The idea behind the game is clever-enough, but the gameplay just doesn’t live up to the hype.
HEDZ is based on a very simple notion, shoot your opponents and steal their heads. While collecting heads, players must work their way through a series of maze-like levels each featuring a new variety of enemy heads to conquer and collect. There are 225 different heads to acquire in the game, each with its own set of characteristics and fighting abilities. Players can take up to six different heads with them into each level, and choosing which heads to bring is a big part of the game’s overall strategy. Unfortunately, HEDZ has pinned so much hope on this one central idea that it seemingly forgot to develop the rest of the game.
Although the game can be fun in a pick-up-and-play kind of way, the idea behind HEDZ begins to breakdown in the fact that most of the heads offer no real discernible advantage over the others. The only real difference between most is in their appearance and the weapon that comes with them. To add further insult, most of the weapons come up way short in the excitement department. Each head features a few other characteristics such as speed, jumping abilities, toughness, and overall power, but the difference in most is practically negligible. There are a few notable exceptions later in the game, but not too many.
Where HEDZ could have made up some of the difference in the under-powered action is in its level design. Unfortunately, most of the design is equally lackluster. In fact, many of the challenges built into the levels simply bring the attention back to the action by requiring the player to defeat certain opponents for their keys, which consequently open a door or do some similar thing to open up the rest of the level. If there had been more of a challenge built directly into navigating the levels themselves then the game could have had more to go on. As is, HEDZ is stuck somewhere between an adventure game and an underdeveloped arena fighter, which works fine in multi-player, but leaves something to be desired for the single player.
One final place where HEDZ falters is in its stiff and unforgiving game control. For the most part, its easy enough to get around the large 3D environments, but the rigid controls seem to consistently find a way to slow the pace of the action.
If there’s one aspect of HEDZ that does deserve credit it�s the music. This could have easily been yet another generic techno soundtrack, but instead features a soul-heavy groove, which does more than its fair share to drive the action and sell the character of the game. If only the rest of the game showed as much forethought and innovation.
HEDZ is one of those rare games which doesn’t really miss by much in anything it tries to do, but misses just often enough that the combination of misfires adds up to a serious problem. Although there is probably something to the idea behind the game, the execution of HEDZ fails to bring out the magic in the concept.