Headlander21 Aug, 2016
So here's a game… Here's a game, indeed. I don't really know what to think about Headlander, other than I'm sure it'll have its fans, and I'm not one of them. I don't dislike it—it's enjoyable in many ways—but after any 20 minute stint, I usually just want to go do something else. Not the highest of praise, I know.
Headlander, I have been told, is a Metroidvania-style game, which the internet explains to be a "a subgenre of the action-adventure video game with gameplay concepts similar to the Metroid series and the Castlevania series". That meant nothing to me, though apparently the 80s classic Bruce Lee is considered one, and as I quite liked it when I was 8, I'll just go with it.
The gameplay is in essence simple—just fly around flick-screen levels with a head that can take over new bodies by landing on them—hence the name—and solve real-time puzzles, platform style. Just like any respectable Metroidvania game. (I think.)
OK, I'm getting super snarky here, and that's unfair. For what it is, Headlander is really well executed, and I'm sure fans of it are cussing me out right now. (If any of them actually read this.) It's just not my kind of gameplay, but the presentation really is quite stellar. Think 8-track, 1970s, dystopian, sci-fi campiness and that is exactly what you'll get.
And hell, the puzzles themselves are well designed. Hard, sure, but never unfair.
This leaves me yet again wanting to play it, yet I know I'll end up in the same spot as I always do: 20 minutes of dodging lasers and changing bodies, and I'm done. It's just not that much fun.
Is there anything wrong with that, though? Maybe not—this might just be the perfect 20-minute-waster you'll find. Try for yourself. If nothing else the game is worth the buy for any Double Fine fan.