The fantastically popular fictional character written by Francesca Simon, Horrid Henry, is back ,but this time in 3D. This is a platform game aimed at younger gamers and, as such, is a pretty simple affair. It is, however, not as well implemented as it should be, although fans of the books and cartons will probably still really enjoy it. It does the simple things well and never tries to be what it’s not. The gameplay is simple and the story is one that the cartoon followers will be familiar with, so let’s dive a little deeper to discover the good and bad points of Horrid Henry: The Good, The Bad & The Bugly.
We join Henry as he is being blamed for losing his little brother’s rabbit. Of course, Henry didn’t lose it, so sets out on an adventure to bring the bunny back and restore his good name (yeah, right). It’s a very simple story but one that fans of the series will be familiar with as this bunny gets lost a lot. The controls are very easy to learn, you run by moving the circle pad left or right, jumping is mapped to the A button whilst sliding Henry down a hill is done by simply pushing down on the circle pad. Your weapon of choice is your ever trusty goo shooter. In this game it shoots four different types of goo all with various stickinesses and damage.
To fire your shooter, you press B, you can also make Henry swing across ropes by pressing left or right and then the A button to grap or let go. Henry also has the Yo-yo ability that is initiated by the X button, during Yo-yo mode you can use the stylus on the bottom screen to move objects that Henry’s hamster throws at you to solve picture puzzles and open doors so you can proceed. These are easy, but for a younger gamer they may provide a bit more of a mental challenge. The bottom screen shows your goo gun and the type of goo your using, as well as the paw prints that indicate how many enemies you have gooed and the chocolate cookies that restore your health and give you extra lives, depending on how many you get.
During gameplay you will visit three different worlds, Lovely Land which is based on your brother (Peter’s) imagination and where the enemies include happy hippos and carrots, the Pirate Mangrove, which is a swamp level with tress and morillas, and the final world, Darius Drek’s Fortress, which is where the mysterious bunny is. Each world has its own boss battles and, once again, these are easy for seasoned gamers but tougher for younger ones. The gameplay itself is very simple, you run, jump and swing across the levels, but it’s all a bit too empty, and there is not much in the way of variation, it has to be said.
A problem I had was with the 3D slider in Horrid Henry was when I turned the effect up too high, I noticed that it made the screen go blurry. As a result, the 3D aspects of the levels did not help my eyes, especially as the characters in the game are quite small, and while the 3D is used to some extent, its not utilised to any great effect, often, it’s simply just some trees popping out from the different planes towards you. The whole game could be played in 2D and, in my opinion, would probably be better this way. This isn’t to say that Horrid Henry is a bad game, but the whole 3D novelty is just that, a novelty.
The music in Horrid Henry is not bad and the voices are those of the cartoons themselves. The sound effects during the game are decent enough and the different worlds have nice melodies to accompany gameplay. There is no multiplayer and after you finish the Story mode, which won’t take very long, there is sadly not a lot else to do. There are some collectibles to find in each world which will keep the fans happy for a little while at least.
Overall, Horrid Henry: The Good, The Bad & The Bugly is not a bad game, but, sadly, it’s also not a great game, just mediocre. Fans will probably love it as it is aimed at the younger gamer who will find the gameplay challenging enough. I suspect that more experienced gamers, however, will finish this pretty quickly. No matter which camp you fall into, while Horrid Henry may take up a enjoyable enough few hours over the festive period, I fear after the initial playthrough, it will find a place on the shelf. Purple Hand Gang away!
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