First things first, Henchman Story isn’t the typical game that lets you directly control your character. This is due to Henchman Story being a text-based adventure or a visual novel. For a bit of context to those unfamiliar, text-based adventure is similar to an interactive movie. But in this case, an interactive story book. Now, many might be put off by the type of “game” that Henchman Story is due to it being an interactive digibook than a game. However, beneath it is a fun narrative which is a throwback to the 90’s style of comics and narrative.
To start off, let’s talk about the premise of Henchman Story. The game let us delve deep into the lives of goons on both comics, superhero shows/movies and games that heroes simply beat up and move on. It lets you explore the day to day life and routine of what it is like to be in their shoes. Okay maybe not precisely be in one, but somehow it still let us explore their side of the story even if it is rather a comically exaggerated way of doing so. This is a unique perspective where you are not the chosen savior or in some cases the destroyer of society.
The story follows the story of Stan, our protagonist that works for his almighty Bedlam. As expected from the title of the story, he is a mere bottom ranked goon. A cannon fodder in his boss’s plans. And he self describes as someone who just clocks in and clocks out kind of guy that isn’t interested in utter devotion to his boss. Things take a turn when Bedlam takes on a new partnership with a mysterious villainess named Scorpion. With this partnership, Stan is soon caught in the ever growing change in his line of work. What would he do to stand out amongst his co-workers? Let alone survive in a world where life seems to only favor that of those with either super powers or the money to make even Bill Gates look poor.
For its art style, it adheres to the comic book aesthetic that it marketed. Every characters shown is beautifully drawn and even give an appropriate expression based on their dialogue. Other than the artwork, many of the characters can be also considered a blend of real world or at least mainstream heroes that we also adore. And this isn’t just their story but also their about their life’s work.
Now, while it is fairly enjoyable, Henchman Story isn’t an interactive story without any short comings. The experience you will have playing the game falls short with that of the expectation of players. For one, the story is quite short even if you are a completionist. One of the things about the experience in playing the game is that it lacks an exploration of the world. Once you are in the story, the only option is to go forward. I know filler isn’t everyone’s top pick for any media but for fleshing out the world, sometimes this is warranted.
Another thing I would like to point out is that while styled as a bit of comic book and drawn like one, can you imagine getting rid of dialogue bubbles? Precisely. One of the things that could make Henchman Story a stand out is not implemented. Neither is the equally iconic “Bam! Pow! Kaput!” on every action or hit you receive or take. Which is again, a let down considering this is a comic book inspired game. Also for some reason, they didn’t bother giving other characters a model. Personally that kinda breaks the experience. And lastly, the monologue has no voiced option. This personally makes things a bit hard when you want to hear the dialogue rather than read it.
Overall, while enjoyable, and quite decent, somehow the story and lack of dialogue bubble makes the overall experience feel short. I know this is more on a personal nitpicking but in all honesty, being a comic-themed game it isn’t complete without those. Ignoring those, the story makes up for it that because it actually allows you to make choices that provide different outcomes. Thus, you feel that every decision you make actually matters.
Henchman Story – Review
It’s a good game, but the bad may be harder to ignore than usual.
Comic book aesthetic that is nicely done and which blends both modern and retro art style of comics
Choices that really makes a difference, that offers different outcome