When I was a kid, I always wondered what my toys might be doing while I was away at school. This month’s indie pick, from developer RageSquid, is pretty close to the kinds of weird things my healthy imagination concocted.
Action Henk is one of the coolest racing games I’ve played in a long time. Instead of flashy cars, you get to race oddball toy action figures that have come to life. These characters have concocted a wide range of high-speed obstacle courses to barrel through.
The simple high-speed platforming gameplay is easy to pick up. You’ll run, jump, buttslide (yes, “buttslide”), and even swing through dozens of dizzying racetracks. The racetracks are constructed out of toy blocks and familiar childhood doodads.
This game is all about speed, precision, and shaving precious seconds off the clock. In solo mode, most courses have you racing to beat a specific time. You can pick which target to aim for by changing your ghosts to race against, which will push you to get better.
Action Henk is a skill-based game. The more you play it, the better you’ll get at it. As a reward for beating the clock and your racing opponents, you earn medals. These medals can be used to unlock new course tiers to race across. The game’s colorful environments and detailed backgrounds are loaded with pop culture references and subtle jokes, which adds to the game’s humor. Each area also has a playable character you can unlock. But to add them to your roster, you have to beat them in an extra-challenging race.
The game starts off easy, but it gets quite challenging the further you push. Frequent checkpoints and an instant restart button help you stay in the action if you make a critical slip-up. Most tracks can be completed in well under a minute. This cuts down on any frustration you might find from the toughest courses.
Making mistakes is actually a pretty helpful learning experience. Every quick restart gives you an opportunity to tighten up your run. And that’s part of what makes Action Henk so additive. You’re constantly working to improve your time, learn the ins and outs of each track, and push toward unlocking tougher challenges and more characters. Beating your previous score or earning a tough medal feels awesome!
You can also play with friends or other random players on Steam, too, which is another fun way to challenge yourself.
So if you’re ready for some upbeat platform racing shenanigans featuring Nineties-era toy action figures, then Action Henk will most definitely scratch that itch. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a few more medals to earn!