The brain is a complex thing; vast, mysterious, and packed full of drones in ties controlling our thoughts. Or, so says Headspun, a disappointing FMV/management hybrid that has you rebuilding the functions of a man’s mind following an accident. It’s a neat concept, but one marred by glitches, outdated mini-games, and irritatingly immature dialogue.
Your main goal is to navigate the Cortex (essentially a personification of the brain as an office, complete with HR department) to get Theo through each day, discovering more about his life pre-coma. This is achieved by collecting ‘neurocredits’ through mind numbing mini-games. These vary in style but are consistent in their mundanity; a crossword game has you literally doing a crossword, and a dreadfully basic reaction test feels like a relic of sloppy hacking mini-games generations gone by. Despite stimulating Theo’s brain, Headspun’s synaptic point generators don’t exactly excite.
Hiring staff to rebuild brain functions such as dreams and memories allows at least some level of agency and decision making, though these segments are festered with bugs. Inputs don’t select, the screen briefly freezes, and sometimes you’re unable to do anything at all, forcing a reset. Combine these problems with a reliance on those dreadfully dull mini-games to generate credits and Theo’s recovery becomes a chore.
Presentation wise, Headspun fares better. The grungy art style is somewhat charming and the FMV segments, while not exactly Citizen Kane, aren’t bad and succeed in telling a vaguely intriguing story. Regrettably though, characters inside the Cortex are less pleasant, relishing in awkward swears and slurs that taint the compelling theme of the game; the consequence of adult decisions, and what kind of person they turn us into.
Ultimately, you’ll want to pack some paracetamol for this headache.