Tuesday, 21 August 2018 09:00

Headsnatchers Early Access Review

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Headsnatchers is a four-player party game developed by the Chilean team IguanaBee and published by Iceberg Interactive. I only bring up the nationality of the team because, at first blush, it appears to be a Japanese game. The main menu options are written in both English and Japanese, and the mascots all have faces made of Japanese characters. The gameplay itself brings to mind the Japanese game show Takeshi's Castle, or as we know it better in the West, Most Extreme Elimination Challenge.

The game is divided into small mini-games wherein you have to pop the head off of another player and achieve some goal with it. Often, this is some kind of sport, such as kicking it into a goal or feeding it to a golden idol. This will remove the beheaded player from play for the duration of the round. Typically, the last player standing wins. This one-and-done elimination method can lead to boring bouts with only two players but really shines with a full complement of four players.

Ways to Get A Head

The game does have a single-player mode, however. Zombie castle sees you storm a series of progressively difficult platforming levels. While they utilize the same mechanics as the mini-games (tearing heads off zombies, avoiding dogs, and the like) it really doesn't capture the same sense of gameplay that the party modes offer.

There are three modes in which you can behead your friends. The primary mode is Tornado, wherein you select the stages you want to play in order, and it's a free-for-all to be the first to win so many matches. Next is Roulette, which is a similar premise to Tornado, but the stages are randomly selected and is only the first to five wins. Finally, there is Tag Team, allowing a two-on-two match with your friends.


Oddly enough, you can't play any of the party modes against a series of AI opponents. All of them require at least two players to function. This is ameliorated a bit by the online mode, but as of this writing, it appears that the online community for this game is rather small. Further, while there is a myriad of different heads, and ways to customize your own, when the heads are off it is very difficult to differentiate who is who in the level. Tag Team also seems a little limited, with there only being four levels, all of which are the sports-related levels.

Moreover, there are a few technical issues with the game. Roulette seems to not track points for who wins the rounds, for example. Also, you are sometimes prompted to press a button when you are still out of range for the associated action. Granted, the game is still currently in Early Access, so perhaps by the time it makes it to full release, these issues will have been ironed out.


The Verdict: Good

Headsnatchers is a great time when played with a group of friends. I would have mentioned the music had I been able to hear it over our laughing, taunting, and carrying on. However, with less than that, it can be a little underwhelming. It's a worthwhile purchase if you're looking for an alternative to a board game night or party entertainment for a small group and are willing to support a title still in development.

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John Gerritzen

John Gerritzen is a programmer by education, author by hobby, and game critic by occupation. While he usually favors RPGs, he will play anything that engages him narratively or mechanically. When he's not playing games for fun or profit, he's usually reading or watching anime.