Nestled in the bustling business area of the Koelnmesse, the UK Games Industry stand was a hive of activity throughout Gamescom 2015, with publishers showing off the best of indie titles, with one of the premiere names in indie publishing in Curve Digital sitting down with me to get hands on with two of their upcoming titles, Action Henk and Hue.
“Action Henk used to be this really ripped action figure in the 90’s, but he’s let himself go a little bit, and he’s out to prove that he still has what it takes”. This is how Action Henk was introduced to me, and the premise is certainly interesting. You play as Henk, an action figure with more than a little middle aged spread, and run through multiple tracks and try to get the best times possible on them. My immediate thought was “This feels like Trials meets Toy Story”, and fortunately this was taken in the best way possible by Roel Ezendam, coder and founder of RageSquid, who are developing the game, who admitted that games like Trials and Super Meat Boy were key areas of inspiration for Action Henk.
The underlying concept of the game is that Henk has had his “Toy of the Year” award stolen by his arch nemesis, and he’s determined to get it back. Essentially running through levels that are made up of toys from the 90s, it brought back so many memories (including spotting a TalkBoy in the background!) and it really enhanced the look and feel of the game.
One of the key aspects of the game is a sense of community that the game is looking to bring in. A heavy emphasis on downloading your friends’ ghosts and trying to beat them, as well as some multiplayer races across the same levels you get to play in the single player. I can tell it’ll be as addictive as Trials, and having looked at some of the later levels, just as controller-twistingly frustrating. Check out the video below for some gameplay footage, and see what you think! I personally think that “Trials meets Toy Story” is a perfect way to describe the game, and is definitely one to watch out for. The way that the mechanics play into each other definitely adds to the gameplay, with Henk’s “Butt-slide” being used to gain momentum on the slides, and a dedicated jump button to enable a slightly more predictable flightpath to those your 2-wheeled companions can muster in Trials.
Action Henk is available now on PC, and is coming to consoles later this year.
Hue is a delightful 2D puzzle platformer. Every puzzle in the game is solved by using colour, which is manipulated by using a device your mother created. She has gone missing, and it’s up to you to find her.
The most striking thing with Hue is obviously its art style. The manipulation of colour in the background is such a simple yet incredibly strong mechanic, and it leads to some genuinely head-scratching moments as you try and figure out which colour needs to be changed in the background to allow you to pass. Items within the world will be made of solid colours, which will block your path. If you change the background colour the same as the block in question, it disappears into the world behind you, and you can move through it as if it weren’t there. It sounds much more complex than it actually is, but there are some really neat twists involving moving blocks across each other to blend together and create other “new” colours (for example, pink and yellow will create red). There are unintentional elements of Limbo and Fez in both art style and gameplay, particularly with the lateral thinking required in solving a number of the puzzles.
Whilst an early build, my hands on time with Hue was one of the more endearing titles I’ve seen in quite a while. The art style is deceptively simple, with great use of negative space and detailing. It’s definitely one to watch, and with the promise of interesting boss battles and many more taxing puzzles to come, it should be a fantastic and taxing title when it releases.
Fiddlesticks Games are aiming to release Hue on PC and Consoles around March 2016, with iOS and Android versions potentially coming down the line as well.