Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. Aug 2, 2016
    It’s a simple game in its approach: its mechanics are not over-wrought or complicated, but it’s top quality fun. Headlander is of the few games in recent memories to garner a true belly laugh.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Jul 26, 2016
    This is easily one of the year’s most enjoyable games and one you won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
  6. Jul 27, 2016
    Minor gripe aside, I expect Headlander to reach that cult classic status like many of Double Fine’s prior titles and it’s well deserved. This is a must own for fans of the genre.
  7. Jul 29, 2016
    Headlander is a uniquely funny, sometimes weird and visually very distinctive action-adventure.
  8. Jul 25, 2016
    Headlander is an unexpectedly great take on Metroidviania-style action. Some of the objective design renders its flashier, body-endangering powers moot, but the quick and complex moment-to-moment gameplay carries it splendidly.
  9. Oct 17, 2016
    Coming in at around six hours for a pretty thorough playthrough, Headlander was an absolute delight.
  10. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    Sep 26, 2016
    It's heady stuff. It's head and shoulders above the competition. [Oct 2016, p.81]
  11. Aug 10, 2016
    Despite some minor issues, Headlander not only turns out to be a great Metroidvania, but also a very original videogame.
  12. 80
    Without claims during the development, Headlander proves to be a Metroidvania with excellent core ideas and a lot of good vibrations. It's not so surprising as he seems in the first hours, but remains funny and engaging until the end.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Jul 30, 2016
    The graphics look great, with very vibrant colours throughout the game. It’s fun to play, nice to look at and there’s a good number of laughs. It’s not a serious game, nor is it a triple A title; But it is fun.
  16. Jul 26, 2016
    Double Fine delivers a great game once again. It's not ground-breaking, but definitely a nice surprise perfect for the summer while we wait for the blockbusters.
  17. 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.
  18. Jul 26, 2016
    Every so often a game comes along that reminds me of how boisterously odd the medium can be.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 80
    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.
  23. 80
    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.
  24. Games Master UK
    Oct 3, 2016
    A retrofuturistic adventure that promises comedy and action, and only ever falters on the latter. [Oct 2006, p.75]
  25. Aug 5, 2016
    Headlander is an enjoyable experience that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you like the Metroidvania style of games.
  26. Sep 5, 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.
  27. 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. I still enjoyed my time with Headlander, even if the camera and combat got in the way a few times. I think everyone else will feel the same way. Give it a shot. It does have a lot going for it.
  28. Jul 27, 2016
    Headlander is quite challenging, packed with effective gameplay, but unfortunately it's never really addictive or so memorable.
  29. Sep 24, 2016
    Headlander could've been of the best games of the year if the combat were better and the environments more varied. Now it's just a good game.
  30. Feb 10, 2017
    Headlander takes on an old setting with a new formula and does it just right. The Balance between combat and puzzle-solving is quite good but the story might leave you unsatisfied, while the gameplay also gets repetitive after a few hours.
  31. Jul 25, 2016
    Quotation forthcoming.
  32. Jul 25, 2016
    Thanks to its settings, its universe and some good gameplay ideas, Headlander succeeds in delivering a tasteful experience. Even if a bit redundant and not really irreproachable technically speaking, this Double Fine game surely can make your head spin.
  33. Jul 25, 2016
    Headlander is entertaining, looks and sounds excellent, and gives off a cool vibe, but this isn't quite a classic.
  34. Jul 25, 2016
    Hitting the right balance of puzzle and action with a proper dose of true `80s nostalgia, the majority of Headlander is a treat to play and to watch. That being said, its ending segment has a few head-scratching moments, including an uninspired “Simon says” memory game, and a final boss fight that is as frustrating as it is formulaic; the boss has three main segments of health and changes style after each segment is depleted, followed by a surprise re-birth into yet another form.
  35. 70
    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.
  36. 65
    Headlander is a tease — a conglomerate of great ideas that tapered at the halfway point in favor of very basic “find the right color robot body” mechanics, lack of continued humor, and a middling story at best.
  37. Jul 25, 2016
    Although I absolutely love the aesthetics and concept of Headlander, the non-combat gameplay is only fair, and it’s brought down further with too much combat detracting from the things it does well. I was interested enough to stick around and see how things turned out at the end, but there were definitely a few times when I walked away and took a break out of annoyance. Like so many other examples before it, Headlander is another could-have-been that just doesn’t play to its strengths.
  38. Sep 18, 2016
    Double Fine offers a unique game with a retro futuristic 70's style and strong gameplay. This Metroidvania does miss new features and the story could be better.
  39. 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.
  40. Jul 25, 2016
    Quotation forthcoming.
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  1. Jul 25, 2016
    Neither fantastical enough to satisfy the sci-fi aficionado nor silly enough to placate the comedy junkie, Headlander delivers only the scraps of what could have been a truly noteworthy space romp.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 36 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 36
  2. Negative: 7 out of 36
  1. Aug 25, 2016
    Initially cool but after you realize the game is a boring slog the charm wears off fast. Combat is terrible and just ripping off heads was theInitially cool but after you realize the game is a boring slog the charm wears off fast. Combat is terrible and just ripping off heads was the best strategy but the combat is never hard because I think the developers know the controls are wonky. "Puzzles" are just finding the right thing to get you to progress. Never gets interesting or challenging. Disappointment. Full Review »
  2. Jul 29, 2016
    -Earl, the voice in your helmet, is a pretty cool guy. And I got attached to my disembodied head dude.
    -The sense of humor appealed
    -Earl, the voice in your helmet, is a pretty cool guy. And I got attached to my disembodied head dude.
    -The sense of humor appealed to me (imagine any of Double Fine's previous stuff)
    -It's a metroidvania and I always find those fun to explore and find secrets in.

    -World seems intriguing at first but the more you see blander it feels, acid tripping robots housing human conscious' is cool for like 20 minutes guys!

    -Rigged shooting mechanic makes it feel like controlling a tank.
    -Lasers everywhere! You shoot lasers, your enemies shoot lasers, the walls reflect lasers-the screen gets filled with lasers and you can't help getting hit. I know your bodies are expendable but I still found it annoying that I couldn't avoid them.
    -Related to the point above - there is no jump or crouch, which would help a great deal in dodging lasers.
    -Terribly boring boss fights: At least they realize the controls are clunky and don't require you to do anything nimble
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 2, 2016
    This is a unique game setting, the 70's sci fi is great, the ambient music, sounds and art style were brilliant. Apart from that its a slog toThis is a unique game setting, the 70's sci fi is great, the ambient music, sounds and art style were brilliant. Apart from that its a slog to go through, i only completed it for the platinum. It's just that the story is weak, the laser fights are to precise which makes fights hard and the boss fights was bad, annoyingly bad, if you die just before you kill the boss you have to do the whole 4 stages again. The map layout is similar to shadow complex so there is quite a lot of back tracking to do which is frustratingly boring. It is a different game just not a very good one. Full Review »