Percentile Rank

Headlander is ranked in the 66th percentile of games scored on OpenCritic.

Rating Summary

Based on 69 critic reviews
Strong Man

OpenCritic Rating

76

Top Critic Average

63%

Critics Recommend

Based on 69 critic reviews

Score Distribution

Unscored Reviews

ACG
Buy
ACG

Top Critic

Buy
Jul 25, 2016
Headlander Review "Buy, Wait for Sale, Rent, Never Touch?" video thumbnail
The A.V. Club
Unscored
Unscored
Jul 25, 2016

Headlander’s vibrant sci-fi trappings can’t make up for dim execution

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Washington Post
Unscored
Unscored
Jul 26, 2016

[A]ll told, “Headlander” left me in a mellow state with few regrets over the three days that I spent with it.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Unscored
Unscored
Jul 29, 2016

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.

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Dragnix
Liked
Liked
Aug 11, 2016
Gettting A-head video thumbnail
VGChartz
Unscored
Unscored
Jul 31, 2016

Headlander is neither Double Fine's best game nor its most ambitious. Yet it's a solid, quirky, funny, and bold experiment in a genre new to the developer.

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GameZone
Unscored
Unscored
Aug 26, 2016

Headlander is worth the price of admission, just be warned that its combat can lead to a fair share of frustration.

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Eurogamer
No Recommendation / Blank
No Recommendation / Blank
Jul 25, 2016

Double Fine's head-spinning sci-fi puzzler has plenty of style but not enough substance to sustain its lengthy adventure.

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Scored Reviews

PS3Blog.net
92%
92%
Sep 28, 2016

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.

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Play Some Video Games
90 / 100
90 / 100
Aug 4, 2016

Headlander is one of my favorite games of the year. It is beautiful, plays fluidly, has an interesting story, rewards exploration and is just plain fun.

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Hardcore Gamer
4.5 / 5.0
4.5 / 5.0
Jul 26, 2016

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.

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EGM
9 / 10.0
Ray Carsillo

Top Critic

9 / 10.0
Jul 27, 2016

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.

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MonsterVine
4.5 / 5.0
4.5 / 5.0
Aug 22, 2016

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.

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Push Square
9 / 10
9 / 10
Jul 29, 2016

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.

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God is a Geek
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Jul 25, 2016

An excellent side-scrolling Metroidvania game, with nostalgic undertones and great gameplay, helping it thrive in its science fiction paradise.

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PushStartPlay
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Aug 12, 2016

"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"

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GameSkinny
Aug 3, 2016

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.

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CGMagazine
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Jul 29, 2016

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.

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Marooners' Rock
8.8 / 10.0
8.8 / 10.0
Jul 27, 2016

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.

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AusGamers
8.4 / 10.0
8.4 / 10.0
Aug 8, 2016

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.

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Bit Cultures
81%
81%
Aug 16, 2016

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.

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Reloading BR
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Jul 25, 2016

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

GameSpot
8 / 10
8 / 10
Jul 25, 2016

Headlander's weird world overflows with color, power-ups, and personality.

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Game Rant
Jul 26, 2016

Headlander from Double Fine Productions is a fun, quirky science-fiction Metroidvania game with engaging puzzles, strong exploration elements, and flying heads.

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Video Chums
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Aug 8, 2016

Headlander may not be perfect, but I'll be darned if it isn't one of the most enjoyable games of the year so far.

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We Got This Covered
Jul 25, 2016

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.

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Attack of the Fanboy
Jul 25, 2016

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.

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GamesRadar+
Jul 25, 2016

Headlander has a few rough spots, but its 70s retro/sci-fi aesthetic and head-swapping gameplay are out of this world.

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Paste Magazine
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Jul 29, 2016

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.

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TheSixthAxis
8 / 10
8 / 10
Aug 1, 2016

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.

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GameWatcher
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Jul 25, 2016

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.

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The Outerhaven Productions
Aug 4, 2016

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.

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Checkpoint
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Aug 18, 2016

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

Player.One
Jul 25, 2016

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.

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Twinfinite
4 / 5.0
4 / 5.0
Jul 25, 2016

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.

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Digital Chumps
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Jul 31, 2016

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.

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Cubed3
8 / 10
8 / 10
Nov 21, 2016

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.

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Rocket Chainsaw
Aug 9, 2016

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.

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PC Gamer
80 / 100
80 / 100
Jul 25, 2016

Not as unique as you’d perhaps expect given the premise, but still a very stylish, characterful and funny adventure.

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TrustedReviews
Jul 25, 2016

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.

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GamingBolt
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Jul 25, 2016

This game will have its players enjoying the experience from beginning to end with a smile over their faces.

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DualShockers
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Jul 25, 2016

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.

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Cubed3
8 / 10
8 / 10
Oct 23, 2016

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.

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Worth Playing
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Oct 20, 2016

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.

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Polygon
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Jul 25, 2016

Headlander isn't Double Fine's funniest game, but it's one of its most consistently fun

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Victory Point
Aug 5, 2016

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.

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COGconnected
79 / 100
79 / 100
Aug 5, 2016

Headlander is an enjoyable experience that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you like the Metroidvania style of games.

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ZTGD
7.5 / 10.0
7.5 / 10.0
Aug 11, 2016

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.

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ZTGD
7.5 / 10.0
Ken McKown

Top Critic

7.5 / 10.0
Nov 29, 2016

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.

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Game Informer
7.5 / 10.0
7.5 / 10.0
Jul 25, 2016

The game is loaded with Double Fine’s signature humor, from snappy dialogue to turrets that apologize while firing at you

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IGN Italy
7.5 / 10.0
7.5 / 10.0
Jul 27, 2016

Headlander is quite challenging, packed with an effective gameplay, but unfortunately never really addictive or so memorable.

Review in Italian | Read full review

GameGrin
7.5 / 10.0
7.5 / 10.0
Sep 6, 2016

Headlander is a funny, well designed game with an excellent aesthetic, it's a shame that a few shortcomings let it down in the long run

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New Game Network
72 / 100
72 / 100
Aug 1, 2016

Headlander is an enjoyable 2D metroidvania that successfully merges the usual wacky style of Double Fine with some straightforward gameplay mechanics.

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PlayStation Universe
7 / 10.0
7 / 10.0
Jul 25, 2016

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.

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VideoGamer
7 / 10
7 / 10
Jul 25, 2016

Headlander is entertaining, looks and sounds excellent, and gives off a cool vibe, but this isn't quite a classic.

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BaziCenter
7 / 10
7 / 10
Feb 9, 2017

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

Game Revolution
Jul 25, 2016

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.

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PCWorld
Jul 26, 2016

Headlander's retrofuturist aesthetic is creative enough to make up for the fact its underlying mechanics are anything but.

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Cubed3
7 / 10
7 / 10
Nov 10, 2017

While Headlander's brand of humour isn't quite as pronounced as Adult Swim might have wanted it, there are so many absorbing elements at play here.

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Digital Trends
Aug 8, 2016

‘Headlander’ is a lovely dystopian 70s sci-fi game that's strange, good fun.

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Azralynn
68 / 100
68 / 100
Aug 9, 2016
Headlander – Quick Game Review video thumbnail
PlayStation LifeStyle
6.5 / 10.0
6.5 / 10.0
Aug 1, 2016

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.

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Generación Xbox
3 / 5.0
3 / 5.0
Dec 8, 2016

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

Shacknews
6 / 10
6 / 10
Jul 25, 2016

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.

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Metro GameCentral
6 / 10
6 / 10
Jul 26, 2016

What starts as a fine homage to Super Metroid and ‘70s style sci-fi ends as a disappointing waste of both story and gameplay potential.

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games(TM)
6 / 10
games(TM)

Top Critic

6 / 10
Oct 8, 2016

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.

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The Cube
5 / 10
5 / 10
Aug 8, 2016

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.

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Destructoid
4.5 / 10.0
4.5 / 10.0
Jul 25, 2016

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.

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TechRaptor
4 / 10.0
4 / 10.0
Aug 15, 2016

Sharp visuals and story don't save a would-be strong Metroidvania platformer from endless pitfalls.

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