developer: Double Fine Productions, Inc.
publisher: Adult Swim Games
Game mode: single player
HeadLander for PC, XONE and PS4 is a two-dimensional science-fiction side-scrolling platform game that combines mechanics of the cult classic Metroid series with fresh and unordinary new ideas. The title was created by Double Fine Productions, a studio led by an industry veteran Tim Schafer. The developer created a few quite successful titles like Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, Broken Age, Costume Quest series and the remastered edition of Grim Fandango. The game was announced during the final days of summer 2015 and it was released a few months later on PC, XONE and PS4.
The story of the game is rather modest but also very unordinary – as usually in games created by Double Fine. The protagonist wakes up in a world similar to second-rate science-fiction movies that used to be made in the seventies of the recent century. He quickly discovers that he consists only of… human head placed in special helmet with rocket drive. What’s worse, he seems to be the only human in the metropolis filled by various robots. In such circumstances he starts his adventure during which he will try to reclaim his lost memory and learn what happened to the humanity.
Gameplay mechanics of PC, XONE and PS4 version of HeadLander are inspired by classic scrolling platform games like the previously mentioned Metroid or Flashback. The game mostly consists of exploration of locations filled with enemies to defeat and riddles to solve. In difference to the titles mentioned above, in HeadLander it’s the riddles, not the combat, that are the primary focus of the gameplay.
What makes HeadLander different from many similar games is the unordinary way the protagonist moves. When starting the game he is only a head that can move up and to the sides thanks to the drive in his helmet. This method is as funny as it is unpractical and very soon placing the head on the body of any robot and obtaining his abilities becomes a frequent part of the game.
Each of the robots available in the game (dogs, regular citizens, bodyguards) has unique abilities that can for example allow deflecting laser beams at the turrets, enemies and closed doors. Each armored robot has a weapon with two main parameters – one determines how it shoots and the other represents the number of ricochets of a bullet before it reaches the target. This is important both for combat and for the story of the game. The sentry robots can have various status and security clearance levels. While in the form of regular robot, the player won’t reach many hidden places and won’t be trusted by other citizens.
Visuals of HeadLander for PC, XONE and PS4 combine classic, old school style with modern technical solutions. The graphics are very colorful, filled with effective explosions and light effects. It is worth adding that despite the fact that the main part of the game is beheading robots, it is all presented in a very contractual way and with a large dose of humor. Thanks to that the title isn’t filled with unnecessary violence.
PC / Windows
Recommended: Quad Core 3 GHz, 4 GB RAM, graphic card 2 GB GeForce GTX 750 or better, 4 GB HDD, Windows 7 64-bit
Minimum: Dual Core 2 GHz, 4 GB RAM, graphic card 1 GB Radeon HD 7750 or better, 4 GB HDD, Windows 7 64-bit