By: Quinn Potter
With visuals ripped from Toy Story, beer-bellied Henk doggedly jogs around a Matchbox car racetrack that has been set up in a child’s room. In this whimsical platformer/side-scroller, Rage Squid unleashes an aging action hero toy into the world of Xbox One gameplay. Is Henk ironic? Heroic? Inspiring or insipid? Those are the questions we need to answer.
Simple, well-placed controls give you all the authority you need to make Henk run, jump and butt slide. No re-mapping available (and none needed).
Graphics pop with deeply saturated primary colors. Foreground objects are sharp, but background objects lose their detail. The shadowing is a bit quirky, which gives the playroom an odd, uneven distortion. In general, graphics are adequate and fit the game well.
Visual special effects such as fireworks or smoke from a volcano play nicely on the gaming screen. For players who take the time to examine the backdrop, there are some fun nostalgic gems to discover, such as a poster of Action Henk, a mock-up poster of a Top Gun-like movie, a boxed game that is reminiscent of the $20,000 Pyramid gameshow, etc.
The soundtrack is peppy electronica that will work well for kids but might wear thin with repetition for others. The verbal grunts, groans and enthusiastic shouts (“Hell yeah!”) are well done and add to the fun.
Move Henk through the playroom in a race against time. Mastering the timing of his run, jump and butt slide doesn’t take a lot of effort. This peppy little platformer/side-scroller makes it easy to move up levels and unlock new challenges.
Advancing a few levels in the game increases the fun factor pretty quickly, especially when the disco ball drops and the multi-colored dance squares get the party going. Just like every child’s fantasy game come to life, however, there’s some real hot lava to look out for and other goodies in store.
As you advance, you’ll get to choose from new characters, such as Betsy, Neil, Kentony and Cedar. You’ll also get access to new moves and abilities, such as the sweet hookshot that lets you swing across gaps and obstacles.
Unfortunately, online co-op is not available in the Xbox One format, and the local co-op is okay but not great. Nevertheless, Henk is perfectly happy to race around his little toy kingdom on his own as you’ll want to replay levels again and again to log personal best times.
Truth? We had a lot of fun in Action Henk, making this middle-aged man-child earn his stripes by racing him around the fantasy playroom we all wish we’d had as kids.