Taking place in a seemingly Utopian city, Headlander promises a future in which immortal humans outfitted with cybernetic implants live “free from worry, and free from disease.” In reality, Headlander‘s humans live under the oppressive rule of an advanced AI, and players must find a way out of their dystopian prison.
Assuming control of “the last flesh and blood person” in the universe, players explore the oppressive “Your-topia” as a floating head that can take control of nearby robot bodies. Armed automatons are trained to shoot the game’s starring character on sight, however, requiring players to approach combat sequences with careful planning.
Gameplay in Headlander takes cues from the early entries in the Oddworld series, challenging players to gauge enemy strengths and weaknesses before possessing their bodies and turning them against their allies. Depending on the types of robot bodies they control, players can access an array of unique weapons and abilities that can turn the tide in battle or aid in environmental traversal.
Outside of combat, Headlander bears more of a resemblance to exploration-driven platformers like Shadow Complex, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and Nintendo’s Metroid series. Initially confined to a small starting area, players soon branch out and explore the outer reaches of Your-topia as they earn new abilities throughout the game’s campaign.
Headlander follows up on recent Double Fine releases like Broken Age, Costume Quest 2, and Day of the Tentacle Remastered. Currently, the studio is working on the PlayStation VR title Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin and its crowdfunded sequel Psychonauts 2.
Headlander launches for the PlayStation 4 via the PlayStation Network and for PC platforms through Steam on July 26.