It’s been a while since I’ve been into the “hard to master” games. When I was younger I spent many an hour into TrackMania, Super Meat Boy,The Club;  all games that shared one core message: “Practice makes perfect.”

Practice makes perfect. Maybe this explains why I’ve been playing Action Henk for the last three hours. Maybe that’s why I’m tutting to myself every single time I come out of my butt slide too early, robbing myself of valuable momentum. I’ve been racing the same 22 second course for the better part of an hour trying to beat a second action figure in a race which will unlock her as a playable character.

You have to make your way around the track in the fastest time possible using two simple movements; jump and slide. It’s easy enough to get to grips with, and even the later addition of a grappling hook to your toolbox feels intuitive. It’s more about momentum than anything else; muttering “gotta go fast” under my breath helped get me through.

Around 100 attempts later I had the run down to a silky smooth dash and finally beat her. The game says that this level is: “easy.” I’ve been gripping the controller so hard that my hand hurts, the victory has brought tears of joy to my eyes.

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The level design is like something out of Micro Maniacs (that Micro Machines spin off that was not very good). You dash around a bedroom over building blocks, leaping across the floor (which as you always worried about as a kid, is lava) and vaulting over skateboards. The tracks are varied, but the items making them up rarely change.

Each track tends to be between 20-60 seconds and a variety of well thought out “ghost” options let you race your friends, your best time or try to keep pace with a Bronze, Silver or Gold medal winning run. A restart on the course is as simple as mashing the backspace button and everything is smooth and responsive.

The game is still in a very early state, which should make my praise all the more glowing. I enjoyed myself here with the very limited pool of content I had to play with (2 characters, 25 levels, some cosmetic skins.) I really enjoyed myself and easily put in a few more hours than I expected just trying to reach for some medals I couldn’t quite reach previously.

It’s a great game, even with the early access banner draped across it’s shoulders. The gameplay at the heart of Action Henk is robust and enjoyable, and my only negative here is the limited content. This didn’t stop me having fun, but does make me a little hesitant to recommend it at this price point.

 

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