What if you controlled the news? You determined what was made public knowledge or swept under the rug? During an international crisis, that is exactly how Headliner: NoviNews begins. The second in the Headliner games, Headliner: NoviNews seems to refine the series to a higher shine. With the Nintendo Switch release, let’s look into it.
You’re the new Headliner and its your job to deliver the news you believe as important to the people. You’ll begin each day at NoviNews, a news network that citizens trust (unless you give them a reason not to…) and end it walking down the street to your apartment, stopping to chat with various NPCs and at different locations. The main aspects may sound meticulous, but as you push certain news stories the world around you will slowly, or sometimes very quickly, change. Your word spreads fast, and can shape the nation.
Normally in many similar games, I felt that my choices didn’t really matter, and that I got the same ending. Headliner actively fought against that notion. I’ve done multiple runs so far, each different than the last.
Each making new decisions, and rarely getting the same result. Trying to get a “perfect” run feels impossible, but every time you make a positive change, it actually feels important and feels good.
Headliner: NoviNews is meant to be played multiple times, as the game will let you know. Each run has taken me personally about two hours, perfect for an afternoon or evening after work where you just want a good story and interesting characters.
One of the first things I noticed about Headliner while looking into the title before reviewing it, was the style. The gameplay itself has an interesting voxel-ish 3D look, not entirely unlike the sort you’d see in many VR titles, but the character cutscenes have fantastic 2D art that really helps you see a character’s style. One of my personal favorite characters are Rudy, the local shop owner, and his daughter. They have an interesting difference in appearance, but still are obviously related.
The sound design is nice, but nothing particularly amazing. The soundtrack has a heavy heart to it, and I did like hearing the whispers of people as I walked by, as well as the shouts during riots, but overall while it’s good, the sound wasn’t anything particularly amazing.
I would like to give credit to Unbound Creations for the character file at the start of the game. While the actual character customization options aren’t particularly amazing, the options for your pronouns are a nice and welcoming inclusion, something that I hope to see more titles latch onto.
Headliner: NoviNews was interesting when I first heard about it, but for some reason it never clicked. As soon as I started playing it though, I understood why its won as many awards as it has. The characters all feel real, and over your mutliple runs, you’ll get attached to them, even the non-human ones. The concept of “fake news” in the current political situation along with how it can turn the public opinion is for sure an interesting narrative, and it was interesting to see even when putting out questionable info for a good reason, the results.
I can’t recommend Headliner: NoviNews enough, and look forward to completing more runs. I’d especially liken it to a similar title, Papers Please, and hope that if you give it a chance, you’ll share your thoughts with us.
Good luck Headliner.
Code was provided by Unbound Creations for purpose of review/content creation.
||Interesting characters and world provide reasons to come back over and over again.|
||Differing but similar dialogue makes each run feel familiar, but still different.|
||The inclusion of pronoun options!|
||At time, art assets can seem to glitch onto the screen if you're scrolling through text too fast.|