Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure Review

By Scott Alan Marriott - Posted May 01, 2009

Put on your thinking cap and dive into puzzle solving mode, playing as Henry Hatsworth, who is on a quest to find pieces of The Gentleman's Suit, a suit of armor that controls a parallel world, as X-Play reviews 'Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure' for the Nintendo DS.

The Pros
  • New twist on familiar game types
  • Funny, memorable characters
  • Tight controls
  • Exciting soundtrack
The Cons
  • Old-school challenge might frustrate some players
  • Lack of wireless support

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Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure follows in the footsteps of such DS titles as Puzzle Quest and Professor Layton and the Curious Village by blending elements of two distinct genres into one cohesive whole. In this case, it mixes a side-scrolling platformer with an action puzzle game. Starring an amusing British explorer who chortles and blusters his way through five themed worlds, Henry Hatsworth proves that two is nearly always better than one. (Unless we’re talking about bills, ulcers, or spider bites.)

Pip Pip Hooray

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling AdventureThe monocled, mustachioed gentleman is on a treasure-seeking quest for legendary clothes, starting with a golden hat. Once acquired, the hat transforms Hatsworth from a crotchety old man to a virile adventurer half his age. He will stay youthful until he receives a certain amount of damage, at which point he'll revert back to his cane wielding, bowler-hat wearing, tea-loving self. The action takes place on the top screen, while the puzzle is displayed on the bottom. The former is a throwback to such 8-bit greats as Mega Man and Ninja Gaiden, while the latter is a variant of Tetris Attack and Bejeweled.

What's interesting about Henry Hatsworth is how well the seemingly disparate game styles are connected. Killing enemies sends them tumbling toward the touch screen, where they'll appear as colored blocks with eyes. Left untouched, these blocks will gradually rise and re-enter the action as an annoying menace that will try to stomp on Hatsworth like a Thwomp on Mario. The puzzle screen is also where you'll be able to acquire power-ups, extra lives, and hearts to assist Hatsworth. The goal here is simply to create matches of three or more by swapping blocks left and right with the directional pad or stylus.

You can freely switch between the puzzle and action areas at any time, though there is a time limit on the puzzle game that is powered by the number of enemies you defeat. Also available on the puzzle screen is a super meter, which fills by creating matches and chain reactions. The super meter, once maxed out, allows you to activate "tea time," which temporarily encases Hatsworth in a gold-plated, steam-powered robot suit that has the welcome bonus of being indestructible until the meter is depleted.  

Each of the five worlds spans six stages in length and culminates in a lengthy boss encounter. The action isn't particularly new -- you'll leap across collapsing platforms, avoid wall spikes, bounce on hot air balloons, and so forth -- but it is fun. Hatsworth is an enjoyable character to play, as he slashes (even juggles) enemies with his sword, fires projectiles, and grabs onto walls. The controls are excellent, which is a good thing, as you'll need to be precise with your jumps while battling each stage's assortment of enemies. You'll have to deal with cannons firing low and high, skulls lobbing fireballs, knights swinging gigantic swords, axe-wielding maniacs, and much more.

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Tempest in a Teapot

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling AdventureSince enemies are so plentiful, the difficulty can be maddening as you progress. Fortunately, the developers included a shop that lets you buy permanent upgrades with the money acquired from opening treasure chests and defeating enemies. The problem is that you absolutely need the upgrades if you want a fighting chance, so don't be surprised if you find yourself replaying previous levels to earn more cash. Other minor complaints are that there's no scoring system in place for levels, diminishing the game's long-term appeal, nor the ability to play the puzzle game by itself or against the computer or a friend.

Henry Hatsworth is a platform game first and a puzzle game second, so those who normally love puzzlers will be in for a surprise when they find an old school side-scroller that's as challenging as some of the top games from the 8-bit era. The puzzle aspect merely complements the jumping, slashing, and shooting, so if action titles aren't your cup of English tea, then Hatsworth won't satisfy your block-busting urges. Yet the combination makes for one of the more exciting and intense games you'll likely play on the handheld. Filled with hilarious characters, catchy music, and thumb-throbbing action, Hatsworth's charms will bring a smile to even the stiffest of upper lips.  

Article Written By: Scott Alan Marriott