The 2016 top-download exploration RPG Crashlands was very good, but as we noted in our review it was also “tuned for a mobile experience” first and foremost. Developer Butterscotch Shenanigans announced the followup, Levelhead, in March 2019, and after a year in Early Access it went into full release today.
Levelhead shares the same underlying universe as Crashlands—you’re still an employee of the Bureau of Shipping, “the galaxy’s premiere package delivery corporation”—but instead of an action RPG, it’s a platformer. There’s a full-on singleplayer campaign with more than 90 levels, leaderboards, and bonus content like unlockable avatars. Importantly, while it’s available on PC, consoles, and mobile, it’s designed with a much greater emphasis on feeling “at home” on each platform. I’ve tried it, and unlike Crashlands, it doesn’t feel like it was built for a touchscreen interface and then ported to PC.
The biggest emphasis, though, is on the game’s built-in level maker, which enables builders to play with everything from basic enemies and paths to programmable switches, customizable weather, special powers, bosses, and more. Custom-built levels are shared through Levelhead’s “Marketplace,” and are cross-platform, so all players have access to them regardless of what they’re playing on. Cross-save and co-op crossplay are also supported, and the editor also supports co-op creation.
The Marketplace even has its own in-game economy: Playing other people’s levels earns you Exposure Bucks, which you can then use to tip creators in varying amounts. The more Exposure Bucks a level earns, the higher it’s placed on the custom level list, but otherwise you can’t actually do anything with it—it’s just, you know, exposure.
I’m not especially good at precision platformers, to put it gently, but Levelhead might be one that holds my attention. The campaign levels are filled with secrets and shortcuts, and even though it’s only been available in Early Access until today there’s already a very hefty number of user-made levels to work through as well, some of them very complex and challenging. It also continues with the same goofball humor as previous Butterscotch Shenanigans games, which I really enjoy: There’s a weird kind of joyousness to all of them, and it’s out in full force here.