Couch Co-Op Indie Headsnatchers is Heading in the Right Direction
Headsnatchers is a party game inspired by Japanese game shows and pop culture where you pop the heads off of your opponents.
Headsnatchers was one of the quirkier titles I got to go hands-on with at PAX East this year. The game reminded me a lot of Gang Beasts. But Headsnatchers manages to use a similar format while also sprinkling in some of its unique mechanics as well as a whole bunch of nods and references to Japanese pop culture.
The primary goal in Headsnatchers is to pop off your opponents’ heads, but maybe you already could’ve guessed that. Taking a head off your opponent doesn’t automatically end a game though, and players without their heads on will still be able to move so they may try and reclaim it from an enemy player. Once a player obtains a head, they’ll usually have to do something with it before letting their opponent take it back. These additional goals range from getting heads to a certain point on the map, dunking them in basketball hoops, feeding them to sharks, and more.
I know this might sound pretty graphic, mercilessly popping your opponents’ heads off, but Headsnatchers has the cutest little player avatars. You can even equip them with their own custom heads or a pre-made one. Two of the best pre-made heads I saw were references to Dragon Ball Z and the Gundam series. The custom character creator is in-depth and offers a ton of options so that you can really personalize your very own avatar. I think it’d be cool if the developer allowed players to share their custom avatars online, similar to how it’s done in a title like Mod Nation Racers.
Every level and character is filled with color, and it’s cool having so much potential for variety in each map. Combat during these matches is straightforward to pick up. But it did feel a little bit clunky at times and, because of this, it’s not as funny as it could be watching characters go at it. I hope it’s a little more refined before launch.
The game has the potential to be a solid couch co-op experience that can be enjoyed by both casual and experienced gamers alike. If you’ve read anything I’ve written before, you might know that I really do appreciate when developers focus on giving players a fantastic couch co-op experience, and I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t really excited to get some friends together to try the game out.
Headsnatchers also has some single-player offerings so that there’ll still be things to do even when you don’t want to go online or have some friends around to play with. The single-player section I got to experience acted as a platformer of sorts. Don’t go in expecting the precision of Super Mario Odyssey, but it is somewhat of a fun distraction that I’m looking forward to exploring more of. There are also some other multiplayer game modes included as well to spice up the fun, I only got to experience the base game mode that I described a little earlier, but I’ll be looking forward to trying out more once the game finally releases.
While it’s clear the Headsnatchers takes some inspiration from Gang Beasts, it does manage to feel unique in a lot of its own ways. If the developers at IguanaBee work to really refine everything that’s included in the game, I think it’ll be a really exciting party title. Aesthetically the game feels unique and fans of Japanese pop culture should really find enjoyment in how much the developer has included. As of right now, Headsnatchers is coming exclusively to console on PS4 as well as PC sometime later this year.