|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Tiburon||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 17, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
When you activate power-ups in the puzzle screen and then switch to the top mode, your enemies will be attacked for a few seconds. This will kill the weakest foes and harm the stronger ones. In the meantime, you should reach your best fighting position, and you'll be able to get rid of them in a flash. Also, when you shoot at them or throw a bomb, you can quickly do a few puzzle combos below. This will strengthen the attack you just fired. As you can see, it is very necessary to switch between the two worlds, and timing things right will make your combat a lot more effective.
There's more to it: the time you spend in the puzzle world is timed, and the time bar refills as you match the pieces, especially when special blocks are part of the combo. This also fills up the SuperMeter bar. The more enemy blocks you get rid of, the more the bar will fill up. When there's enough juice, you can fire a special attack on the top screen to wipe out swarms of enemies.
However, you can also choose to save the SuperMeter until the bar is filled twice and turns completely yellow. Then, go back to the adventure and hit the round icon. It's Tea Time!!! A cute cutscene that varies throughout the levels will show our dear Henry sipping a cup of tea accompanied by other British aristocrats, King Arthur, or even Robin Hood. What a funny touch! What's even funnier - the soothing cutscene is interrupted by a rockin' animation: a giant mecha robot with the Union Jack flapping in the background. Tea Time is fun and hilarious. Henry turns into a robot and for a while doesn't take any damage. His attacks are very powerful, whether he decides to slam enemies around like The Incredible Hulk or fire umbrella-like blasts with his fists that don't only hurt the enemies but also stops them from moving forward. The mecha robot is very useful, especially during boss fights, so careful with wasting the SuperMeter in those levels!
The boss fights are especially cool, starting with the dark and mysterious LadyD, who throws beans at the puzzle to block certain pieces in place until you match them with others. Each boss has different tactics, but ultimately, they'll all try to mess with the puzzle to make things difficult. This may all sound like frantic gameplay, but the game is actually really fun and incredibly well made. The beginning of the game might appear to be too easy, but the difficulty ramps up in no time, and once you see the bosses, you'll be giggling like a schoolgirl and then get mad like a dog because you can't beat them on the first try!
One of my favorite parts of this game is the polished and vibrant visuals. Everything is two-dimensional, but those games are always the best-looking on the DS anyway. If you didnt know who made it, you would think this was a Nintendo title. EA Tiburon, makers of most EA Sports titles, did an excellent job capturing the old English vibe, as well as designing varied and interesting characters and backdrops that will remind you of a Wario World adventure. Theres a clear old-school inspiration throughout, from the side-scrolling gameplay to the blood-pumping boss fights, all without forgetting the diverse and exciting orchestral tunes that help to complete the game. The soundtrack is truly lets say marvelous! You can even download it for free at the Official Website, which is definitely something you shouldnt miss. As far as voice acting, theres not a whole lot of that its more like cartoonish-style mumbling and huffing that no one will understand. Its comical in small doses though.
It is only March and I already know Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure is a very strong candidate for game of the year on Nintendo's handheld. The exciting adventure mode mixed up with the puzzle gameplay is a surprisingly good formula that's both entertaining and very rewarding. The controls are very smooth and accessible, and the design couldn't have been more creative. There's a certain level of skill required for later levels, but if you're up to the challenge, this is definitely the next game you should try out. Once you start playing it, it'll be hard to put down!
CCC Site Director