You know what causes the downfall of an empire? Academics cite socio-political reasons, but we know the truth: a lack of save points. Men like Henry Hatsworth set out to discover lost treasures and plunder their way round the world, but weaker-minded souls admit defeat after covering the same ground 20 times in a row.
Hatsworth, of Tealand%26rsquo;s Pompous Adventurers Club, is made of stern stuff, however, and even after he has walked away from another thwarted attempt to get though a level, he will be back to try again before long. With its mix of action-platforming and tile-shifting puzzling, this is a game that%26rsquo;s been sprinkled with Just One More Go%26trade; powder. Yes, more regular save points would have been nice, and certainly kinder for the %26lsquo;casual%26rsquo; gamer this is aimed at, but hey, challenging%26rsquo;s good, yes?
The basic gist is that the top screen is a platformer while the touch screen is a puzzler. Up top, Henry jumps and fights through five (slightly generic) worlds. Slain enemies drop into the grid, where matching them with like-coloured blocks finishes them off. Powerups are collected in a similar fashion, meaning the two games are linked. Ignore the grid and enemies rise up from it to pester you; clear enough blocks and you can activate Henry%26rsquo;s awesomely silly robot destructo-suit in Tea Time mode.
Alone, neither of the elements would impress much %26ndash; they%26rsquo;re well presented but basic. Together, though, they create a game that lures you in with its simplicity and then kicks you in the plums %26ndash; and yet you love it. Beyond the initial basic task of picking the right time to switch screens there are more subtle tricks that have to be mastered: chaining combos in the puzzle grid to power up a projectile, juggling enemies on your sword, holding powerups in the grid until they%26rsquo;re needed without losing them off the top of the screen%26hellip; Fail to pick up on Hatsworth%26rsquo;s nuances and you won%26rsquo;t get far.
Like Henry himself, this game harks back to a bygone era. An age of simple concepts done well, of patience-testing but rewarding challenges. The sun never sets on great ideas like these.
Mar 18, 2009