Levelhead is a 2D platformer maker that hit the scene last year via Steam Early Access and now, it's available for Xbox One and Switch but was it worth the wait? Let's make some levels and find out.
In Levelhead, you create and upload your very own levels to share with the community while building your very own following. It can be interesting just to look at the metrics for your levels such as the number of plays, likes, and if anyone actually beat it after you've uploaded a particularly difficult level. You can also play the community levels and there are 2 places where you can do so: the marketing department and the tower but I'll get to those in a bit. You can also play levels via a level code and it can be fun to share your courses with others over social media. Thankfully, there are already a ton of levels that you can play right now even though it only just released on console. Because of this, I suspect that the levels are synchronised across all platforms.
The story of Levelhead is really silly. You are GR-18, a package delivery robot who works for the Bureau of Shipping but sadly, GR-18 isn't trained so you have to train him by guiding him through deviously designed Bureau training levels. In each level, you win by delivering the package to the pad at the end of each level. The package can be at the beginning, the end, or anywhere in between so can you find it? You can also do some interesting techniques with the package such as using it as a platform while standing on spikes.
Levelhead features baddies, upgrades, cannons, spikes, switches, and more. If you can name it, it's probably somewhere in Levelhead in some form. Most of the upgrades and enemies have goofy back-stories that you'll hear during training. For instance, Bureau engineers decided that it would be a good idea to have GR-18 shoot its face out of its head as a projectile. The Bureau engineers were so innovative that they didn't even know what problem that upgrade even solves. Of course, I laughed out loud during that one.
In each Employee Training level, you can collect all of the gold jems, gather 4 bugs, and free some poor GR-17s whose arms aren't long enough to reach the escape buttons. Did I mention how silly the story can be? Surely, the Bureau of Shipping is too stupid to actually exist in any plausible sci-fi universe. Anyway, I finished in 10 hours but I'm still a long way from 100%. By the way, some level editor parts are unlocked through Employee Training and you'll have to play almost to the end before you can unlock all of them.
Levelhead has a brilliant level editor that lets you make almost any level that you can think of from casual platformer experiences to ultra-precise "getting over it" levels and do-nothing levels to crazy contraptions that can do surprising things. Contraptions make it all possible and you can use many types of switches like levers and eye, jem, and battle switches. Then, you can connect those switches to various mechanisms like gates, keys, or fireballs. Yes, you can have a switch that fills the entire map with fireballs if you want to. Portals are also a huge convenience since you can pretty much teleport anything you want to anywhere.
There are only 4 backdrops and I wish there were a few more. Each backdrop also has 5 unique music tracks. Your level is a square that can be up to 255 squares long on one side and it can't have more than 10,000 squares in total. For example, if the width is 200 squares, the height can't exceed 50 squares. Thankfully, this is enough to create some very long levels.
If you can think of something that you want to use, Levelhead probably has it in some form. However, the level editor isn't perfect and there are still a few things that I wish they'd work out. For example, I wanted to make a platform that moves along a path but I couldn't. Either I'm missing something or this is a huge oversight. I also wish weather actually did something as I wanted to make a horrendously difficult wind level but sadly, that just isn't possible. There is weather but it's merely visual.
In the gameplay video below, I show off a soul-crushing level that I made where you need to hover through a maze of spikes with the Ripcord. The level code is 4025m27 in case you want to try it for some reason. Good luck beating my best time! Do you have any levels for me to try? Feel free to mention them in the comments below and I'll be sure to check them out!
The Marketing Department and the Tower
When you make levels and upload them, they go to the marketing department which is simply a big list of levels sorted by how many marketing bucks each one has. You never know what kind of levels you'll find. Anyway, you earn marketing bucks by playing levels and you can use them to tip your own levels or tip other creators' levels. The marketing department doesn't have any filters at all which is weird but once a level receives enough plays, it moves on to the tower. There, you can search by various filters such as how long it is, the difficulty level (cakewalk, easy, challenging, intense, ludicrous, and uncleared), or the level type (beginner-friendly, musical, and such). Again, no one has to like or even clear your level for it to move on to the tower, it only has to receive enough plays.
Levelhead is one of the best platformers so far this year. If Butterscotch Shenanigans fixes some annoying issues that I had with the level editor then I'd consider it golden. Also, I wish there were a few more features like extra power-ups, backdrops, and a world maker with multiple levels but it's still an incredible game and I highly recommend it.
- + Huge and comprehensive level editor
- + Marketing department makes it easy for your level to get played
- + Employee Training has tons of collectibles
- - Couple of annoying level creation issues
- - Switches are sometimes hard to set up
- - I wish there were a few more features