Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure Review for Nintendo DS

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure Review for Nintendo DS

Oh Dear! It’s Four O’clock!

You must be wondering… What’s up with four o’clock? Is something special going on? Indeed, I must say. It’s time for tea, at least for those good ol’ British folks who still maintain the tradition. If it wasn’t for them, we would be missing out on a lot, including this wonderful game!

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure screenshot

Starting with the ingenious game design, this DS title is a real beauty in every single way. Henry Hatsworth is an old British fellow who spends his spare time searching for treasure. His latest escapade has taken him to the jungle, where he’s searching for a legendary golden hat. Little does he know, once he finds it, he’ll be able to link the mysterious puzzle world with the real world. And where will these magical arts take him? To the unimaginable! Get ready to start a brand new game adventure featuring five different worlds with multiple levels within them, ala Super Mario Bros.

The legend says only the person who’s worthy of wearing the golden suit will be able to achieve unique powers, and for that, we need a real gentleman who knows how to dress. That’ll be Mr. Hatsworth, the number one adventurer of the Pompous Adventurer’s Club. The first couple of levels seemed extremely easy. In fact, before I knew it, I had the golden hat. However, I soon found out there’s more to the golden suit than just the hat, and that’s why Hatsworth will have to go on a real expedition and search everywhere for the remaining parts of the outfit. As you find the different parts, you’ll also obtain new abilities, which keeps the gameplay fresh.

This adventure is mostly played with the D-pad and buttons, just like a classic GameBoy game. It’s mainly a platformer, so you’ll jump your way around obstacles, duck to avoid hits, and fight the incoming attackers with your weapon of choice. One button is for sword attacks and the other one fires the gun. You can sword-attack in different directions, which works really well when attacking moving targets. When you hit the enemies, they’ll drop jewels and coins that you can use later to buy upgrades and new skills. Also, if you search hard enough throughout the levels, you’ll find treasure chests and secret warps that will transport you to hidden sections with jewels galore.

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure screenshot

The golden hat allows Henry to enter the puzzle world and interact with it by hitting X. This puzzle, located on the bottom screen, is pretty much a knock-off of Tetris Attack, which is a good thing. The puzzle is simple enough that it can be played at a fast pace, and it allows players to hit one combo after another just by following the simple match-three premise. You can play the puzzle with the buttons too, though I preferred to use the stylus to drag the pieces along the screen. The only problem with that is the constant switching between buttons and stylus as you go back and forth between the adventure and the puzzle world.

Luckily, there’s a whole lot more to the adventure as well as the puzzle. First of all, when you knock down the enemies on the top screen or grab power-ups, these will fall into the puzzle below. You don’t need to manage the puzzle the whole time, but it does slowly move up as you advance in the adventure, so once in a while you should press X to enter the puzzle and harvest those extra lives and power-ups, as well as matching the enemy blocks with other pieces of the same color to finish them and fill up your SuperMeter bar. If you let the enemies reach the top of the puzzle screen, they’ll reappear in the adventure screen and fall over you, so always keep an eye on it!

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure screenshot

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.

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure screenshot

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 didn’t 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. There’s 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…let’s say… marvelous! You can even download it for free at the Official Website, which is definitely something you shouldn’t miss. As far as voice acting, there’s not a whole lot of that – it’s more like cartoonish-style mumbling and huffing that no one will understand. It’s comical in small doses though.

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure screenshot

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!

Inventive 2D visuals with funny little creatures and ugly foes, plus an old English vibe. Everything looks sharp! 4.3 Control
You could play the entire game with just the buttons, though the puzzle is best played with the stylus. Switching back and forth between the two takes some getting used to; the rest is a piece of cake! 4.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Diverse and inspiring orchestral tunes complement the game to perfection. Voice over is pure gibberish, but funny nonetheless. 4.6

Play Value
The level of difficulty ramps up smoothly but surely. It takes quite some time to beat the 30 stages, and finding the extra hidden levels is motivating. There aren’t any extra play modes, but wait until you unlock Gentleman’s difficulty!

4.6 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Two games in one: Keep on your toes! Make quick switches between the intense action / adventure gameplay and an increasingly challenging puzzle world.
  • Non-stop action: Jump, fight, and shoot your way through more than 30 levels, including nearly a dozen of hidden levels, and take on outrageous world-ending bosses.
  • Explore five exotic worlds in a mad hunt for artifacts, each of which grants new abilities for Hatsworth and ultimately unlocks a massively powerful golden mech suit.
  • Puzzles galore: Solve challenging combo-puzzles in order to gain more health and energy. The more puzzle combos you complete, the more you can enhance your melee and ranged weapons and transform Hatsworth into multiple powerful forms.
  • Activate puzzle power-ups to help Hatsworth in the puzzle world and the action game.
  • Collect along the way: Keep an eye out.

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