Laughing with rednecks's always been top entertainment. Now, with Bernard & Hank, it gets a whole new meaning. In this gorgeous game, you play as both Bernard and Hank, two redneckish farmers that try to save their farm.
One sunny day, NationalLiberal walks into his office, laughing like a maniac and sends out his minions. Back at Bernard Buffalo's farm, Bernard and his retired friend, Hank Hoedown go about their business, until they meet one of NationalLiberal's minions and hear how they plan to put a factory farm on his ground. Infuriated, Bernard tries to chase the minions off of his property, but it's already too late: Another one of the minions stole the deed to his farm. It's now up to Bernard and his buddy Hank to hunt down the deed and put a stop to this, so they can go about their normal lives again.
This all takes place in a brightly coloured world. Everything's carefully and beautifully pixelated, making it look like an old, 16bit platformer. There's even depth in the backgrounds, as behind the background, there're often other backgrounds moving about, like agricultural machines driving around or a boat sailing by. These'll make you forget 'bout the game, having your jaw drop in amazement.
The music's always the same theme. It's something of a Southern-ish song, but each time performed in such a way that it fits the location perfect. Even though some of these songs fit tropical islands' beaches, amazingly enough, they'll still fit the main redneckish theme as well and are pleasant to listen to. Personally, I like to boot the game up from time to time, go to the soundtest in the Extras part and just listen to the songs one by one.
Gameplay couldn't be simpler. It's a platform game without any puzzles or wits. Avoid the bad guys or kill them by shooting or stomping them, collect goodies for extra lives and refilling your health while using moving platforms and avoiding pits to reach the end of the level. After five levels, you'll switch from Bernard to Hank, playing as him up to the boss of that world. After defeating him, you'll always get into a vehicle and have to drive to the next world. Be it in a tractor, a minivan or another vehicle, it'll be able to jump over gaps, walls and bikers while Hank sits behind to shoot at those that get nearby. These levels might be the hardest ones in the game.
Controls're easy enough, too. You just press the cursors left and right to move, shift to jump and ctrl to shoot. If you don't like these controls, you still have the possibility to reconfigure them to your likings. You can also configure the game's windowed mode's size or to go fullscreen, at that.
After finishing some levels, you'll unlock the soundtest mode or a minigame in the Extras part. These minigames can be played against a friend and consist out of collecting more coins than your opponent in a maze, a tractor race and Pong with flying liberal minions.
This game only has two downparts. One's that I've gotten stuck now and then when falling too close to a wall, ending up a bit in the ground, not being able to move anymore (Press R to restart the level when this happens), the other is that you have to finish five levels before the game's saved, which can be a bit long from time to time, as some levels tend to be pretty hard or of quite a length. On the other hand, the level design's perfectly done, making sure the difficulty level increases at a fair pace while keeping the fun in the game.
For all those people that love a good game that doesn't require any brainwork, but is just made to sit back, throwing off your troubles and relaxing with a game, this game calls out to them.
Review by: Raf