I've never played an Adult Swim game other than the goofy flash title from ages ago -- Robot Unicorn Attack, I must admit I wasn't expecting much. What I will tell you now is how very wrong I was with it all. Head Lander is a simple, brilliant, GORGEOUS game to which I had the absolute pleasure in playing.
The story is pretty simple. You're a head. A head without a body to be exact. One of the first things upon playing that you discover is that since you have no lungs, you're unable to speak as well. This puts you into one of my favorite heroic categories: The Silent Protagonist. You might remember such members of the month including Link from the Zelda series, Gordon Freeman from Half Life, or perhaps Chell from a little title known as Portal. In any case, when you have a game that chooses to leave you silent, it becomes apparent that the story is told around you in many different ways. In Head Lander, you've awoken after being cryogenically frozen only to find out the terrible Methuselah has enslaved human consciousness inside robots for some terrible plan.
The menus took me off guard not knowing what exactly to expect from this game in the first place. Instantly you feel you're transported into some super 70's sci-fi flick with the burnt oranges, sound effects, tracking lines and clever way it's all put together. Hitting play, you dive into these amazingly beautiful worlds, so easy to navigate from the perfectly smooth controls. You would think flying a severed head around would be difficult, but it's quite the opposite--and crazy fun. It's a simple puzzle game of opening doors with the right colours attached which means you have to plop your head on other robots walking around the place. This isn't limited to the citizens or soldiers either--cleaning bots, information bots, hell, opening doors a lot of the times means you have to plug yourself into some computer system. It's completely off the wall, and so well thought out.
Try not to lose your head in combat
The combat can be quite clever too. When you attach yourself to a robot that job is to carry a weapon, your abilities range with said weapon. Different colours are more tough than the last, or created more bounces with your laser beam. Since in a lot of the case of stealth or combat here is to line up a shot with your laser, you often end up playing a pocket game of Snooker just trying to shoot the other guy. If guns aren't your thing, you can usually just zoom up with avoiding the shots whizzing past and literally suck the head from your opponent right off rendering them useless. Guns blazing isn't always the best idea, but what I really like about this game is that it lets you try without penalizing you too much.
You even get a little talent tree to dump points for upgrades in so you can become a more, uh....efficient head. Around the levels, you'll find cheeky vents hiding which have upgrades outside of the talent tree. It doesn't take you long to really beef the little guy up, and quite appropriately the areas scale to all the extras you have. Instead of feeling like you're going into God Mode with it, (which I tend to get easily bored of when I'm allowed to do everything around the place) it adds to the complexity of the challenges as most abilities allow you to move from one area to the next.
It's funny, slick and amazingly entertaining. I honestly can't recommend this one enough. The concept is so out of left field that it works seamlessly. The gameplay is ace, the jokes are a good laugh, and the graphics are stunning. Just don't play it in front of little ones...they might start to ask questions as to why that robot is...uh...humping things.