Reviews - Updated on April 9, 2022

Something strange is going on in the head of a guy named Theo who got into an accident. In his damaged brain, there is a whole organization “Cortex”, where the voice of reason Ted, the voice of Teddy’s subconscious live, there are departments like a memory bank and a control room – at first you don’t even understand that the Headspun action takes place in someone’s skull, and not in a large companies. In the role of Ted, constantly communicating with Teddy, the player needs to improve the mental state of Theo lying in the hospital, watching what is happening from his eyes and making decisions.

Cockroaches in my head

Since the main character got into an accident and hit his head hard, the fictional Cortex is going through hard times: blood everywhere, corpses, broken doors and elevators, nothing really functions. Ted decides to fix the situation – he will hire new staff, fix everything that needs to be fixed, and at the same time he will remotely help Theo recover and not lose his mind. It is he who will make all decisions and determine all the actions of his owner – both in dialogues with visitors and beyond.

The story in Headspun is divided into several days, almost all of which share the same structure. You wake up in your office, walk through the corridors of the Cortex, get to the control center and you can wake up Theo. Then you watch some scene with a friend or doctor who came to visit him, after that you do the exercises, and at the end of the day Theo goes to bed, while you return to your room. Although a couple of entertainment in the evening is still unlocked, but more on that later.

The moments when you spend time with the victim are the most important – at this time you earn a currency called neurocredits. It’s used for everything from hiring staff to gaining access to new rooms (they can’t be refurbished until you’ve spent the money) to buying decorations like an alarm clock that wakes Ted up an hour earlier than usual. Over time, all sorts of scientific research is opened that simplifies the gameplay, and they are very expensive.

Weekdays of the patient

You don’t have to pay attention to everything to complete Headspun, but these processes are so primitive that they quickly turn into a routine. Here you have finished your working day and return to the office to sleep. On the way, go to the personnel department, buy new rooms, invite a couple of volunteers – the end. What was enough, then purchased, tomorrow there will be more money and more opportunities. During the next shift, you invite hired people, give them orders (to fix the toilet, for example), they leave and automatically do everything.Headspun game review

People really care about the condition of the protagonist.

The same thing happens with shifts when you practice with Theo and tell him what to do. New entertainments open up gradually: at first you can only read a book, then you can solve crossword puzzles and lift dumbbells. There are very few activities, and the mini-games are quite funny. Instead of Sudoku, here are math exercises for first graders, where you are asked to add 5 and 3, you never even have to subtract. With dumbbells, you press X many times, and then “Triangle” – and so on until the hero gets tired. While reading, you need to press the button in time when the bar on the scale is above the brain icon.

The most interesting thing is solving crossword puzzles when you are shown two intersecting words with a missing common letter. Here they obviously tried to choose words so that one of them could have several options, and this is a fun exercise in knowing the English language. They promise to add Russian localization later, but it is unlikely that there will be the same tricky puzzles. The slower you do everything, the less money you will earn, and therefore it is much more profitable to drive the brain while reading a book than to mess with some letters.

Due to how small the choice is and how monotonous it all is, the shifts are less and less exciting – you get to the command center to do the same thing that you did a few minutes ago. You can get distracted by upgrades by increasing passive income (money will be added to the piggy bank automatically every hour) or increasing the number of neurocredits received (they are given for each solved puzzle or action performed in mini-games), but this is a couple of clicks – then you return to the books again and dumbbells. The idea is good, but the execution is a mess.

In the building itself, outside the control center, there is nothing to do. The corridors are empty, and occasionally employees passing by have nothing to talk about – they exchanged a couple of phrases and moved on. If you completely repair a room, you can enter it and immediately exit, since nothing will appear in it either. There are very rare exceptions, but in most cases, these rooms are only needed for relevant achievements and completing tasks with useless rewards.

Headspun game review

During the dialogues, the characters do not even turn to face each other.

They are alive!

But it’s time to talk about the main component of Headspun – videos with live actors. The creators did not recruit many people: there are only four characters here – the main character, the visiting doctor girl and best friend, as well as a character who appears closer to the middle of the passage. Scenes with actors are always shown at the very beginning of the shift, after Ted and Teddy have talked enough – their unvoiced dialogues can drag on for about five minutes. With actors, the episodes are not so long, and they even have the ability to choose answers, although it does not affect anything.

The idea, in fact, is excellent: on the one hand, we have a real world in which real people live, and on the other, the cartoonish mind of the protagonist, where the main action takes place. The actors are trying, the story is a little intriguing (there is at least one interesting plot twist), but all this is devoid of any depth. A simple gameplay, which only in the learning process seems overloaded with possibilities, crosses out all attempts by developers to offer something unique and non-standard – if the gameplay itself is mediocre, no matter what you build around it, everything will fade.

However, Headspun’s biggest problem is not even in the gameplay, but in an unrealistic number of bugs. The game is so unstable that I even wrote down on a piece of paper every defect I encountered. The whole list will not fit in one paragraph. I fixed the elevator that would take the hero directly from his office to the control center, but after the first time it stopped working. Sometimes when visiting a room, leaving it, I found myself at a completely different door. Subtitles in videos with actors are constantly late or do not appear. In multi-choice mini-games, it is sometimes impossible to choose anything, and the same happens in the dialogues in the bar. And many many others.

It’s called Sudoku here.

***

The last bug I found was at the end of the passage, when I reached the point of no return and the game asked if I really want to start the last shift, or if there is a desire to once again take a walk along the corridors. However, nothing could be selected in this window – the buttons were not highlighted.

None of the possible solutions helped to pass Headspun to the end. For this, you should put “Garbage”, because the game is impassable due to the inability of the testers to do their job qualitatively (or their complete absence, which is more likely), but let the final score still be higher – patches will surely fix this shortcoming. This is an unusual game in which there are bright moments, but the clumsiness of many elements greatly spoils it.

Pros: unusual idea; intriguing story; not the worst actors.

Cons: monotonous and sometimes primitive gameplay; very few mini-games, and they are all miserable; the game does not reward anything interesting for completing tasks; phenomenal amount of bugs.

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