We live in a golden age of electronic entertainment, everywhere we turn there are hundreds of fully interactive, deep, challenging experiences full of three dimensional characters with heavy hearted back-stories pursuing their goals within vast, realistic and realized worlds.
In contrast, Headblaster by Loud Noises raises a middle finger salute and screams out "fuck it - let's take some drugs!" before exploding onto your screen in a short-lived yet riotous cacophony of fun.
In Headblaster you play as a highly stressed out bloke running around his little randomly generated town gobbling up several night clubs worth of hallucinogenic party pills, much like a hyperactive Pac-Man on crack (Crack-Man anyone?). As your stress level slowly builds you become increasingly powerful, yet also closer to death, with munching meds being the only way to maintain your cool. However, the trigger-happy local authorities don't take kindly to your lifestyle choice and pursue with vigour. In your attempt to avoid the 'rozzers' during your quest, you'll also find yourself causing harm to your fellow civilians by running into them, receiving a generous score bonus in return.
Seems a little far-fetched? Try visiting Reading in Hampshire at 2.00AM on a Saturday night - it may well change your mind.
Headblaster takes simple control systems to a whole new level; just aim your mouse cursor in the direction you want the pill-popping hero to run in, and that's it. I did initially find myself wishing that there was a joypad option to give the game a more 'console' feel, but as it stands the twitchiness of the mouse fits the fast and insanely frantic gameplay perfectly.
The low-resolution, crudely pixelled graphics are absolutely brilliant and ideally suited to the game. It's a deliberately coarse experience, with the screen becoming increasingly corrupt and glitched with every passing second. Likewise, the annoyingly catchy high-energy soundtrack is also warped and twisted depending upon which drugs you take and how stressed you are.
With a respectful tip of the hat to the past and high-five to the future, where it lacks in longevity and depth Headblaster more than makes up for with drug-fuelled, unadulterated fun. I doubt you'll be playing for very long but I can promise that you'll be laughing like a head-case the entire time.
Download the game here (from Loud Noises' Game Jolt page).