very solid speed runner with simple and tight controls. If I died or slipped up, it was my reaction time and not some gimmick specific to the game. I would highly recommend a controller while playing as the keyboard felt a little bit unintuitive while using buttons and triggers helped smooth out some issues. Fans of old Sonic games on the SEGA Genesis will feel a bit nostalgic playing Henk. Here’s hoping we don’t see Action Henk Adventure any time in the near future.
Dear God why?
Overall I would give this game a solid B+ with the multiplayer allowing for some competitive bragging rights among friends.