You're Just a Weird Little Guy in This New Battle Royale Indie on Xbox Game Pass
Keep the beat.
When Fall Guys launched in 2020, it was a revelation. Battle royale games had been rising for years as some of the most popular multiplayer games around, letting massive groups of players compete in a bloody battle for supremacy. But then Fall Guys asked: what if instead of shooting each other with assault rifles, a battle royale could just be about hanging out with a bunch of weird little guys?
Now, there’s a new contender in the weird little guys sub
The twist here is that all the mini-games are themed around music and rhythm, as the name implies. Also, all the competitors are pigeons for some reason.
Each match of Headbangers comprises of four mini-games. From a pool of 30 contenders, the lowest scorers drop out after each round, until one is crowned champion. With 23 mini-games at launch, you can play quite a few matches without seeing any repeats.
Headbangers’ mini-games are a real mixed bag. While they’re loosely about rhythm and music, the connection feels more tenuous in some than in others. There are plenty of variations of “Hit the button to the beat,” but many more use music in other ways. For instance, “Guilty” shows a lineup of pigeons in garb that represents different musical styles, then plays a music clip and asks you to match it to the right outfit.
A lot of the games in Headbangers are actually more about memory than rhythm. One challenges you to memorize and match the movements of a fitness instructor, another shows you an increasingly complex pattern on a whack-a-mole game, then asks you to recreate it. None of that is necessarily a bad thing, it’s just not quite as much about rhythm as players might assume at first. And since rounds only last a few minutes at most, even if you get stuck in a game you don’t like, you’ll be on to a potentially better one before long.
At the end of each match, you’ll be awarded points — called Crumbs, given the whole pigeon thing Headbangers has going on — that you can use to buy new cosmetic items. Even just a few rounds in, I had enough mutton chops, spandex exercise gear, cowboy hats, and other assorted nonsense to build some appropriately heinous outfits to stand out from the crowd.
It would be harder to recommend Headbangers as a paid game, but it feels like a perfect pick for Xbox Game Pass. Matches are quick, easy to jump into, and pack enough variety to offer some surprises in short sessions. And since the mini-games are more about your own performance in rhythm and memory tests than directly fighting other players, it could be a good choice for the shooter-averse or anyone who wants to try out a more casual battle royale. You can create lobbies of your own to invite friends if you’d prefer to play together.
All of this makes Headbangers a perfect multiplayer game to dip into when you’re looking for some challenging but low-stress fun and don’t necessarily want to make it a daily activity. Being on Game Pass draws a huge built-in audience, addressing what can be a make-or-break factor in any online game.
And as with other online games, Headbangers will likely be a very different experience even a few months from now. Glee-Cheese has already announced that Season 2 of Headbangers will start this December, and a new game mode will join the mix sometime in 2024. The core of Headbangers is already a fun, silly grab bag of mini-games that’s worth diving into at least for a while.
Whether or not it evolves into something that stands the test of time, it’s a great game to unwind with for now.