If you have yet to hear the news about what all the gentlemen are playing, then you, good sir, are nothing more than a poppycock. But fear not! All you need to know about this well-dressed adventure is disclosed below. It begins with you playing the part of Henry Hatsworth, the finest treasure hunter in all the land. Sure, you aren’t as young and dashing as you once were, but that’s nothing a few silver hearts can’t solve. So let us begin our journey by slicing, dicing, and solving our way to recover the golden suit!
Henry Hatsworth delivers two satisfying scenarios for the player. It is primarily a 2D platformer that progresses as one might expect. Levels are nicely detailed and provide lots of nooks and crannies to hide chests and special items. And why shouldn’t there be? After all, we’re hunting treasure! There will be lots of baddies to encounter, some of whom may or may not even be aware of your existence, but still assuredly get in your way. Each of these characters is very entertaining and well thought out in terms of how the pose a threat to our hero. The charm and character design here rivals that of Kirby’s Adventure or Yoshi’s Island and it contributes wonderfully to the atmosphere that EA creates. And the similarities don’t stop there. Hatsworth borrows from a variety of successful platformer titles. He can perform a Link-style down thrust with his sword. He can scale walls as good as MegaMan X. Even his arch nemesis Weasleby seems like the second-cousin of Dr. Robotnik with his flying metallic top hat…complete with a variety of artillery-based attachments! At first all these features might seem a bit imposing, but they actually blend together well and prove what truly great game development is comprised of.
So how does a puzzle game fit into all of this you might ask? Quite well would be the reply. You see, slashing and juggling your way through foes isn’t enough to defeat them. As each one is conquered they fall to the second screen and become trapped in the “Puzzle Realm”. This is a grid-based series of tiles that slowly rise up towards the game screen. There are a variety of colors and tile types and one must match three either vertically or horizontally to remove them. At first, this sounds like a chore that gets in the way of all the chopping and richening gameplay. Pleasantly, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not only does clearing puzzle pieces protect you from enemies, it also adds to your puzzle meter and super meter. These reservoirs can be drawn from to give Henry additional abilities during his adventure -- anything from shooting his Musket, tossing bombs to transforming into his giant robot suit. All of these attacks will be crucial to Henry’s survival, especially as the platform levels becoming increasingly more difficult and filled with enemies. Further still, clearing specific puzzle tiles can replenish health, cause lightning strikes, or beef-up projectile attacks that are currently on screen.
Henry Hatsworth has a hefty task of providing two games-worth of controls. On the top screen you’ll be playing a modern 2D platformer which hails wonderfully to 8-bit and 16-bit eras. On the bottom, you’ll be using the stylus (or buttons if you prefer) to solve slide puzzles in order to progress through the game. Both of these scenarios are intertwined and the controls are comfortable to jump between. Even rigorously unsheathing the stylus as enemies begin to creep back on screen feels rewarding. It’s as if you are carrying Henry’s trusty blade within your DS! Standard gameplay consists of the usual walk, jump, duck mechanics. Attacking offers more variety by combining a direction and specific button to unleash unique special attacks similar to Super Smash Brothers. So although the schemes are very simple, they are very well thought out and mean you won’t be frustrated learning awkward maneuvers…you’ll be too busy having fun.
Replay Value: 9/10
Even based on the standard gameplay, Henry Hatsworth has a natural appeal and, as such, will definitely provide you with as much enjoyment the second time you set out for adventure. The cartridge allows for up to three simultaneous games to be saved so whether you claim them all as your own or want to share with friends, there is plenty of room to replay and rediscover the many paths and hidden levels offered throughout the game.
What is perhaps most enjoyable about the Hatsworth art style is the complete lack of 3D design. Every character and environment is sprite-based and beautifully designed. The art style is not necessarily unique or groundbreaking, but there is a definite sense of awe as you uncover new terrain and maps. Again, it has a strong similarity to Kirby’s Adventure on the NES where you will explore green hills, underwater mazes, and even pirate ships. The graphical presentation is hands down inspiring.
The soundtrack for Henry Hatsworth, which is available for download from the games official site, is head and shoulders above any new game thus far this year. It has an incredible variety from pulse-pounding standoff tracks, to surreal dream-like sonnets throughout the puzzle realm. Plus, there are unique tracks depending upon your current status when you switch between puzzle mode and the 2D platform sequences. These are all great touches that showcase the level of effort and detail that was put into the music choreography. EA definitely deserves high praise in this category.
The sound work in Henry Hatsworth is almost as frivolous and entertaining as the musical scores. Everything from enemy chirps and growls to Hatsworth’s signature gentlemen mumbling play a large part in the fun and magical atmosphere you’ll experience on your road to riches. A few effects tend to play more frequently than one might prefer, but that’s nothing too scathing in today’s industry.
Henry Hatsworth is indeed a great adventurer, but only second to a world class gentlemen. EA has done a phenomenal job creating a fun and light-hearted (but by no means easy) platform adventure for fans of all genres. If you own a DS this game, almost without question, belongs in your library of titles. It will quickly become a cherished addition to even the most stubborn gamer’s collection.