Artist Sarumaru’s mixed-media story project Henshin Engine is moving from static comic pages to a full 2D action platformer. Henshin Engine: The Game is planned to release in March of 2017 for the PC-Engine/Turbo Grafx-16 console and PC CD-ROM/Steam. Developed with classic gaming hardware, it promises a truly retro experience.

The story follows a young woman, Yuki Shirokawa, as she begins an apprenticeship at game developer Jipang Electronics Corporation (JEC). Yuki is a hardcore gamer who is thrilled to be able to test games for the company that produced her favorite console, the FX-Engine.

Henshin Engine

She ends up discovering some new technology being developed by JEC that actually transports her into the games she loves. It’s a simple story that sets the right tone for an quick paced platformer.

Currently there are two volumes of the web comic published on the Henshin Engine Committee website. They give a quick introduction to the characters and circumstances that lead to Yuki’s adventures. Henshin Engine: The Game will pick up where the story from the comic leaves off and travel across 8 stages of gameplay.


The project is seeking $16,400 on Kickstarter with about 2 weeks left to hit its goal. Be forewarned, the trailer for the Kickstarter campaign leads off with Yuki speaking, which made me very glad the actual game relies on text instead of voice-over. Fortunately, you can just watch the introduction trailer below, which fills in the game’s story instead.

In the recent rush of retro-inspired projects hitting Kickstarter, Henshin Engine is graphically one of my favorites. The visuals are squeaky clean and the action moves at a quick, fluid pace. There is a 3-stage demo currently available to download for the PC Engine or TurboGrafx-16 consoles. Not retro-devoted enough to own a PC Engine/TuboGrafx 16?  You can download Magic Engine for your PC emulation needs and try the demo that way.

Joanna Mueller

Joanna Mueller

Editor-in-Chief at Cliqist: Indie Gaming
Joanna Mueller is a lifelong gamer who used to insist on having the Super Mario Bros manual read to her as a bedtime story. Now she's reading Fortnite books to her own kiddo while finally making use of her degree to write about games as Cliqist's EIC.
Joanna Mueller


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Joanna Mueller