So, when I was in college, my close friends in my suite were crazy, absolutely crazy, for *Tetris Attack*. If you’ve never played it, it’s a puzzle game that’s gone by a few other names ([*Pokémon Puzzle League*](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon_Puzzle_League) and [*Panel de Pon*](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panel_de_Pon), although they’re all lumped together as the [*Puzzle League* Series](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puzzle_League_(series)) on wikipedia). As a quick rundown of the game – you slide little tiles back and forth to create chains of three or more colored tiles. It’s kind of basic, in fact, most [popular](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bejeweled) [puzzle](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuzzle) [games](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoo_Keeper) are very similar, but the *Puzzle League* Games are the simplest of the bunch. I was never as good as my friends, who could create stupidly insane combos, utilizing the SNES slow-down to string together crazy multipliers. No, see, I am a platformin’, action kind of man. Which is why, when I heard about *Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure*, it was like someone told the games I played in college to make a dirty, wonderful baby. I have recently been playing it, and it’s really, really fun. “Hit the jump” for “more.”
So, as I mentioned, this is a game that takes the Puzzle League idea, and marries this concept to a kind of Warioland style platformer. In fact, that’s exactly it. Warioland 4 and Pokémon Puzzle Challenge. Together. On the top screen, you beat up enemies and scramble for jewels, and on the bottom screen you push blocks around to create chains.
If you want a better explanation, let me try this. In the accompanying screenshot, you can see our hero. Henry Hatsworth. He’s an old British explorer who is looking for some sort of all-golden suit to let him rule the world. He jumps around and shoots a blunderbuss and has a sweet cutlass. You use him to defeat enemies there in the “real world”. EA has given him a really wonderful voice that sounds like a stereotypical British man using nonsense syllables, all strung together. All the characters talk like this, including the very, very annoying sidekick, who will often finish his strings of little noises with “govna’!” It’s starts out funny, but gets a little tedious.
As you defeate enemies across the beat-em-up side scrolling levels, they die and their spirits move down to the lower level, onto the “puzzle world”. You can see them as the blocks with grimacing faces. Here’s where things get weird. As you progress through the real world, the puzzle world moves upward, slowly, since you’re also playing this Panel de Pon game down below. By pressing X, you switch focus down to the puzzle, and you can play that for a bit. Gameplay on the top screen freezes, and you try to clear away as much of the puzzle world as you can. If you clear a grimacing block, the enemy is gone for good. You have defeated its tormented spirit.
However, if you don’t, and the piece moves up to the top (like that skull block in the screenshot), it will return to the real world and you must fight it again. Does that makes sense? Here’s a [video of the game in action](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aK7Tqqvmkbw). Now, governing all of this action are those sliding bars on the side. To the left is the meter that determines how long you can stay in the puzzle realm. Defeat enemies to raise that meter. If it’s gone, you’re kicked back out into the real world. The right meter raises when you link together blocks. It allows for special attacks. If you link together enough blocks, and the meter is full, you gain access to “Tea Time,” where you walk around in a steam-powered punching robot.
Basically, the game boils down to some really fun platforming, where you keep scanning down to the puzzle to clear things away, gain access to power-ups, and make sure that enemies stay dead. It’s balanced really well, but I have a feeling that as the game progresses, it will get much harder. It’s got a very clever atmosphere, the visuals are pretty, and the music and “voices” are quite fun. I am really enjoying it, and I applaud EA for taking such a weird chance with a game like this. By all means, if you like platforming or puzzle games, this will whet your whistle. Your dhry whistle will get all whet.