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Airhead (Xbox Series X) – Review

Development teams, Octato and Massive Miniteam have brought a new puzzle-riddled, 2.5D adventure game which if you are anything like me will have you scratching your head figuring out what is next to work out. In an interconnected world, you must explore, evolve, and ensure you are keeping full attention or you might miss a puzzle to help you proceed.

You start the game off as just a body that more or less looks like a thick stickman. Before you know it you meet this organism that bizarrely gets chopped in half allowing you to pick up the other half and use it as a makeshift head. The problem is, it’s constantly deflating so you need to go and interact with random air canisters scattered across the map to make sure you keep filling the head up. There is more than meets the eye with the connection between the head and the air canisters but I will leave that to you to explore and find the secrets within this very quirky narrative. Albeit interesting, there did not seem to be much of a story apart from the body and the head and running around.

I started playing this title knowing I was in for an experience as I am not a hugely experienced puzzler gamer. Still, I dove in head first and wanted to experience everything Airhead had to offer. There is something about side scrollers and their basic controls that makes for what seems like a relaxing experience. It is nice to not have to press multiple buttons to make something happen and wait for recharges and all the rest that comes with most modern games.

Something can be said about simplistic controls where you can move the joystick to move the character and can jump and grab onto things as bob along in a breeze or swim to an area. I needed to keep reminding myself that you can not grab things whilst you have the head attached and then I would forget to fill it up which means it’s ‘all over, Red Rover’. Make one wrong move and you will most likely need to restart.

Airhead is one of those titles where you sometimes need to go forward or backward to find a new way through to progress and also interact with things you wouldn’t expect to cause a chain reaction. As simplistic as the controls are, timing can be hard to master with sometimes the urge to peg the controller across the room overwhelming. Not the best idea I’ve ever had. Frustratingly yet, there is little map or guidance in an overall direction of where to go or what to do. Frustration leviated, I was keen to use my connection with my head to learn the secrets of the map and the abilities it unlocks.

Initially, I was wow’ed by the presentation but the excitement wore off super quickly when I needed to restart the game not far into my first playthrough as I had gone somewhere and got stuck in the environment and I could not leave without leaving the head behind, which is not an option unfortunately.

I’ve always been a fan of these types of sidescrollers just for the pure fact of how graphically interesting they are. This title has bright and vibrant colours that play off dark gloomy shadows to create a very mind scrambling experience.

The wow factor alone of the visuals makes up for some of the more frustrating gameplay. You go from being at the top of a hill looking at the beautiful greens and yellows pumping through the background to being in a dark cave with dark blues and black which adds so much to the experience.

Glowing water textures also highlight the gameplay looking like something you would see in an animated movie or TV show from not so long ago. The developers have done an amazing job of bringing this game alive through the art.

I never thought I would see the day when a game’s sounds could be so bare minimal that it was half relaxing. You load into the world and you hear nothing apart from the steps you take and the occasional crash of rocks. You hear the air squeezing out from the air canisters but apart from atmospheric environmental interactions, it’s silence. I think the developers made a good choice with limited audio as it would have ruined the ambient atmosphere you get as you dive into each environment.

Airhead is a perfect title for someone who loves being immersed in their side-scrolling, puzzle platformers. For someone who is a logical thinker and can think outside the box who enjoys great gameplay and stunning visuals, this is you for.

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The Good

  • Quirky narrative
  • Stunning visuals
  • Simplistic controls
  • Ambient sounds

The Bad

  • Wrong move = Restart
  • Guides non existent

Written by: Hayden Nelson


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