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Headlander’s hugely charming, basically, and though it doesn’t run too far with the humour of its concept, it absolutely makes the gimmick work from a play point of view. It’s got more steam in its engine than other recent, similarly high-concept Double Fine endeavours too, working hard to stay vibrant throughout.
I loved my time with Headlander. It’s 70s sci-fi inspired aesthetic, tight Metroidvania gameplay and crazy “dock your head on other bodies” mechanics have been keeping me happy for a while. As I did my Headlander review I kept thinking about how varied Double Fine’s output is. The studio has given us adventure games, action games, Russian nestling dolls games, and games that are the most metal ever. I can’t wait to see what the studio does next, and I highly recommend that you give this one a go today.
Headlander is a great metroidvania whose retro-future style, humorous story, and tremendous exploration come together in one of the summer’s most complete experiences.
The moment you begin Headlander and see the VHS-style lines show up along with the formation of the old-school title with a blast of colors and a jaunty tune, you know you’re in for something good.
Headlander is a perfect storm of thought-provoking sci-fi, biting humor, and pitch-perfect gameplay that comes wrapped in a stylish, affordable package, and is one of this year’s very best.
Headlander is a Metroidvania style game that will not only take players on an out of body and world odyssey but it will serve as an example of the influence that science fiction of the 1970's has had on pop-culture.
It's a testament to the excellence of Headlander that it can only be faulted for its slight technical flaws. Everything about it is so finely tuned, from its gunplay to its platforming to its puzzles, and it doesn't just stay true to classic Metroidvanias – it also builds upon the foundations that they laid. The story is well told, the characters are entertaining, the environments are fleshed out, and the humour is as brilliant as always. Headlander's one of the best games that Double Fine has ever produced.
"yet another game that strengthens the standing of Double Fine as pioneers in eccentricity, one of the few developers respectfully willing to pay attention to their bizarre ideas"
Headlander is a unexpected but pleasant title that has rekindled my interest in 2D side-scrollers. The title is both familiar and wholly unique, and the main mechanic of Headlanding is entertaining and intuitive. A sleek and stylistic design matched with an incredible attention to detail more than make up for any frustrations with the game’s combat or puzzles.
I was immediately struck by how classically “Double Fine” this game’s design is. If you’re not familiar with what I mean, I weep for you, for you have clearly been asleep for the past ten years.
Headlander may be a mixed-bag, tonally speaking, but in terms of everything else there’s a clear sense of purpose and intuitiveness to it. From the level design, to the combat, to the puzzle solving, to the secrets, to the progression system and power-ups you can unlock. It’s probably be the best severed astronaut head game you’ll ever play.
Headlander doesn’t rise above the genre in every respect, but it honors it and enhances it through clever gameplay and inventive new mechanics. It succeeds because it adds a wonderful new spin to the action-adventure side-scroller while maintaining a distinct aesthetic and personality. It’s quirky and fun with a big dose of silly humor. Fans of the genre shouldn’t miss it.
For a certain nostalgic generation of gamer, it’s hard not to fall in love with Headlander’s retro futuristic stylings and the kind of “what if…” set up that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Terry Nation TV show or a film like Logan’s Run. The combat and and boss fights let it down, but this is an eminently enjoyable twist on the Metroidvania genre.
Double Fine was able to take a classic gaming genre and imbue new life into it with their trademark humor, and the resulting experience is solid. It could use some tweaks here and there, but fans of metroidvanias are sure to have a great time floating through the ridiculous world of Headlander.
Double Fine Productions has managed to craft an experience in Headlander that successfully combines the retro style of 1970's science fiction with excellent modern gaming trappings. Don't let the absurd premise sway you, there's more than just zaniness here.
Headlander had me hooked during my nine hours with it. The game oozes with charm through its off-the-wall and eccentric gameplay mechanics, and its humorous characters and fictional world. Though the checkpoint system may feel a little too ‘hardcore’ for some, and the game seems to struggle under the pressure of some of its more demanding moments, those who are after a Metroidvania-style side-scroller could do a lot worse than this.
We’re not exactly short of Metroid clones these days, but Headlander rises above the herd through a mix of its ingenious body-swapping game mechanics and its bonkers '70s retro sci-fi vibe. It’s great-looking, absorbing and genuinely funny, managing to imbue its robot cast with a real sense of character. And if it has sequences where its ideas fail to click, these aren’t that numerous or annoying. While it’s not quite up there with Psychonauts, Headlander is still one of Double Fine’s finest.
While the game does have a few slight irritations when it comes to its design, Headlander still manages to keep its head on its shoulders (or traveling through space via rocket propulsion) thanks to its eclectic blend of old-school, side-scrolling gameplay and its art direction that sci-fi fans will truly enjoy. Though it shares more similarities with the likes of Metroid, Logan’s Run, and so many of its other influences than it may for something completely new, Double Fine and Adult Swim Games have still managed to make Headlander into an experience that’s funny, delightfully weird, and might just make your head turn.
Headlander doesn't spend all of its time building a monument to Super Metroid, opting instead for a dangerous medley of absurdity that's nevertheless stable and, once you really start to look at it, kind of marvelous in its ability to stand upright and qualify as evidence of meaningful dissent.
Still for all the shortcomings addressed, Headlander is an enjoyable title. It doesn't take itself too seriously, as evident by all of the tongue and cheek humor, nor is it really difficult (Not completely anyway). As a Double Fine Productions game, It's right up there with some of their best, I just wish it was a tad longer and didn't spend too much time focus on slapstick comedy and included more gameplay content. For the asking price for $20, Headlander is a great choice for enjoying 8-10 hours of gaming fun. Perhaps the game would have been a tad better if it didn't stick too close to the tried and true Metroidvania gameplay and swam a bit more in the deep end. Still, at the end of the day, I enjoyed myself and I'm sure you will as well.
Headlander is a little action, a little puzzle, and a great time overall. At around 10 hours or so, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, and I think it’s perfectly balanced as a game to pick up for an hour of gradual progress after work or school a couple hours a day. It’s well-designed and has a clear purpose in mind.
While lackluster combat and simplistic puzzles would prove a damning criticism for most games of this type, Headlander’s tone and aesthetic is so fully-realized that the whole package manages to be a groovy, retro delight.
Overall, Headlander is the most fun I’ve had with a Double Fine game since the first time I played through Psychonauts. With gameplay revolving around an elegant, but surprisingly involved head landing mechanic, and audio and visual flair in spades, this is definitely something any video game fan should check out.
Headlander deftly delivers a smart story via a constant stream of varied, original ideas, to ensure a journey that feels remarkably vibrant and fresh from start to finish. Crammed full of Double Fine's trademark humour, and loaded to the brim with references to classic sci-fi, it pays loving homage to that corny, yet fun, era of film and television, that often gets overlooked in the age of the green screen and digital effect.
Headlander probably won't be the best "Metroidvania" everyone has ever played, but it is one of the most unique. Its overuse of door-based progression is unfortunate, but is more than made up for by a plethora of inventive scenarios. This is all backed by solid controls and combat mechanics, which is always appreciated. The visual and sound design is reason enough to convince players not to quit until they've finished the game. The way everything comes together makes for an unparalleled sci-fi experience.
In the end, Headlander is a very good adventure game for fans of the Metroidvania blueprint. The gimmicks that come from a flying head are used well, and the idea never feels tired. The action in firefights is good, and the number of areas and slightly hidden passageways in the world makes exploration equally worthwhile. It does feel like a drag whenever you have to perform the same action multiple times in different parts of a level, but the game is short enough that the padding doesn't feel too bad. Overall, genre fans will have a great time with Headlander.
Headlander is a lightweight Metroidvania. Aim problems are annoying at some points, but they do not take away the fun, and the main mechanics of owning the bodies with the helmet generate as many intense battles as moderately well-thought-out puzzles. Although the story itself is not the main highlight of the title, it certainly was a joy to experience because of the comical dialogues of the characters that interact with the protagonist. Going through rooms such as the "High Five Lounge" or "Rings of UrAnus" translate the light spirit of this adventure with incredible ''retro-futuristic'' visuals.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
Headlander continues to demonstrate that simplicity isn’t necessarily a bad thing with its upgrade system. While most games in the genre have you picking up dozens of different powers to get to new areas, Headlander only has a few, making many areas accessible early and eliminating the need for lots of backtracking.
By narrowing their focus, Double Fine have crafted probably their most cohesive and mechanically sound game to date, one that takes its gimmicky concept and executes it to perfection.
Headlander it an outstanding game artistically speaking, gameplay-wise its really fun and even though it's story is lost midway through, it's not something that hurts the game at all. The difficulty scales linearly as the game progresses, finding more powerful enemies as we advance, enemies which in turn we can posses, making it all beautifully balanced. Some gameplay mechanics fall short as they are not used enough, however the game is enjoyable from beginning to end. This is why i absolutely recommend this game, it's a fun experience all the way through, although clocking at around six hours, it left me wanting for more.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
Headlander has a few faults, but when getting into a flow of this style of game, it turns out to be a pretty well made Metroidvania game. Filling out the map is addicting, and seeing a room I can’t enter without having a certain body usually always had me backtracking to see what exactly was in it.
Headlander is a unique take on a familiar genre, and one that works thanks to its design. The humor is classic Double Fine, and even a bit dark at times, but it succeeds in what it sets out to do. The progression is great, and the challenge is there, but never unfair. For those that missed this game on PC or PS4, now is the time to dive in. This is one trip worth taking.
Headlander also has an extensive upgrade system for your helmet, but I found myself only making use of a small percentage of them, but this might act as the perfect example for the game itself: a ton of great ideas without fully making use of all of them.
Headlander is an okay game made much better by a suitably daft concept, and the way it’s presented. It’s an amusing take on the Metroidvania-style genre that adds little new mechanically.
Headlander injects new ideas into a familiar genre and does it brilliantly. While the story might be unsatisfying and the gameplay gets repetitive, the balance between combat and puzzles is so good that'll keep you coming back for more.
Review in Persian | Read full review
It’s not that I think Headlander is a bad game — quite the opposite. It’s just that I want Headlander to realize its potential — to be so much more than what it is.
Headlander proves to be a nice distraction in the midst of the Summer drought season as I enjoyed its humor from start to finish. While its humor helped carry me to the end, the literal disconnect of the character's head from his body turned into a figurative disconnect as its story wasn’t engaging enough. It has some nice Metroidvania moments, although it sputters towards the end to only rely on its color-coded components to keep me out of certain areas, which felt like a cheap way to finish the game.
Headlander is a game that will attracts you from the first moment by it has a perfect retrofuturistic setting. The idea is very original, and the soundtrack it’s just fantastic, however, not everything is good and the difficulty levels and combat system can be very improvable.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
There are attempts at switching up the formula, but these are brief departures. Like the combat, it feels like the game’s story, outside of gags, also has nothing to say. Headlander filters transhumanism through a comedy lens, but it never provokes thought. Considering you’re all head, you’d think there would be more brains.
Headlander isn’t a lost cause, yet Double Fine should have done a couple more reinventions on the drawing board before they let this one loose. The main idea is intriguing and might convince some dedicated players to go all the way through, but to anyone else it will be a drag with some laughter, but mostly tedium.
Without those lackluster diversions, it would be an amicable trifle. Even at its best, the game feels like an idea gestating in real-time, like a sponge dinosaur filling up with water. So much of Headlander teases you with the idea of what could have been; a shame, because the game we actually got is kind of a bummer.