Platformer games with level building have seen resurgence in the past years with the release of Super Mario Maker and other games influenced by it. One of such games is Levelhead, developed and published by the indie team Butterscotch Shenanigans for every platform, mobile included.
Levelhead’s story revolves around the player, an employee of the Levelhead division in the Bureau of Shipping, the galaxy’s premier delivery corporation. As part of this division, the player must teach their own GR-18 model, a robot tasked with package delivery. In order to do so, the player will have to guide GR-18 through levels designed to teach it how to do fulfil its task, while also building and sharing their own.
Following the trend set by other games from the same developer, Levelhead’s story features tons of humor and oomph, enough to make almost anyone laugh along. Staying in this trend, the game also features their characteristic art style, with colorful and vibrant models for everything. All objects, backgrounds and characters are well designed and really unique, being easily distinguishable from each other.
Most of the story and details about the game’s world are relayed through several cutscenes found in the Tutorial mode, which introduce enemies and mechanics as the player progresses, all of them fully voiced, which perfectly combines with the music employed for them. These music choices also shine during the game as a whole, comprising a really high quality soundtrack from which the player can pick and mix songs for their own levels.
Now, Levelhead’s gameplay is a whole beast of its own, featuring precision platforming as smooth as butter. The controls are slick and precise, featuring a low skill floor and a decently high skill ceiling; with enough practice and positioning players can attempt all sorts of unexpected movements.
To get players started, Levelhead includes the previously mentioned Tutorial mode, which in any other game would be considered a campaign or game of its own, with over 90 unique levels featured. As it’s to be expected, these levels get harder as the player progresses, while also unlocking new items to use in the editor mode later on. The mode is highly replayable as well, offering collectables and speed-running challenges accessible to everyone.
Once the player has gotten accustomed to the controls and mechanics, they can choose to dive in player created content. To do so they may opt to play the games featured in The Tower, a player curated library of levels, which can also be played in succession through the randomly generated playlists the game offers.
If in contrast a player prefers to play lesser known levels, their wish will be fulfilled thanks to the Marketing Division, where levels are first uploaded before graduating to the tower. For this to happen, levels have to receive enough Exposure Bucks, a currency players may obtain by just playing other user generated levels.
Both modes feature plenty of filtering options, allowing players to pick games that appeal to their specific tastes. These may go from nerve-wracking delightfully precise levels to easy stroll-through-in-the-park ones, with everything in the middle.
But now, if a player is the creative kind, they might want to build their own level, something they can easily do through either Daily Build or the Workshop. The first of these two features an arranged set of blocks for the players to build with, while the latter allows complete freedom with all of the unlocked blocks.
Upon starting to build a level, there is loads stuff that can be done. While the block repertoire might not be as broad as in the Mario Maker games, Levelhead still features a good amount of them with ample customization options to make them unique. It is worth noting some of these actually draw inspiration if not directly mimic said game, but Levelhead proudly wears such influence on its sleeve.
Another point in favor of the game is it includes cross-play between all platforms, a player might start building on their PC only to go and play on their Switch or phone later on, continuing from the point they left. All this completely independent of any premium online services such as Switch Online, done instead thanks to the Rumpus service build by the developers, which only requires creating an account.
As a mostly irrelevant mention, except for those that might have played other Butterscotch Shenanigans games, there are a bunch of references to their other games sprinkled around, for example Floppy Rocket’s rocket or Flux’ cameo in a poster.
Overall, Levelhead is a really high quality indie game which will more than please any fan of the platforming genre, whether they may be interested in building levels or just playing them. It features superb graphics and sound with enticing gameplay, giving the player their money’s worth.
I find worth mentioning that while I played the game on Switch for this review, I have previously beta tested both the PC and Mobile versions. Saying so, I can guarantee everything mentioned in this review applies to these other versions as well, though it’s worth mentioning the controls on mobile are worse, though it was to be expected since they had to be applied to a way smaller screen.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 10/10
Replay Value - 10/10
Levelhead is a really high quality indie game which will more than please any fan of the platforming genre, whether they may be interested in building levels or just playing them.
- Great gameplay, graphics and sound
- Some blocks or items may feel similar to those featured in other games of the genre.