Headspun Review

Have you ever wondered what might be going on inside your brain, behind the conscious decisions and recollection of memories? Developed by Wales Interactive and published by Superstring, Headspun brings us their take on the inner-workings of your command center.

Headspun is set in the world of Theo Kavinsky’s broken brain. Theo has been in a coma for 5 weeks following an accident, of which he doesn’t remember anything. His brain is damaged and needs to be rebuilt, from restoring the memory banks to recreating the ability to dream.

You play as Ted, the director of Theo’s brain. He is Theo’s consciousness, making rational decisions on how to repair Theo’s brain and how he interacts with the world around him. During the game you are “assisted” by Teddy, Theo’s emotional and irrational subconscious. He frequently expresses dissatisfaction with your leadership and tries to sway your choices.

In order to rebuild the brain, you need to earn “Neurocredits”. These can be spent on hiring staff and making repairs to unlock brain functionality. Played out as a series of mini-games, tasks include activities such as “reading a book” in an FMV cut-scene. There’s minimal interaction required from the player though, simply needing to push a button when a marker is in the middle of Theo’s vision.

Along the way you do unlock more mini-games , but even then, they are not very adventurous or hard to say the least. Taking the form of simple addition or button mashing, the different choices just add a bit of variety rather than engagement. However, there is the option to just wait instead of practising an activity. This still earns credits, albeit not as fast, so you don’t have to partake in the mini-games. You have to balance spending neurocredits on repairs and spending them on increasing brain stats (such as concentration), which in turn increases the neurocredits you can earn.

You move around the brain in a 2D side scrolling format. Most of the rooms you enter have very limited actions to do, and at times don’t really add to the experience. It feels as though they are there to just increase the longevity of the game and pad things out, so you are not greeted with cut-scenes too often. You do get the ability to fast travel, handily, which prevents you from having to walk back and forth around the brain repeatedly.

The main selling point for the game -and what really got me hooked – is this unique idea and brilliant concept that I have never really seen before. The cut-scenes are from Theo’s point of view, lying in bed in the hospital room. People will come to visit him every time you wake Theo up. You view these from a mini screen during your shift in the Cortex. This is the most enjoyable part of the game because they are so well put together, keeping me engaged and wanting to play more, so I can view more cut-scenes and find out what happens next in the story. The budget of the cut-scenes seems low; however, the acting is passable and because of the unique concept I was happy to listen, finding myself becoming invested.

During the cut-scenes, you must make certain decisions of what Theo says to his visitors. In my experience, any choices made don’t really affect the outcomes or overall narrative, and just move the story on. So if you’re expecting something like Late Shift where the choices you make matter to the story, you may be disappointed with Headspun.

I found that very often, you can lose your cursor and have to randomly click around to get it to appear again. I also found that if you press a button before the full line of dialogue appears (because you’re trying to skip it) it can lead to you having to repeat what you are doing or having to reboot to regain functionality. Hopefully this can be fixed via a patch, but it is frustrating when playing to have to continually deal with it.

Headspun has a lot of dialogue that needs to be read, as you may expect. It would have been nice to have had voice acting throughout; this could have helped here to avoid skipping and have a more relaxing experience. At times you find yourself skipping through it because it can be repetitive and doesn’t add much value compared to the FMV cut-scenes, where the crux of the experience is based.

Conclusion

I really enjoy the unique concept on offer here, with interesting and engaging FMV scenes that keep you hooked and actively wanting to find out what happens next. While the mini game sections are on the bland side,they are short enough – with enough variety – to not detract in any sort of major way.

This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.
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Good
  • Unique, clever story
  • Engaging FMV cutscenes
  • Beautiful colours and visuals
Bad
  • Too much reading - a little more narration would've suited better
  • Boring mini-games
6.5
Okay
Gameplay - 4.5
Graphics - 7.5
Audio - 8
Longevity - 6
Written by
For me it started out on PC, back in the Wolfenstein 3D and Commander Keen days. Now I play across all platforms, but I'm gaming every day, mainly on xbox. I'm easy going, with a full-on achievement hunting addiction, but you mainly can find me getting my fix on Apex Legends (Caustic FTW) Gamertag: nuttywray

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