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Airhead: A Platformer with Promising Visuals and Frustrating Gameplay

Airhead is a newly announced platformer that showcases beautiful visuals with vibrant colors and an eerie atmosphere. The game features deep caverns, sun-drenched mountains, and strange creatures reminiscent of those from other unique titles like Dredge and Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet. However, despite its potential, Airhead falls short in delivering a truly refreshing experience.

One of the frustrations with Airhead is the lack of clear direction. Poor signposting, such as in the first area, leads to confusion and unnecessary detours. For example, a rock that can be pushed to climb up a nearby ledge only leads to useless air canisters that emit unpleasant sounds. The correct path involves pushing the rock in the opposite direction, revealing a hidden passage that provides access to another ledge. The game fails to communicate this fundamental mechanic effectively.

Moreover, Airhead suffers from difficulty in interpreting visual cues. In one instance, encountering a harmless squid-like creature near a purple blob gives the impression of an enemy to avoid. However, the creature does not react when approached and swimming near it becomes necessary to progress. Such inconsistencies make it challenging to predict how pathways will open and impede the ability to solve puzzles.

Airhead's defining feature is the inflatable head that players carry, obtained by literally mincing another creature. Unfortunately, the inflated head quickly deflates over time unless it is replenished with air canisters found throughout the levels. These canisters also serve as save points. The burden of managing both the character's mortality and the need for air becomes frustrating, leading to a pressurized environment of timed puzzle-solving that pairs poorly with unreadable play spaces.

In conclusion, Airhead's impressive visual design is overshadowed by its frustrating gameplay mechanics. The lack of clear direction, inadequate visual cues, and pressure to manage the character's inflatable head make for a frustrating experience. While the game can be played for free on Steam, potential players should be prepared for a frustrating and challenging experience.

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