Headmaster PlayStation VR Review
Publisher: Frame Interactive Developer: Frame Interactive Genre: Sports Players: 1-6
Age Rating: 12+ Other console/handheld formats: N/A
Sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most fun, and this is definitely true in the case of gaming. There have been tons of games over the years that are genius in the way that they offer simplicity as well as extended amounts of fun, and these are the types of games that are always fun to experience with others.
Thanks to the PlayStation VR’s social screen feature, the brilliantly titled Headmaster is a fun and simple party game that can still be enjoyed and experienced with others. There’s good reason that the developer of the game has described Headmaster as the strange lovechild of Portal and Wii Sports. The simplicity of the game comes in the form of heading virtual footballs that get fired towards your head, knocking them towards a net or other objects in the environment, such as extra points and multipliers.
The beauty of Headmaster is that it makes wonderful use of PlayStation VR, and it’s also a game that allows you to play completely hands-free once you are off the main menu screen. Heading the ball gives you full control as to where you want it to go, with you being able to use your forehead, the sides of your head, and even the top of your head to direct its path. There’s also the potential for powerful or more subtle shots, which is handy for when the situation calls for each different method. I never had the feeling that any misdirected balls were a result of the game itself, as it really does give you full control, with any mistakes being your fault as opposed to any serious tracking issues. The ball physics are also excellent, which makes the game as fun to watch as it is to play.
The game takes place in a heading facility in a Football Improvement Center, with all challenges taking place at night on a floodlit pitch that is ominously surrounded by barb wire and watchtowers. The game also has a sarcastic sense of humour that adds a lot of personality to the game, and here’s where the Portal inspiration comes into play. The man that runs the center speaks over a loudspeaker, and with his sharp wit and dry humour, he reminded me of GLaDOS from the Portal series. There’s also Carl, an apparently disgruntled worker who is responsible for putting together the trials you’ll face in the game, and you’ll also receive notes from him that he suggests you shouldn’t tell his boss about. The game is lots of fun by itself, but the humour makes things even more fun.
Headmaster has various challenges for you to take part in, and the slogan of the game is that improvement is mandatory. This means that the man on the other end of the loudspeaker expects you to put some effort in to each and every challenge, and you’ll have to receive at least one out of three stars to move on to the next challenge. This is one game that definitely tests your skills.
Some challenges have you heading balls towards an empty net, other challenges have you facing the silhouette of a keeper, there’s one that has you knocking balls towards a swinging piñata in order to break it, another has you directing coloured balls through coloured hoops, and there’s even some challenges that involve exploding balls, and so on. For a game with such a simple idea, Headmaster certainly has a pleasing amount of variation, and this means that the game never gets boring.
When you gather enough stars, you’ll be able to participate in an exam, and sometimes you’ll find yourself having to return to earlier challenges in order to win more stars to unlock these challenging tests. It’s a fine structure, and certainly fits very well with the improvement is mandatory slogan that the game carries, although such a system can also prove to be a barrier to slow your progress, which might be frustrating for some.
The game also has a multiplayer mode, and while it’s fun playing in a group of up to six players and is another addictive way to play, options are really quite limited, with only a single challenge to play right now. There’s at least three others on the way though, which should help add some legs to the mode.
Visually, Headmaster looks really quite nice. With beaming floodlights, and being placed into the dark before each new challenge, I also found it to be a very atmospheric game, and the sound is excellent as well. The caw of a resident crow, the sound of the lights switching on and off, and the ball bouncing off objects makes things feel oddly lonely, with only your invisible instructor keeping you company.
Headmaster is a simple game, although it takes time to master its more intricate challenges, but whether winning or lose, this is a game that is just fun to play and is also very addictive. If you are looking for a game that shows off the capabilities of the PlayStation VR headset but is also enjoyable to play, then Headmaster may just be the game for you.