Headland is a top-down action title where you play as Nor, a kid whose world of imagination gets attacked by pale monsters, and in order to bring power back to the world, he needs to collect the shards and rebuild the Imagination Core.
Many games have tackled the idea of growing older and losing that special spark that makes children's minds so creative and colourful, but I never seem to get tired of them. Although they do give me anxiety as someone who struggles with thanatophobia, these titles are always brimming with colourful and crazy ideas and bombarding you with positive messages about not letting go of your inner child, and I find this very refreshing. Headland is no different, as every new level is vibrant and inventive, with a wacky new gimmick that you have to overcome in order to move on to the next one.
Each time you enter a new world, you'll have at least one secret to discover, tons of Imagination orbs to collect, and more than enough whacking at enemies and objects. In fact, Headland is probably the most action-packed title of this sort that I've encountered! Most of them focus on story, puzzles, and characters, but this time, I spent my time defeating hordes of enemies, collecting materials, and snooping around every corner of the world to find the hidden areas. These secrets are well-hidden, and it would sometimes take me jumping into the worlds repeatedly to find them, but they're not necessary for anything outside of a completionist run.
Once you've finished the level, you go back to the central hub. Here, you can buy, unlock, and upgrade weapons as well as increase your base health or damage stats after you collect enough of the lightbulb resource. Unfortunately, although I was excited to get all the swords, I ended up using the same one throughout the whole game because it buffs the amount of materials you can collect; combat wasn't difficult, so sacrificing the boost didn't feel worth it, especially since there was so much to unlock. This was only further cemented when the other weapons didn't feel particularly more fun and actually somewhat took away gameplay by making fights too quick! The only other one I did play with a lot, especially when trying to 100%, was Cerulian Bolt, which makes Nor speed around!
This was one of the few complaints I had about the game — there wasn't much of a variety in combat, both ability- and weapon-wise. This was a bit of a bummer since the game is so focused on fighting large groups of enemies, and the only thing I had at my disposal was my sword, a dodge, and a special shield I unlocked later on that would damage the enemies and save me from getting hit. It would have been much more compelling had I been able to unlock abilities instead of swords, especially since they don't feel very different to use. That being said, it didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying completing every world and aiming for 100%. They were short and fun, and even without a lot of intricacy in combat, I never got bored of beating up the enemies with what I did have at my disposal.
Headland is a great short and casual game to pick up as long as you're not expecting too much depth in combat or customisation; most of the fun comes from just getting everything 100% on every level and finding enjoyment in tons of action and secret-searching.
Headland (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
Dive into Nor’s imagination world to save it from corruption in this enjoyable (albeit sometimes simple) title about childhood and imagination.