There’s always going to be a wealth of Metroidvania style games at the indie corners of large gaming expos, and the PlayStation Experience was no exception. So how did Headlander stick out like a sore thumb? That’s a question that only the insane developers at Double Fine can answer.
Headlander is about some guy who wakes up in space and doesn’t have a body. Why? We’ll leave that unspoiled because the robots that have the answer are totally hilarious. The humor in Headlander makes it easy to see why Adult Swim Games picked up the publishing rights, but it also comes as no surprise. That’s just how Double Fine does things.
Of course, there has to be an actual pull to the game despite the fact that it’s funny, and that lies in its unique gameplay. Headlander is an exploration-based sidescrolling shooter very similar to that of Metroid, as you’ll spend a lot of your time clearing rooms of enemies all while navigating mazes in spaceships trying to uncover your own mysteries.
The head can fly around very slowly thanks to the jetpack in his throat, and while it allows him to fit through tiny nooks and crannies in the environment, it leaves him more vulnerable to various attacks.
At that, when you’re playing as just the head, you also have the ability to suck up the heads of other bodies so that you can land in and take control, thus the name Headlander.
There are enemies of different colors that have different security clearances that allow access to different rooms, and combat generally involves finding cover since the enemies in the game are pretty aggressive. The lasers that are fired can also bounce off the walls, so there’ll be billiards-like influence when it comes to the game’s physics, and there’s also cool opportunities for suicide attacks that double as puzzles.
The demo I played featured more backtracking than I thought it would, but overall its shaping up to be pretty fun. Headlander is due out next year, and we’ll definitely be keeping an eye (or head) on this one.