When I was a kid, and watching Toy Story for the first time, one of my takeaways from that movie was how fun it would be to be a toy. Not just because I wouldn’t have to eat vegetables or go to school, but because if I was a toy, than all the other toys are life-sized in comparison to me. For example, the scene where Buzz Lightyear leaps onto a Hot Wheels car and zooms around the race track, like it’s a skateboard. That looked like so much fun.
I wanted that experience and now, after waiting nearly a decade to be a toy on a toy race track, Action Henk delivers that experience in the form of an energetic, fast-paced racing game.
As the story of the game goes, Action Henk is a 1990s action figure who has come out of retirement to prove that he’s still the fastest hunk of plastic around. The entire game revolves around taking Henk (or one of the handful of other unlockable figures) and racing them around tracks. The tracks themselves are constructed out of other toys and each level takes place in a kid’s bedroom, so there’s plenty of other toys laying about to really give the levels some great depth and detail.
Because Henk has spent a
few lot of years enjoying retirement, he’s a bit more rotund than he used to be back in his prime. But this is no problem for Action Henk, he simply uses his girth as an advantage to gain more momentum to move even faster. By using his butt-slide ability, Henk can slide across smooth surfaces and gain momentum while doing so. The trick here is to know when to run and when to butt-slide. Typically, downhill slopes are the best for sliding, while flat surfaces and (obviously) jumps are best suited for running.
Even though Action Henk is a racing game, it’s more akin to Super Meat Boy in that the game demands near-perfection in order to achieve success. Butt slide for too long, or on the wrong surface, and you’ll lose momentum and simply not be able to catch up to where you need to be. Each level comes with three medal tiers, —gold, silver, and bronze— and are awarded depending on how efficiently a level is completed.
These types of perfection-demanding platformers are not my usual cup of tea, but I did find the game to be fun for a little bit, I just won’t get near as much mileage out of Action Henk as someone who lives for speedrunning games will. Thanks to the game’s well-developed physics, getting good at a level is rewarding in that your run-through is a silky-smooth experience. So the rewards for playing are quite tangible, it’s just not a reward I am interested in putting the time in the game to obtain.
Multiplayer capabilities are available, though when I checked into it there were only two public lobbies available, and both were full. So don’t expect to readily be able to play with other random players online, as your best bet would be to plan a multiplayer session with friends. A level editor is also tossed in for good measure, and utilizes Steam Workshop for the sharing of user-made levels.
Between the game’s charm, it’s attention to detail (I’m guilty of some really slow race times simply because I stopped running to look around in the background), and it’s overall ease of play, I enjoyed my time with Action Henk, even though the game’s genre isn’t one I’m too keen on.
RageSquid supplied Epic Brew with a review copy of Action Henk.