If being on Santa’s naughty list is this much fun, I’m never going back on the nice list.
Headbangers In Holiday Hell is a 2.5D (ish) twin-stick shooter from Hammers & Ravens, the publisher of the excellent indie game Empires in Ruins. (which I’d highly recommend if you’re into tower defence games). The developers behind the game say that they were influenced by heavy metal music and shows like Beavis and Butthead
You play an unknown character who looks suspiciously like Motorhead legend Lemmy Kilmister. Your mission is to save hostages (headbangers like yourself) being held by little freaky elves and blast your way through all the stuff that Christmas stands for including elves, tinsel machinery, fake Santas and the big bearded guy himself. And all to the heavy metal soundtrack pumping through your speakers.
This is a classic hack and slash game. You walk and blast your enemies and move forward to the next swarm of ‘bad’ guys. I say ‘bad’ because essentially you are the anti-hero here. You have an array of weapons at your disposal, including a flamethrower which is pretty glorious to use. Watch out for traps though, as there are some to look out for. The enemies are pretty unforgiving too, so don’t expect to just blast your way through.
The aim of Headbangers in Holiday Hell is to free hostages (who you untie when standing next to them) while taking no bullshit from those freaky little elves.
Ammunition is kinda limited and although you get credits to buy more you have to balance that between buying ammo or upgrading your weaponry and relying on drops to get the ammo you need. Run out of ammo and you have to melee your enemies into submission.
And of course, there are the boss fights. You better hope you have some ammo when you get there, otherwise, you are screwed.
You can tell that the humour is tongue in cheek and is inspired by juvenile humour comedies like Beavis and Butthead. Sure, it gets a little repetitive but when you’re having so much fun playing it you don’t really notice too much.
The difficulty level is pretty harsh, but the deaths you suffer only prompt you to try harder to get through it and seems about right. The pacing too is pretty much spot on. It’s not too frenetic but doesn’t drag along either so you have a steady flow to the game.
Graphics and Music
The graphics in the game are fresh and kinda 2.5D isometric view. Pixel Art is utilised well here and with the pacing being just about right you feel that it’s put together nicely. The animation transitions work really well here, particularly the effects of your weaponry.
One of the most glorious things in Headbangers in Holiday Hell is the music. It brings the heavy metal thunder that inspired the game in the first place. The music goes hand in hand with the pacing of the game and you always feel that pulse motivating you forward through the game. Again the music does get a little repetitive at times.
This was a fun little game to play, better than I expected it to be. It has its flaws (slightly repetitive gameplay and music) but these can be forgiven simply because the game is so much fun to play. I love the graphics and the soundtrack and have spent a fair bit of time playing Headbangers in Holiday Hell through. No major bugs making the game unplayable like you get with some AAA titles these days.
If you’re looking for a game that tests your mind with puzzles, you’re looking in the wrong place here. It’s like one of those trashy movies where it’s more about entertaining you than making you think, and in that sense it does it’s job perfectly
the perfect antidote to Christmas.