For those of you who regularly follow our site, you may remember the preview I wrote for Action Henk last month. Overall my impressions were very positive; the gameplay fundamentals were solid, and I enjoyed replaying levels to try to beat my fastest time. Now that I’ve come back to it I still think it’s fun, but its appeal doesn’t last forever.

For those of you who don’t know what Action Henk is, it’s a speedrunner platformer in which you play as sentient action figures and race through various levels as fast as you can. The levels themselves are mostly built from wooden blocks and Hot Wheels-like ramps, which are set up in various locales such an as a kid’s bedroom or a beach.

The objective in most levels is simple enough: get to the end of each one as fast as you can to obtain a bronze, silver, gold, and eventually rainbow medals depending on how fast you complete it. You can race against ghosts of different medal tiers to see if you’re going fast enough to win the medal you desire. The more medals you get, the more levels you unlock. Plus, your run will be uploaded to the leaderboards, so there’s an incentive to beat other people’s records.

There are also levels where you can unlock a new character or skin for one you’ve already unlocked by either beating them in a race or collecting coins under a set time limit. The different characters don’t really control any differently though it’s a nice touch to be able to change characters if you get tired of Henk’s grinning mug.

The key to getting the fastest time is to maintain as much momentum as you can throughout your run. One key feature of keeping your momentum up throughout a level is to slide (or butt-slide if you will) down inclines to increase your speed exponentially. More often than not, you’ll need that speed to jump across large gaps or even get up onto higher platforms, so make sure you butt-slide down slopes whenever you can.

Much like other speedrunners such as Sonic, the strength of the game comes from the moments when you’re zipping through levels at a breakneck pace. This won’t always be easy, though, as most levels have obstacles designed to slow you down in various ways. Obstacles such as blocks, steep upward ramps, and gaps will slow you down or cause you to fall to your death if you’re not careful, so you’ll need to learn when to jump, slide, and run in order to maintain your momentum. Luckily you can restart each level with a tap of a button (which you’ll be doing a lot), so if you make a mistake, there isn’t too much of a penalty, especially since all the levels are pretty short.

One feature that appears only in certain levels is the hook shot item. With it, you’ll be able to swing across large gaps and swing around onto higher platforms. I bring up this feature because I wish it appeared more often throughout the game, as the levels you use it in are some of the best. It utilizes your momentum to help you swing farther and higher, so it further amplifies the game’s main strength. If the developer comes out with more levels in any future DLC, I hope they utilize this mechanic more.

There’s a story tying all the levels together told through short cutscenes though it doesn’t really add anything to the game. Henk has a trophy that gets stolen; he beats the bad guy in a race at some point, he somehow ends up on an island, and yeah I don’t really get what’s going on either. You’re clearly not supposed to take it seriously, but it would’ve been nice if it had more thought put into it. Oh, and video quality of the cutscenes is extremely poor, which is unfortunate.

Though I had a lot of fun playing most of the levels throughout the game, Action Henk kind of loses its momentum towards the end. While most of the levels are equal parts fun and challenging, some of the later ones became more of a chore to complete than not. While I felt satisfied and rewarded for my efforts in previous levels, I didn’t get that same satisfaction later on in the game. After a certain point, I felt more inclined to go back to earlier levels to beat my fastest times as opposed to moving forward.

Another feature I was disappointed with is the multiplayer. Now, I know I spoke highly of it in my preview, but I had only played a couple of rounds with a friend at that point. Now that I’ve had more of a chance to play it, I have to say that my (as well as my friend’s) initial enjoyment has faded. There is only one racing mode, and the only settings you can fiddle with are the number of attempts per level, which levels you’re racing on, and whether or not players respawn at the next checkpoint if they fall too far behind. It gets boring after several rounds, and I wish there were more modes and customization options available. Plus the multiplayer can be pretty unforgiving to someone you’re playing against if they haven’t had a chance to familiarize themselves with the game’s fast pace, which can take some time. Races are always on one screen, as opposed to split screen, and if you fall too far behind you get disqualified. Sure you can turn on respawning, but you’ll be penalized at the end of the race if you do respawn. This isn’t as much of an issue if you’re racing on one of the easier levels, but anything beyond that can be frustrating for those who aren’t skilled enough to keep up with the better player(s).

Despite the disappointing multiplayer, I still had a lot of fun with Action Henk’s solo mode. However, I probably won’t ever go back to it now that I’ve gotten gold/silver medals on most of the levels. The levels that I still have trouble getting anything more than a bronze medal on just don’t seem to be worth the effort, because they’re not as much fun as the others. I wish the game was an enjoyable experience throughout, but sadly that’s not the case. You’ll have fun initially; just don’t expect that enjoyment to last forever.