Combining game genres can be a tricky business, but Electronic Arts creates a strong Nintendo DS exclusive title which combines a fun puzzler and challenging platformer in Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure.
Hatsworth searches for pieces of a precious golden suit to put the “Puzzle Realm” into the right hands, competing against villains like Leopold Charles Anthony Weaselby the Third and Lance Banson. You can play old, young, and powered up versions of Hatsworth throughout five themed worlds broken down into more than 30 levels, including several hidden levels.
It’s a humorous venture with a buff, British protagonist (yes, tea is involved) going up against standard bosses and countless enemy waves who actually get a second shot at you via the puzzle section of the game. With the platform action set on the top screen and the progressive puzzler on the bottom screen, you get stimulating switch challenges throughout the entire game. Your enemies switch as well.
You need to check your meters often to see if and how long you can switch screens. When you do, you dispatch your basic goofy-eyed enemies, which fall down into the bottom. If you dispatch them by matching colors tiles, etc. in the puzzler, they disappear for good. If they reach the top of the screen, then they reappear in the platforming world and try to take you down again.
Of course the puzzle element is necessary to gain energy, treasure, and health while working towards some amazing power-ups including the pieces of the special suit. The weapons include short range swords and long range rifles. You really need to shoot before you see enemies ahead of you if you want to clear levels quickly.
You get occasional breaks with the funny cut scenes with Hatsworth and other characters. The dialogue is hilarious and delivered through toned sounds, so younger gamers still have to read all the words if they want in on the humor and references. The dialogue cut scenes can be skipped.
Getting the control button scheme down is half the battle and there are various fighting styles/challenges. Luckily you get enhanced weapons like an extremely effective boomerang. The difficulty can get pretty steep especially near the end, plus you get other obstacles like trap rooms full of seemingly endless enemies that you must defeat before advancing.
With great sound effects and an equally great music score by Gene Rozenberg, Hatsworth hits it out of the park with strong replay value after a basic conquer time in the double digit hours. This game has definite similarities to other platformers including Pitfall, Super Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man, so it’s a familiar frenzy, though the mix is pitch perfect and good for all ages.
Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for cartoon violence.