LifeisXbox’s Headland review | When mobile games make their way to other platforms, I’m always a bit skeptical. As you probably know from experience, it’s often the case that the mobile feelings linger in the back of the game still. Or even worse: it’s written all over the game that it, in fact, was originally an iOs or Android game. Enter Headland, a brand new fast-paced action-adventure from Danish developer studio Northplay. In this colorful game, you join Nor and his robot friends on a journey to rebuild the Imagination Core.
Headland is out today on Nintendo Switch and will release on PC later this year.
Most Memorable Moment
This may sound stupid but I love small, useless details in a game. In Headland, there is a dedicated dance button, how adorable is that?! So at any time, you can bust a move if you feel like it. The game even tracks how long you danced. It’s a very subtle feature that isn’t explained (neither is there talk about seeing how long you danced unless I missed that) but I absolutely adored it!
ℹ️ Reviewed on Nintendo Switch | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we Liked!
- Cute story | The story starts abruptly when a robot tells our protagonist Nor to help him and jump through a colorful portal. Apparently, a powerful force has destroyed the Imagination Core in Headland. This means that color and inspiration were stolen from this world, which of course, we wouldn’t wish in our own world either. It’s up to Nor, with the help of his new robot friends, to gather the five shards and restore creativity in Headland. What I loved most about this story, is that it focuses so much on inspiration, creativity, and imagination. Things I personally value very much in real life as well.
- The gameplay | There are two important areas in Headland: the robot raft and the world map. On the robot raft, you can craft, upgrade, and equip various weapons, and upgrade your health and attack damage skill. After a while, you’ll also be able to imagine various things on the robot raft (using resources), such as a fishing shack or snowman decoration. Second, we have the world map where the action happens. Here you’ll find a total of ten levels you can travel to. Five of these will hold a shard that you need to get to the final boss battle, but they also hold resources, and important characters. You’ll have to fight your way through each and every level, facing a storm of enemies. Luckily, there are enough checkpoints, and dying is never that big of a deal.
- Resources | Throughout your journey you can collect many items and resources. Wood and stone mainly, but there are also golden coins of some sort. These can be used to imagine decorations or craft and upgrade weapons. If you die, you lose resources but not to worry, I noticed that you’ll probably always have plenty of resources still. You’ll also gather imagination (which are just colorful little balls) that will sometimes be needed to build things like bridges. Then of course, there are also turquoise, golden, and purple keys hidden all through the world map, which can be used to access the accompanying gate. These gates offer you the chance to get new weapons, after you’ve defeated a bunch of enemies, of course. After a while, you’ll also be able to collect disks, which are needed to get those decorations around the raft.
- Credits | It’s a known fact that many people skip the credits at the end of a movie, series, or game. No need to deny it, I guess it’s as much human nature as it is agreeing to the terms and conditions you didn’t read. Well, I’m happy to report that I did not skip the credits at the end of Headland! If you’re wondering why I made a special mention of the credits, I think it’s because I liked them so much. Basically, a bunch of monsters spawn and every monster has a name and title above it. This way, everyone who worked on the game one way or another is shown. It’s a fun way to ‘scroll through the credits’ and actually keeping your audience engaged. Definitely the way to go.
- Colorful art style but insufficient | This game looks like a unicorn puked on it, one might say. It’s so very bright and colorful! Everything about Headland screams magic and I can definitely get used to this. I feel like the art style perfectly reflects the theme of this game. Even though the graphics were optimised for my Switch screen, I still found them lacking a bit. The main character, Nor, is supposed to be a kid I think but he doesn’t look the part, which bothered me a bit. Overall, I enjoyed the graphics but I wasn’t completely satisfied and they didn’t leave a real impression on me.
- Short but replay value | All in all, Headland is a rather short game. I got all five shards and finished the boss battle in about four hours. I was kind of hoping for the adventure to last a little longer, but luckily, there is plenty to do once you’ve finished the main story. For example, all ten levels have a highscore and secrets. So, you can try and beat your highscore, or you can try and uncover all secrets. However, I ended up finding almost all secrets in my first runthrough, so they are not that difficult to find within the level. Then we also have the decorations that can be imagined, and of course, opening the three gates if you haven’t already by the end of the game.
- Difficulty | If you’re looking for a challenging game, I’m afraid Headland isn’t recommended for you. Getting through the levels doesn’t require that much effort. I mean, speaking as someone who isn’t the greatest gamer, I went through all ten levels swiftly. It wasn’t until the final boss battle that I felt some real resistance, and even then it was okay. On top of that, you’ll get through the game easily without unlocking a bunch of extra weapons.
- Lack of variation in enemies | I’m not sure if this is because the game is so short, but I felt like there was a lack of variation in enemies. I kept fighting the same enemies over and over again, and would’ve loved to see a tad more opponents. Basically all you get is acorns, wolfs, bees, and a few other imaginary creatures that I don’t know what to call. I did enjoy fighting these enemies, but I suspect I would’ve enjoyed it even more if there were some others as well, instead of finding the same enemies level after level.
What we Disliked
- Bugs and glitches | Luckily, I can report that there weren’t a lot of bugs and glitches in Headland. Still, there were some so I couldn’t let those go unnoticed. Sometimes, enemies didn’t stay in place and kind of fell off the surface or something. Not sure how to put this, but it was basically like they were floating when they should’ve been falling, you know. It’s not like it really bothered me, but I did see it everytime it happened so it was noticable.
How long to beat the story | 4 to 5 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | Not applicable
Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂