Every once in a while, a game comes out of left field that I didn’t know I needed in my life. Scouting out the busy floor of The MIX’s GDC event, I laid eyes on Henry Halfhead. The brightly animated puzzle game immediately drew me in. Its absurd premise soars on the back of splendid design, and I couldn’t help singing its praises to anyone who would listen.
Like any respectable half-a-head, Henry sets an alarm to ensure they don’t miss work. This morning’s siren cuts through a tutorial-like dream, and presents my first real challenge. How does a person with no arms hit the snooze button?
Luckily, our hero has the ability to transform into any object they can see. Don’t think about why, just go with it. I pop myself into the buzzing noisemaker and flop around until the batteries fly out. Task failed successfully, I move to cleaning myself up.
There’s no better start to the morning than a hot bath. So I possess the tub’s faucet then plop my partial facade into the soothing water. It’s only then I realize my objective list in the corner hasn’t checked off the task. But of course it hasn’t. There’s no soap in my bath to help me clean. Spotting the cleansing bar out of the corner of my eye, I snap into it and hop back. Swirling around the water creates those big soapy bubbles I need to kick off the day.
Next, I head to the kitchen for some breakfast. This one’s a bit trickier as multiple surfaces are too high for me to reach, some foods are inedible without cooking, and my morning paper will only read itself while I’m inhabiting it.
Marking off my prescribed tasks pushes me to take on almost every form in the room. Jumping in and out of tables lets me scale the counters, haunting the toaster allows me to plug it in and then insert my bread-self for toasting, and packing lunch is a simple matter of taking over an apple and rolling into my open lunch box.
The whole demo is a joy. Sights, sounds, actions, all of them combine in a way that makes it impossible to avoid smiling. Where Henry Halfhead‘s day goes from here is anyone’s guess — probably to work, but who knows what kind of job one can do with so limited a form. Wherever the next steps lead, I’m ready to follow. Especially as the game offers co-op that enables me to share its silly antics with a friend.