Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure

Kombo’s Review Policy: Our reviews are written for you. Our goal is to write honest, to-the-point reviews that don’t waste your time. This is why we’ve split our reviews into four sections: What the Game’s About, What’s Hot, What’s Not and Final Word, so that you can easily find the information you want from our reviews.

What the Game’s About
Henry Hatsworth from the Puzzling Adventure is a new game from EA that blends platforming and puzzling into a unique brew that is sure to gain some gamer attention. The story starts with the story of the Golden Suit that only The Gentleman could wear and control. It opened up a magical realm full of treasure and monsters because the suit was so amazingly good looking and perfect fitting. When Hatsworth stumbles upon the golden hat, the magic realm is destabilized, and it’s up to him to collect the other pieces of the best suit ever and restore some order. There is also the added benefit of being the best dressed adventurer in the Pompous Adventurers Club of all time.

What’s Hot
It is pretty easy to tell if a game is going to take some time to warm up or if there is something special right away. Hatsworth is one of those games that you know is special right from the opening credits with the way the story sets up the grand adventure centered on vibrant characters and an impeccable suit that opens magical realms because it’s so good looking. The enemies and bosses you meet are more ridiculous than the last. One of the most memorable enemies is Lance Banson, a beautiful pirate who wears pink and sports a glorious hairdo. Even Hatsworth has his quirks; he enjoys Tea Time and marginalizing his assistant Cole by not letting him adventure. Small touches like that give Hatsworth an undeniable charm and whimsy that will captivate DS gamers looking to give it a go.

Hatsworth feels a lot like an old school side-scroller with a modern twist to keep it from leaning hard on the nostalgia button. You’ll get the flavor of a Super Mario World type game mixed in with some cutting edge ideas about game design with a puzzle game that is just as important as getting to the end of the stage. It is obvious that something this daring wouldn’t be possible on any other platform past or present, because juggling the two styles of play would be impossible on another device.

Splitting the gameplay between platforming and puzzles seems like an odd choice. As odd as it sounds, it works surprisingly well. As you platform and clear enemies and navigate obstacles, there is a puzzle in the bottom screen that rises and has the potential to interfere with your well timed jumps and slashes. Your success on the puzzle can give you bonuses as you find more treasure. Switching back and forth between the two styles of gameplay might sound cumbersome and disjointed but is actually beneficial to keep Hatsworth feeling fresh.

What’s Not
Hatsworth does get one bad quality from the past, lots of precision timing of jumps. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself at the wrong end of a bottomless pit looking to restock on 1-ups. As you play more the game gets unforgiving and throws more challenges in your way.

There is a certain cycle that Hatsworth adheres to when it comes to the levels. There is a beginning, middle room with tons of enemies and end. It becomes predictable to know when you are locked in a room and have to clear bad guys and then clean out the puzzle and clear more bad guys. Predictable is the best way to describe it because there is never a time when Hatsworth feels repetitive.

What is the biggest shame of Hatsworth is that it fails to court a defined audience. The box of the game looks to be a casual players game but as soon as you dive into the game, it’s obvious that it was intended for the more hardcore crowd. There are times where you feel it’ll attempt to walk the line between those two worlds. No matter what it tries, it will always list to the side of the more core gamers. The real problem is that a beautiful game like this could fade into obscurity without knowing who to target.

Final Word
It would have been nice not to be faked out by thinking this was a casual game, but the surprise to find such a unique, refreshing and ingenious game was good. The DS has been picking up stream lately with some hardcore hits that are sure to bring back jaded Nintendo gamers thinking the casual crowd has taken over. It is obvious that the team at Tiburon are a bunch genius gamers who “get it” when it comes to things like making an off-beat game work on so many levels. Games like Hatsworth is the reason why the DS was made and the DS was made for games like Hatsworth.