Visual Novels often play things a little too dramatic and emotionally for their own good so when one popped up that is a comedy action novel, my ears pricked. Welcome to Henchman Story. You are the lowest of the low in the superhero world – a henchman who is barely acknowledged at all. However, depending on how you play and the choices you make, you can stay at the bottom rung, leave all together or decide to join the forces of good or evil at the top of the tree.
First things first, the visuals here are great. The game is like a comic book brought to life. Whilst some of the poses, spaces and actions are repeated over and over a little too much, what’s here is great and high fidelity. Alongside that, Henchman Story is fully voice acted. The cast do a fantastic job – including you. For once in a visual novel, you aren’t mute. Your sarcastic voice makes a huge impact and whilst you control the choices, the voice acting gives it sass. This sass, sarcasm and pop culture reference filled script shines from beginning to end. Its a quite specific style of comedy – you’ll need to have some superhero knowledge to really get most of the jokes – but largely sarcasm and irony are the leads here.
Across the game you can earn 11 endings and they usually are wildly different. You can choose to leave the henchman life altogether, stay in the lower ranks or side with one of the leads. In the baddie corner with Madame Scorpion who is the big hotshot in villainy. She’s even developed an app like a taskbunny for henchmen! There’s the bumbling Lord Bedlam too who talks and acts like he is straight out of a mid 90’s cartoon. He is the best character in the game but also a total bumbling mess. You can also decide to double-cross the villains for treating you like dirt and go to the good side too. A few of the endings have some variants of your relationships with these characters but you’ll happily replay the game several times to get the main runs. Auto play and skip are included in the game and 9 save slots can be used to cut down replayability with tactical saving.
Overall, Henchman Story was just pure fun. I enjoy sarcastic, witty humour that throws a few pop culture references in and that’s exactly what this visual novel excels in. A run-through will take about 6-8 hours if you are listening to the voice acting each time so you’ll get your money’s worth too. A very pleasant surprise.
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