Review – ElecHead (Switch)

For as much as we talk about the juggernaut that is the Japanese gaming industry, we barely, if ever, hear about indie developers coming from that country that often. Sure, Suda51 might be a massive defender of indie gaming, but his own studio is big enough to attract contracts and publishing deals from bigger companies. That might stem from the country’s corporate-heavy mentality, as we almost never see a small indie hit coming from Japan. ElecHead, originally released in late 2021 for PC and now available on the Switch, is an exception to the rule. Hopefully, a sign of better things to come from that scene.

ElecHead Protagonist

A dead ringer for Chibi Robo.

ElecHead is more than just a small indie coming from Japan. It is the delightful case of a solo dev indie hit coming from Japan. It was completely made by a single developer, going by the name of NamaTakahashi. This is a name you should start remembering from now on, for his game is proof he is capable of some really innovative things. At its core, this is a linear puzzle platformer, with some slight metroidvania elements, and no enemies to deal with. You take control of a Chibi Robo-esque protagonist, a small battery robot with the ability of powering up any single surface you come in contact with. That alone makes up for a truly innovative gameplay loop, with some inventive puzzle and level designs.

Every puzzle in ElecHead revolves around electricity. If you conduct power to a platform, it might start moving frontwards or backwards. You might turn a platform’s defensive systems on, rendering you unable to proceed. You might also create new platforms if you provide electricity to a wall connected to where these new platforms might show up. It’s all about knowing when and where to provide power. Sometimes you will need to to jump precisely in order to avoid giving a platform extra juice, for instance.

ElecHead Keys

That remote control that looks like the one from the movie Click? That’s actually a key.

Later on, you will acquire the ability to momentarily separate your head from your body, which adds a brand-new layer of challenge and complexity to the mix. You might try to launch your head to a farther platform in order to activate it and create a way for you jump to the other side of the map, for example. You may want to detach your head to access smaller ducts as well. It’s all very inventive, and presented in a bearable difficulty curve. The game is minimalistic as hell with its presentation, and yet it manages to teach you everything you need to know in a very natural manner.


Where’s your head at?

The minimalism adopted by NamaTakahashi is both a blessing and a curse. I like the game’s overall art style. It’s cute and striking, resembling a Game Boy game being played through the SNES. With that said, it gets repetitive after a while, as there’s basically no environmental variety. Another big issue is that all menus, or what little are of them, are devoid of text. ElecHead‘s minimalism goes overboard when doodling in the options menu, as you’re basically forced to guess what the hell you’re clicking on. I get that the developer wanted to follow a pattern throughout the entire game, but menus and UIs need to be functional first, stylish second.

That’s something you can get used to, though. As a whole, I like this game’s 8-bit minimalist art style, be it visually or sonically. The most “disappointing” aspect about ElecHead is that it ends… too soon. You can beat the game in about two hours, in one sitting. Even though there are collectibles and a pseudo-metroidvania level design, allowing you to revisit older areas in order to look for secrets, this is the quintessential “one and done” kind of game. After I beat it, I wanted more out of it, but I didn’t exactly want to replay the same puzzles I had just beaten.


ElecHead is devoid of enemies, but full of deadly traps.

ElecHead is a delightful chunk of a game that is innovative, thought-provoking, and really entertaining… while it lasts. The biggest issue about it is the fact you can beat it in a sitting without making an effort. I can absolutely understand its minuscule length, considering this was made by a single person in his spare time, but it was so fun I just ended up wanting more out of it. It’s your typical one-and-done indie, but it’s one you certainly should give a try, whether on the Switch or on Steam. It’s also dirt cheap, so why not?


Graphics: 7.0

The minimalist art style is adorable, if a bit repetitive after a while. The decision to go full minimalist on UIs and the pause menu, however, was the single worst aspect about ElecHead as a whole.

Gameplay: 9.0

It’s innovative and thought-provoking, yet easy to learn. It’s all thanks to an excellent difficulty curve and a series of puzzles meant to teach you the game’s mechanics in a very natural manner. The controls are also really responsive.

Sound: 7.5

Minimalist, but engaging. Once you collect the head-splitting power-up, the music becomes fast-paced and epic.

Fun Factor: 7.5

ElecHead is a challenging and addictive metroidvania experience… which can be beaten in one sitting. It’s really good while it lasts.

Final Verdict: 8.0

ElecHead is available now on PC and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.