Besides Roguelike titles, it seems the next biggest game genre to grow in popularity over the last few years is the visual novel. With little input by the player, these games are all about the story as opposed to the gameplay. Thankfully, Henchman Story emphasizes humor and is written with care. Even if you hate visual novels or never played one before, this is probably as good of an entry point as you can find.
Essentially mocking the entirety of super hero/super villain stereotypes, Henchman Story reminds me of something you would find on Adult Swim. Lead by characters who are placed in stupid situations that are never taken seriously, the ridiculous dialog and plot points are dumb by design. The result is something just as stupidly humorous as the narrative suggests, all of which is amplified by the intentionally over-acted voice overs.
Whether it is the aloof main villain Lord Bedlam, the main henchman Stan, or any of the other airheaded personalities, each encounter can a produce a laugh. At times, the player will be presented with choices that will directly change the outcome, essentially making the game a choose-your-own-adventure. These branching paths will yield different results so there is some replay value, many of which are tied to earning all the game’s Achievements.
There is no animation, as characters are portrayed as still images but with varying facial poses, but that is ok because I think it actually adds to the humor. The cartoon approach feels like watching a late night show on the Cartoon Network, which is simple yet appreciated. It would have been nice if there was additional variety in the background art but doesn’t take away anything major from the experience. This was a Kickstarter game after all and only had so much money to fund the project. Although every line of dialog isn’t voiced, the voice cast is stellar and only adds to the experience. In fact, if there was no voice acting, this would be an entirely different experience altogether. I am sure most of that Kickstater money went into the voice work.
Being honest, I am not a big fan of visual novels as I prefer more game in my games, but the humor level is so well done, I enjoyed my time with this satirical narrative. At the same time, players can literally mash the A button without reading a single word of text and still be able to earn Achievements, and this fact alone might be enough to tempt Gamerscore hunters. There is a lot of reading, sure, but is a nice alternative to visiting your local library.
Not As Good As: watching Rick and Morty
Has More Humor Than: most other games
Wait For It: that next Batman movie starring that vampire
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
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