Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 25
  2. Negative: 1 out of 25
  1. Jul 25, 2016
    An excellent side-scrolling Metroidvania game, with nostalgic undertones and great gameplay, helping it thrive in its science fiction paradise.
  2. 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.
  3. Pelit (Finland)
    Oct 12, 2016
    Headlander delivers an unique twist on metroidvanias, but falls a bit short on controls. It's a fun romp through twisted dystopian science fiction vistas. With a little bit of fine tuning it would've rocked. [Sept 2016]
  4. Jul 25, 2016
    It’s difficult but fair, and fast-paced but satisfying through to the end. And with a story so dangerously loaded with trope upon trope, it’s a joy to see Headlander sidestep some cliches with a beautiful setting, dark humor, and, well… a rocket-powered head. That’ll do the trick.
  5. Nov 30, 2016
    Headlander occupies a space of being a game which is a great deal of fun to play to completion over a weekend. While some of the game mechanics are fairly unique, it’s not trying to do anything complex. Anyone who’s played this type of game before will feel right at home from the early going, and although some sections are difficult, they shouldn’t have any trouble progressing through the game at a good pace. It’s a shame some of the story sections and dialogue aren’t funnier, but that doesn’t stop Headlander being a game well worth your time.
  6. 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.
  7. Oct 4, 2016
    Head and robot gameplay styles mesh together in a fluid, intuitive way, and the gorgeous colourful space stations and melodramatic sci-fi synth soundtrack makes this sci-fi romp an enjoyable, surprisingly sincere tribute to the wobbly sets of old.
  8. PC PowerPlay
    Aug 27, 2016
    A fun puzzle platformer that replaces jumping with a flying head and body-snatching. [Issue#254, p.60]
  9. Jul 27, 2016
    Headlander could do with a bit shorter story and less repeatability of certain elements, but it's a great game overall. Double Fine's title provides great style and interesting mechanics, easily overcoming the irritating parts.
  10. Jul 25, 2016
    It’s not always clear but Headlander doesn’t overstay its welcome, and it doesn’t waste time on extraneous stuff. Instead, Headlander finds smart core mechanics and a really cool idea and pushes them both to smart places that make for a game remains engaging even as it steadily grows more challenging. It’s not the funniest guy in the room, but it’s still a lot of fun to hang around with.
  11. Jul 25, 2016
    Not as unique as you’d perhaps expect given the premise, but still a very stylish, characterful and funny adventure.
  12. Jul 25, 2016
    From its odd mechanics to its captivating presentation, Headlander's parallels to Metroid bubble under the surface; it's the game's fresh qualities that grab your attention and make it one of the most delightful takes on the well-worn formula in years.
  13. 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.
  14. Jul 25, 2016
    Headlander is a metroidvania with a twist: you don't have a body, so you must take control of the many robots that surrounds you. Full of the typical Double Fine sense of humor, the game it's not bad, but could be boring in the long run.
  15. Aug 8, 2016
    Headlander is a decent Metroidvania game, although you will not feel thrilled with any of its virtues, nor disappointed with its issues.
  16. Jul 25, 2016
    Headlander doesn’t forge a bold new path, but it’s a lot of fun to live in its strange world for a while. Its various elements are well trod – ‘70s aesthetic, Metroid-style exploration, big questions about the nature of identity and consciousness – but they’ve been arranged in a fascinating way that feels fresh.
  17. Edge Magazine
    Sep 26, 2016
    The world is a pulpy delight: captivating, unique, and a genuine pleasure to spend time in. [Oct 2016, p.116]
  18. Game World Navigator Magazine
    Sep 21, 2016
    HeadLander is unfortunately uneven: at first, you’re thrust into a parody of the seventies, where robotized populace dances disco and enjoys weird art. But once you get used to the atmosphere, game forces protagonist to investigate some elevator shafts for an hour. Then game picks up the ball and becomes more dynamic and interesting, only to drop it again soon after – and that process repeats itself until the very end. [Issue#212, p.61]
  19. Jul 27, 2016
    Headlander's retrofuturist aesthetic is creative enough to make up for the fact its underlying mechanics are anything but.
  20. Oct 3, 2016
    A great concept that doesn't realize its potential. [Issue#179, p.84]
  21. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Sep 14, 2016
    Funny platformer with an original idea, that is, however, spoiled with rapidly rising repetitiveness. [Issue#266]
  22. Aug 11, 2016
    Combination of originality and exquisite visual style saves the monotonous, too long and sometimes frustrating gameplay only partly. Although Headlander entertains, it will not nail you down. You will forget this game before it appears on Steam sale.
  23. Jul 25, 2016
    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.
  24. CD-Action
    Oct 14, 2016
    Retrofuturistic environments are alive, they burst with vivid colors and details, but the game itself is painfully repetitive. [10/2016, p.64]
  25. Jul 25, 2016
    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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  1. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 39 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 39
  2. Negative: 4 out of 39
  1. Jul 27, 2016
    Headlander was a nice reprieve from my recent gaming trends. Lately I’ve been drowning in MOBA's and YouTube. While i wait on some projectsHeadlander was a nice reprieve from my recent gaming trends. Lately I’ve been drowning in MOBA's and YouTube. While i wait on some projects i kickstarted, Double Fine has provided me with something that tickles my aesthetics. Retro Future design, tied with clever dialog and animation.
    Double Fine's Artistic team is one of the best in the business. The environments are well put together and filled in with detail. The effects on the character are great and brought me to the days I saw all of the covers for Activision games on my Atari 2600. Electrical and Plasma looks great, and the color palate choice was appropriate for the setting. Animation was top notch as well. I laughed out loud when i got to the chess pieces that you will come across.
    The enemies in the game work well, each bot carrying a different weapon, and each functions in the same way, but gives you different results. Single shot, spread, fractal spread, etc. I was not expecting the fractal weapon at all. And strangely, as many shots as you could put into the air, it was not overpowered. You must still play carefully in certain areas, or you will lose the robot body you worked so hard to keep alive.
    Mechanics work well, but felt a bit lacking. In most metroidvania games, your access to the map is mainly restricted to gaining abilities or equipment. While that exists, the main means of restricted access is in the robotic body that you happen to be driving at the moment. Since all your weapons and access is based on which one you have, the search for weapons and doing tricky moves to progress doesn't feel as satisfying. For me, discovering the weapons in this genre was half the fun of backtracking the map.
    The story and narrative are well done but a bit thin. When I finished my initial run, I felt a bit let down for some feeling of ending. It was more of a soft close, like the end of a chapter instead of ending a book. But they story did have me engaged to see the progress as I played.
    In Summary, Headlander is a excellent contribution to Double Fine’s library of projects. I feel the average gamer may complete this in around 9 hours or so. And I have blown more money on a bad steak from a restaurant. A worthy buy.
    Full Review »
  2. Jul 29, 2016
    Headlander is a really fun romp through a 1970's stylized dystopian future in the genre of a metroidvania, platforming adventure. The playerHeadlander is a really fun romp through a 1970's stylized dystopian future in the genre of a metroidvania, platforming adventure. The player takes on the role of the last surviving human trying to uncover both his/her and humanity's past while trying to escape the clutches of Methuselah, a robot overlord whose intentions are unknown (though probably evil in some fashion).

    The graphics and sound, both the soundtrack and ambient noises, are phenomenal and really paint the picture of the robotic dystopia well. And of course, being Double Fine, there is an element of goofiness and silliness that helps lighten the mood throughout.

    The game is not particularly difficult to play through, so those seeking a frenzied challenge should give it a pass. This game is more about immersion and the story unfolding before the player than gaming skills, and Double Fine really nailed the atmosphere in their unique way.

    Once, the player character got stuck inside the wall/ceiling and a manual restart was required to correct the issue, but this was the only bug encountered and it did not leave any permanent issues after the restart from the last save. The game saves every time the player character enters a new room

    The price point might be a tad high for some folk's taste, but IMO it is worth it. Definitely pick it up during a sale if you're on the fence now.
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 31, 2016
    I've never played an Adult Swim game other than the goofy flash title from ages ago -- Robot Unicorn Attack, I must admit I wasn't expectingI've never played an Adult Swim game other than the goofy flash title from ages ago -- Robot Unicorn Attack, I must admit I wasn't expecting much. What I will tell you now is how very wrong I was with it all. Head Lander is a simple, brilliant, GORGEOUS game to which I had the absolute pleasure in playing.

    It's funny, slick and amazingly entertaining. I honestly can't recommend this one enough. The concept is so out of left field that it works seamlessly. The gameplay is ace, the jokes are a good laugh, and the graphics are stunning. Just don't play it in front of little ones...they might start to ask questions as to why that robot is...uh...humping things.
    Full Review »