A piece of concept art of the skeleton main character.

What is Vertebreaker?

Vertebreaker is a fast-paced action platformer with a hook - a grappling hook! Slash away at enemies and swing around the level on a bungee line! Zip to higher places or to gain speed! You are a skeleton on a mission - stop the forces of the dead from gaining the power to wipe out the living!

What is a "Technical Preview"?

This game is still in very early development, and what we're presenting is a small gameplay sample to let you feel how it will play. The content doesn't necessarily represent our complete vision for the game, but we did aim for quality in what little we've made available! When the game is complete, it will feature 6 huge levels to explore, more enemies to fight, various gimmicks to use or overcome, Minibosses and Bosses for each level, and a whole lot more!

When can I play the real thing?

As mentioned above, this game is still in very early development. We have a little more going than what you see here, but it's a long way from finished! Our safe estimate is early Q3 2021, but who knows? Before that, though, there will be a more complete demo released on Halloween when the Kickstarter launches!

There's a Kickstarter?

That's right! We want to put as much focus on this project as possible, several of us working full-time, and we need your help to do that! We'll set a minimum goal to sustain the team through development of the smallest version of the game, but if that goal is exceeded, we will be able to do even more! Backers can also pre-purchase the complete game at a discount, as well as a few other perks, so check out the Kickstarter when it launches this year on October 31 to see what's on offer! Play the full demo at that time and consider backing; the higher we go, the more we can do with the game! Follow @HCStealth and/or @Head_cannon on Twitter, or keep an eye on the Headcannon website for more information as it becomes available!

What platforms is it on?

Currently, the "Technical Preview" is Windows-only. The full demo is planned to support Windows, MacOS, and Linux, as is the completed game! Consoles...? We'll look into it!

How do I play right now?

To play the Technical Demo, click on the image below to get the "Vertebreaker.rar", open it and drag the files into a folder of their own, and then run "Vertebreaker.exe" for 32bit Windows or "Vertebreaker64.exe" for 64bit Windows! Both DirectInput and XInput game controllers are supported as well as play by keyboard!

What are the controls?

Attack Button - (Default- X)
Perform a slash attack to swipe at enemies. Follow-up with a combo with the right timing!

Grapple Button - (Default- Right Bumper)
Fire off the grapple for a variety of functions-
-Hold to swing around the level or grab onto enemies! Release to carry momentum or draw a captured enemy closer!
-Tap to zip toward or along walls, or at enemies! Zipping at enemies will perform a kick attack, and zipping along the floor will perform a rolling attack that can toss enemies in the air!

Jump Button - (Default- A)
Jump when on the ground, or jump from a grapple swing to gain an extra boost!

Retract/Extend Buttons - (Default- Left Trigger / Right Trigger)
While hanging from a grapple, use these buttons to lengthen or shorten the line!

Zip Button - (Default- Left Bumper)
While holding on to the level or an enemy with the grapple, tap to initiate a zip!

A piece of concept art of a monster.

Who's Involved?

Vertebreaker is being developed under the Headcannon brand, which you may recognize as one of the developers behind Sonic the Hedgehog's triumphant return-to-form, Sonic Mania! More specifically, though, there are several fine individuals responsible for what's happening here, so be sure to cheer them on and let them know how much you love their work!

Simon “Stealth” Thomley - Lead Developer / Lead Game/Engine Programmer
Andy “A+Start” Collins - Lead Artist
Matthew Weekes - Environmental Artist / Level Designer
Michael Staple - Music and Sound Lead
Rick Danto - Game/Scenario/Character Design / Sprite Artist
Noah “Mr. Poe” Hall - Game/Engine Programmer
Derrek “TheStoneBanana” Harbold - Game/Engine Programmer
“FUNKVESSEL” - Concept Artist / Sprite Artist
“SPD!” - Project/Business Manager / Misc Artist

The skeleton main character of Vertebreaker swinging from a ceiling using his whip. The skeleton main character of Vertebreaker pushing off the ground with his whip. The skeleton main character of Vertebreaker swinging from a tree with his whip. A screenshot of Vertebreaker.