The Henry Stickmin Collection

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Developer(s)PuffballsUnited
Publisher(s)Innersloth
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Programmer(s)ForteBass
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Platform(s)
ReleaseAugust 7, 2020
Genre(s)Choose-Your-Own-Path
Mode(s)Single-player
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The Henry Stickmin Collection, also referred to as the Henry Stickmin series before the release of Collection, is a point-and-click choose your own adventure-game created by PuffballsUnited with additional programming done by ForteBass.[1]

The game centers on a fictional stick figure named Henry Stickmin, who starts the series off as a criminal who attempts various get-rich-quick schemes, but gradually finds himself getting involved with a large criminal organisation and a globe-spanning conspiracy. The ending of the story depends on the choices the player makes throughout the game with the options both during and near the end taking the story into wildly different directions.[2] When asked about the "true ending", Marcus Bromander has stated that all endings are canon[3], as picking one true ending would defeat the purpose of having a choose-your-own-adventure game.

The game is an anthology collection, containing the first five Henry Stickmin games originally released as free-to-play, browser-based games on Stickpage and Newgrounds. The final chapter, Completing the Mission was developed specifically for the collection. All previously released games were remastered through Adobe Flash specifically for the Henry Stickmin Collection.[2]

Gameplay[edit]

Players go through a total of six episodes, five of which had previously been published as standalone games; Prologue (Breaking the Bank), Episode 1 (Escaping the Prison), Episode 2 (Stealing the Diamond), Episode 3 (Infiltrating the Airship), Episode 4 (Fleeing the Complex), and Episode 5 (Completing the Mission).

The game centers on Henry Stickmin, a fictional character that performs various actions depending on the choices the player makes. Players are given a minimum of two options; depending on the one they pick, Henry will either succeed and continue the story, or fail, in which case the player is presented with a unique animation, usually accompanied by some joke or commentary on the choice made. Players aren't punished for failing a scenario; they are given infinite re-dos while a "total fail count," and a "unique fail count," keep score of how many times they player has "failed" and how many unique fails there are in the episode, encouraging the player to seek out all of the possible fails in the game.

The player can also click at characters to collect their "Bios", which can be viewed by clicking on the bio option. They provide information and background on the character the bio is on. Every character has different bios if they appear in more than one mission. They are exclusive to Collection.[4]

Sometimes, there will be a scenario in which there is more than one choice that is correct, or where the choices are on a timer. Similarly, there are even rarer occasions where there isn't a correct choice at all.

Because Infiltrating the Airship and Fleeing the Complex both have endings that are dependent on player choice, when starting Completing the Mission, the player must pick one ending each, generating a unique story and perspective for the final episode.

Plot and development[edit]

Crossing the Pit[edit]

Crossing the Pit is a 2007 interactive animation created by PuffballsUnited. While not officially a Henry Stickmin game, and it is not included in The Henry Stickmin Collection (apart from the same eight options appearing in a route in Completing the Mission), the animation served as a proof of concept for the games to follow. In Crossing the Pit, an unnamed stick figure attempts to cross a pit, and is offered eight different methods in which to do so. The player interacts with the animation by selecting an option, and watching the resulting animation. Unlike the Henry Stickmin games, none of the options result in success.[5]

Breaking the Bank[edit]

Breaking the Bank is a 2008 point-and-click adventure game developed by PuffballsUnited. In The Henry Stickmin Collection, it serves as the game's Prologue. Similar to Crossing the Pit, Henry Stickmin has only one objective, breaking into the bank's vault, and he is only served with one series of options. Unlike Crossing the Pit however, there is a correct option, in which Henry sneaks into a decoy money bag and is tossed into the back of a armored cash transport car and delivered inside the vault. Inside, he escapes the bag, but triggers a laser tripwire, getting caught.[6]

On April 25, 2009, Breaking the Bank was featured on the Newgrounds home page. [6]

Escaping the Prison[edit]

Escaping the Prison is a 2010 point-and-click adventure game developed by PuffballsUnited. In The Henry Stickmin Collection, it serves as the game's Episode 1. Unlike the Breaking the Bank, the story is massively expanded, with multiple choices in succession. This would become the series' standard.

After the events of Breaking the Bank, Henry Stickmin is imprisoned and has to escape. The game offers multiple branching paths and endings, such as sneaking his way out, calling lawyer Felix White for an appeal, and forcefully breaking his way out.

Stealing the Diamond[edit]

Stealing the Diamond is a 2011 point-and-click adventure game developed by PuffballsUnited. In The Henry Stickmin Collection, it serves as the game's Episode 2. Similar to Breaking the Bank, Henry Stickmin decides to rob a museum of a massive Tunisian diamond. He can do this by either sneaking into the museum and stealing it silently, causing chaos to the point of intervention by the Center for Chaos Containment (a new faction), or by ensuing in a massive police chase.

Infiltrating the Airship[edit]

Infiltrating the Airship is a 2013 point-and-click adventure game developed by PuffballsUnited. In The Henry Stickmin Collection, it serves as the game's Episode 3. In the game, Henry Stickmin is approached by the Government, a faction that wants Henry to investigate the Toppat Clan, a criminal organization that operates out of a large red airship, and find evidence that will allow the Government to bring charges against them. Unlike the previous games, in Infiltrating the Airship, the player can decide who they pledge their loyalty to. The player can align Henry with the Government or the Toppat Clan (or neither, either by acting as a bounty hunter somewhat loyal to the Government or only looking out for himself as a top-tier thief and stealing a ruby from the Toppats).

Fleeing the Complex[edit]

Fleeing the Complex (stylized as Fleeing the COMPLΣX) is a 2015 point-and-click adventure game developed by PuffballsUnited. In The Henry Stickmin Collection, it serves as the game's Episode 4. It follows in the same development path as Infiltrating the Airship, granting the player multiple options and paths with which to escape a maximum-security black site prison called The Wall. The game introduces the character Ellie Rose, who can appear in some paths of Completing the Mission. The game offers Henry the option to be rescued by either the Government or the Toppat Clan, retroactively deciding which continuity this game is set in. If the player chooses to ask the Toppat Clan for help, Henry will be betrayed by Reginald Copperbottom, the leader of the Toppats, who Henry had previously deposed, and dropped into the ocean. If the player chooses to ask the Government for help, Henry will be picked up and delivered to the jungle, where the events of Completing the Mission are teased. Henry also has the option to escape with Ellie (either together or by leaving her behind), as well as escaping without meeting Ellie and faking his death.

The Henry Stickmin Collection and Completing the Mission[edit]

Marcus Bromander announced the development of the game on Newgrounds in January 2017. He established the basic plan of the game and announced that it would be the final entry of the series.[7] For the collection, he announced that the first game would be completely remade, and that the other games would feature remastered animation and audio. Alongside this, he posted a screenshot of the starting screen of Breaking the Bank in an all new, remastered format.[8] As time passed, Marcus would continue updating his fans on Newgrounds, YouTube, and Twitter, including screenshots and videos of more detailed artwork for the game, and new details on the final game of the series, Completing the Mission. Originally scheduled for release sometime in 2019, the game was delayed due to the amount of work Bromander had to do in order to finish the game.[9]

Release[edit]

The teaser trailer for the game was released on Puffballs United's YouTube channel in Summer 2019 and its final release date was announced in May 2020. From then on there were many other teaser videos, mostly about the visual improvements of the remakes. The game was released on Steam for PC and MacOS on August 7, 2020.[10][11] . A mobile port is planned, but development for it has been delayed due to the sudden success of Among Us. Bromander has stated that the game will not come to consoles, as this type of gameplay does not work with controllers, nor will he release any more content involving Henry after the release of The Henry Stickmin Collection.

Reception[edit]

The game received a 9.3/10 rating based on 50 user reviews on Metacritic,[12] and a 10/10 user rating on the Steam gaming platform.[10] In a review of The Henry Stickmin Collection on GameCrate, it was highlighted as the "indie game of the month".[13] The gaming website Gamasutra classed it among "popular new Steam games".[14] PC Gamer wrote in its review of the collection, "these are widely beloved games ... that are definitely worth further investigation."[15] Twinfinite wrote, "Newgrounds is home to some of the most iconic internet content of the early 2000s. And thanks to developer PuffballsUnited, a whole new generation can experience a taste of that era with Henry Stickmin."[16] The series became popular enough to inspire a Henry Stickmin themed new stage in the game, Among Us, another game published by the same developer InnerSloth.[17][18][19] EuroGamer observed the release of The Henry Stickmin Collection increased visibility for the game developer, InnerSloth.[20] In a review of the games, YouTuber Markiplier, who uploaded a two part playthrough of the game on YouTube, called The Henry Stickmin Collection, "really fun games with lots of laughs".[21] After completing the entire sequence within the games, Markiplier concluded, "The Henry Stickmin Collection comes to an end with the last fails, the last funny scenes, and the secret ending! What an incredible, hilarious game!"[22]

Legacy[edit]

During his Let's Play of Completing the Mission, Markiplier mentions Stealing the Diamond as a source of inspiration for A Heist with Markiplier.[21] One of Henry Stickmin's "fail" endings was used in In Space with Markiplier.[23]

Henry is included as a background character in week 5 of the rythm game Friday Night Funkin'.

A fangame called Attacking the Tower was announced on August 7, 2021, and is set to be released in 2022. It's a non-canonical "betweenquel" of Stealing the Diamond and Infiltrating the Airship, the trailer of which has accumulated almost 1.8 million views on Youtube.[24]

References[edit]

  1. "'Among Us' content update: Henry Stickmin-themed new stage, location is in the works as InnerSloth cancels sequel plans", EconoTimes, September 25, 2020, retrieved October 3, 2020
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lugris, Mark (September 9, 2020), "InnerSloth's Party Game Among Us Reaches 1.5 Million Simultaneous Players", TheGamer, retrieved October 3, 2020
  3. "Puff on Twitter", Twitter, August 20, 2020, retrieved March 26, 2022
  4. "Bios | Henry Stickmin Wiki | Fandom". henrystickmin.fandom.com. Retrieved 2021-07-15.
  5. "Crossing the Pit". Newgrounds. Newgrounds, Inc. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Breaking the bank". Newgrounds. Newgrounds, Inc. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  7. "Henry the 6th". Newgrounds.com. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  8. "Breaking the Bank's 10th Anniversary!". Newgrounds.com. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  9. "PuffballsUnited's News". Newgrounds.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "The Henry Stickmin Collection on Steam". store.steampowered.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  11. MacGregor, India (August 21, 2020), "The Henry Stickmin Collection: Every Plushies Location (& What They're For)", Screen Rant, retrieved October 3, 2020
  12. "The Henry Stickmin Collection". Metacritic. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  13. D'Argenio, Angelo M. (September 21, 2020), "Indie Games of the Month - Three Classic Flash-Based Games get the Remaster Treatment", GameCrate, retrieved October 3, 2020
  14. Carless, Simon (August 10, 2020), "Why are you making your game's store page unattractive?", Gamasutra, retrieved October 3, 2020
  15. Prescott, Shaun (August 10, 2020), "Five new Steam games you probably missed", PC Gamer, retrieved October 3, 2020
  16. Banat, Omar, "Henry Stickmin: How to Get All Medals in Fleeing the Complex", Twinfinite, retrieved October 3, 2020
  17. Taery, Divya (October 1, 2020), "There won't be an 'Among Us 2' but don't worry, it's for the best", Mashable SE Asia, retrieved October 3, 2020
  18. Smith, Callum (September 25, 2020), "Why is Among Us 2 Cancelled? InnerSloth Are Creating Henry Stickmin Stage", HITC, retrieved October 4, 2020
  19. James, Hanna (September 24, 2020), "Among Us Not Getting a Sequel is GREAT News - Here's Why", CBR, retrieved October 4, 2020
  20. Kent, Emma (September 24, 2020), "Among Us 2 cancelled as devs focus on original title", EuroGamer, retrieved October 3, 2020
  21. 21.0 21.1 Fischbach, Mark Edward "Markiplier" (August 8, 2020), "MISSION UN-POSSIBLE (i missed this...) -- Completing the Mission", YouTube, retrieved October 5, 2020
  22. Fischbach, Mark Edward "Markiplier" (August 14, 2020), "Henry Stickmin: Completing the Mission (THE END)", YouTube, retrieved October 5, 2020
  23. "Call for Backup", Youtube, March 18, 2022, retrieved April 9, 2022
  24. Strobe Interactive (August 7, 2021), "Attacking the Tower - Official Gameplay Trailer", Youtube, retrieved March 3, 2022


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