Review: Henry Hatsworth in The Puzzling Adventure (DS)

Henry Hatsworth stars in one of the Nintendo DS' best puzzler offerings

First looks can be very deceiving. Just by taking a quick glance at Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure, it isn’t difficult to assume it’s aimed at younger audiences wanting in on a simple and fun puzzle experience. Surprisingly though, there’s actually a rather deep, original, and above all, hardcore experience that many Nintendo DS owners are looking for.

Henry Hatsworth, the protagonist of the game, is a quirky, light-hearted character that is on a mission to find the lost pieces of the Golden Suit, a suit of armor that allows the wearer to enter a parallel world known as the Puzzle World, in order to collect the treasures of the mysterious world. After finding a golden bowler hat that allows him to manipulate the Puzzle World, he somehow manages to cause a huge imbalance, and decides to find the rest of the pieces to stop monsters from entering his world and claim its riches for himself. With all that in mind, our heroic protagonist sets out on an adventure that spans across five unique continents.

With Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure, gamers are supplied with five stages of platforming action, but at the same time, they also get a little bit of puzzle action thrown in. While controlling Henry on the upper screen, a puzzle game in unfolding on the touch screen. On the bottom screen, players are presented with a grid filled with colored blocks that eventually fill the screen from top to bottom.

Now then, you’re probably wondering how the two different screens behave with each other. For starters, defeated enemies on the top screen will fall and merge with blocks on the bottom screen. To finish the enemies off for good, players will need to tap the X button to shift control to the bottom screen and take part in a 'match three or more blocks of the same colour to erase them' puzzle mechanic, or else they’ll start to reappear on the top screen again as enemies.

On the platforming side of things though, players can expect to find a top-notch platforming adventure. All of the things gamers have come to expect from the genre can be found here, including combo attacks, dashes, wall jumps, ground pounds, sub-weapons, melee and shooter elements, a combo system, upgradable skills in a gem-based system, among many other things.

In addition to these things though, there are also quite a few nifty little additions that helps propel the game forward from the bunch. Hatsworth heads to an underwater area in one part of the game where he’ll experience low gravity, thus making him jump even higher than normal. Enemies are also constantly thrown into the bunch, further adding to the impressiveness of the game.

Keeping you on your toes is a timer, which can be found on the left side of the screen, which counts down as long as you are active on the touch screen, and only recharges as you head to the top screen to jump and to defeat enemies. The key to keeping the timer healthy is to constantly switch between screens and know exactly when to do it.

The biggest concern many may have had with Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure probably would’ve been whether or not the two different gameplay mechanics could cooperate with each other to provide an enjoyable experience. Though each screen feels like its own game, the two depend on each other in order to function properly. During boss battles for instance, specific attacks will make the bottom screen useless and sometimes a new immobile area is added to screen that need to be worked around in order to be removed. With Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure, gamers are getting a very unique and enjoyable game that feels very original, robust, and polished.

With all the praise though, Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure does have some notable flaws. For one, the game’s juggle system isn’t what we would call perfect. Since it relies heavily on throwing up enemies and keeping them airborne in combos long after they’ve passed on, players are never given the opportunity to pick up treasure that they may have dropped. It may not be a huge gripe, but nevertheless, it is a problem with the game.

For the most part, the length of each stage is rather lengthy, but thanks to the game’s ability to auto-save, players won’t have to worry about not being able to finish a stage in a single play through. Whenever they pick up their Nintendo DS again, they can pick up right where they left off to last time.

Conclusion

It’s not every day a game like Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure comes along. Featuring a very original, robust, and polished experience, gamers of all ages should at least try the game. It might not be for everyone, but for those who dig in under the game’s skin, they’ll be rewarded with one of the best titles on the Nintendo DS.