Headlander: Imagine: your neighbors, your friends, your acquaintances – they all died long ago. Even your own body has decayed a long time ago, leaving behind only ahead, firmly fixed in a spacesuit helmet. And then a voice from above (from the headphones) sets a goal for your head: to arrange a revolution and overthrow the artificial intelligence on four large space objects. To do this, it is necessary to tear off the heads of enemies and random residents, take away the bodies and use the possibilities hidden in them. Sit on the neck of the navigator robot – get an updated mini-map. Subdued the blue security robot – now all the blue doors are open to you. They captured the body of the robot dog – you can crawl through the small ventilation passages. Etc.
You can move around ships, bases and platforms, as it should be in the genre, relatively freely, especially since the helmet is flying on your head. In general, Headlander is almost too classic metroidvania: looking for secrets, solving riddles, shooting at enemies, getting new bodies, getting new abilities for the helmet and pumping them through simple RPG elements. If you saw a training mission, consider that you have seen everything. And that would be bad if it wasn’t for Double Fine’s Headlander. Retro style, crazy concept, humor, meticulous Russian translation with redrawn textures – all of the above captivate seriously and for a long time. After traveling on a space phallic shuttle, it is almost impossible not to fall in love with Headlander for her courage and madness, and this love is enough for eight hours of passage.
However, in the simplicity of what is happening, like a tiger in a thicket, one of the shortcomings lurks. The game never asks you to strain your brains or use special skills during the main passage, and all the most difficult tasks and puzzles are bonus. A common thing, it would seem? But the trouble is, in order to hide the ease and transience of the game, the authors begin to artificially stretch it: either they insert a series of slow elevators, or they force the gathering fans to drag a robot vacuum cleaner across the entire huge map (only in his body you can get to a hard-to-reach room with a secret) . At least an hour and a half in Headlander is not only unnecessary, but also harmful.
Luckily, it’s all easy to forget, thanks to the disco palette from the slaughter of the 70s and 80s, crazy sci-fi movie decor from the same time period, defense turrets begging forgiveness for going to kill you, vacuum cleaners tired of slavery, and getting ready for their vacuum cleaner revolution, chattering with doors that refuse to let you in, and tearing everyone’s heads off. Headlander immerses you in gaming nirvana, relaxes your muscles and cleanses your chakras.
And only towards the end, an incident happens: the writers suddenly decide to make the game more serious and give the heroic head a little more responsibility. And this can repel much more than a stretched passage, because who needs drama in the middle of a fun clown performance? Of course, many will be able to ignore the plot without any problems, enjoying the gameplay and atmosphere until the very end. But for those who do not know how to abstract so famously, it is not easy to recommend Headlander. It’s a pity – the game turned out to be peculiar, but memorable. There is no such thing as exotic.