Demo Review: Henchman Story

VN Game Den received a request from the developer to review the demo of Henchman Story.

We’re all familiar with supervillains’ henchmen. They’re the ones who exist to be knocked around by the superhero before the supervillain takes center stage. Henchman Story, an upcoming visual novel currently seeking funds through a Kickstarter campaign, puts you in the shoes of one of those hapless henchmen. That’s right, the star of this visual novel isn’t a superhero or supervillain, but an ordinary guy named Stan who works for the overbearing, somewhat bumbling, and strangely lovable supervillain Lord Bedlam.

Henchman Story is intended to be a satire of superhero stories, and it does a great job of setting up its premise. The start of the story perfectly conveys the idea that being a supervillain’s henchman is pretty much like any other job, just one that involves helping out with villainous activities (although as villains go, Lord Bedlam doesn’t set his sights too high). While Lord Bedlam and the superheroes who appear in the demo are exaggerated and dramatic, Stan comes across as completely ordinary…because he is.

From time to time, you’re presented with choices to make. In the final game, these choices should influence story outcomes, different endings, and even romance options. These effects aren’t readily apparent in the demo, but I did encounter occasional choices where the game let me know (through a notification in the corner of the screen) that my choice had an impact.

Satire can be tricky to do well, but Henchman Story has the potential to be a very funny visual novel. Several points in the demo made me laugh, whether it was dealing with Dave—Stan’s supervisor who is overly enthusiastic about his job—or just listening to Lord Bedlam deliver a bizarre speech that Stan acknowledges doesn’t really mean much of anything but is meant to boost morale.

That’s not to say there won’t be a serious story here as well. The demo is pretty much a slice-of-life look at the job of a supervillain’s henchman, but it ends with an interesting development that left me curious to see what would happen next. Whether it ends up having a serious story or something more lighthearted, it definitely has the tone that it’s aiming for—a parody of superhero stories from a henchman’s point-of-view.

The aesthetic is also fantastic. Everything, from the style of the dialogue boxes, to the way the story is divided into “Issues,” to even the save slots, is designed to make you feel like you’re reading a comic book. The demo’s partial voice acting is also pretty good, and full voice acting is planned for the final product. Overall, the demo for Henchman Story was an entertaining read, and it should prove to be a humorous twist on superhero stories when the full visual novel is complete.

You can download the free demo for Henchman Story from itch.io or check out the Kickstarter campaign.