Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: BADLAND

3:00 PM on 04.05.2013 // Casey B
  @CaseyDtoid

Adapt or be squished

The Apple App Store seems to be filled with a glut of endless-runner/platforming games and their ilk these days. From excellent ventures such as Canabalt and Rayman Jungle Run to more suspect knock-offs (Here's lookin' at you, Ham on the Run!), the average consumer is certainly not lacking in choices for the genre.

In this over-saturated market, it takes some truly remarkable elements for a game of this  genre to thrive and stand out among its peers. BADLAND seems to be aiming to do exactly that, as the game appears at first blush to be yet another "watch the screen scroll to the left and occasionally mash at it to keep your character from facing certain doom" rehash that any iPad, iPod, or iPhone owner has played a million times before.

Fortunately, BADLAND has some really wonderful things going for it that firmly places it a few notches above its peers in this stale genre. The addictive gameplay already built into the genre is just the frosting on a deliciously deadly cake.

BADLAND (iPhone, iPad [reviewed])
Developer: Frogmind Games
Publisher: Frogmind Games
Released: April 4, 2013
MSRP: $3.99

BADLAND draws you in from the beginning with a trippy silhouetted art style and an ambient soundtrack -- both vaguely reminiscent of the eeriness of Limbo. The colorful, bizarre background flora that stands as a stark contrast to the bleak foreground silhouettes and some of the spacier music choices are also reminiscent of the obscure '70s animated film Fantastic Planet.

You're not given much of a story to go on, except that you seem to be a furry little hedgehog/popple (remember those?) creature that almost comically flaps its futile little arms/wings to get across each stage. There's something else about a dead rabbit creature hanging upside down and his friends hidden in the background and some sort of race of robot creatures that look like giant metal eggs, but that's all simply background detail and doesn't ever truly get explained.

The first couple of levels seem straightforward enough, as they see your character barely scraping by deadly spikes and dangerous plant life to get to the vacuum pipe at the end of the stage. However, it only takes a few more levels before you start to witness the various power-ups that completely change up the gameplay and at times almost ditch the endless-runner style to focus more on quick-paced puzzle platforming.

One of the most notable power-ups that aids you throughout the game is the ability to instantly clone your character, either into one other little fuzzball or several others, all huddled together and at the beck and call of your finger taps. Think of your clones as your community of species. As you pass through giant spinning razor gardens and stomping machinery bits, you're going to watch in horror as a few of your community is sacrificed so that the faster and better controlled may live to see another difficult puzzle.

In the beginning, this seems like an obvious handicap in completing the harrowing levels, as you watch a massive slaughter of your community only to notice a plucky one or two always survive and get funneled through the deadliest traps. Yet as you make your way through your first day of existence from dawn to night, you start to come across more devious setups that require you to split the paths of your communities in myriad clever ways.

For example -- you may be forced to let one of your fuzzballs sacrifice itself for the greater good by taking a path that means certain death, but also opens a switch to release the rest of your community from a blockade ahead. Add to this the great variety of power-ups you'll receive and traps you'll desperately try to avoid, and you quickly get an idea of the tense and fun puzzles you might face in a single level.

A few of these power-ups include some that make your fuzzballs grow larger or smaller, some that make them bouncy or sticky, and others that slow down or speed up time. The levels themselves are designed in a manner so that no power-up is wasted; nearly every one of them is one you'll need to use somehow, or at least will make the next section a little easier to get through.

Much of the fun that comes from BADLAND is from the anxiety it will cause you in narrowly avoiding an insane deathtrap with your last fuzzy after watching a whole mess of clones explode throughout a rough patch of poisonous plants. LocoRoco this game ain't, as it's nearly impossible to save ALL of your community and so it becomes quickly necessary to focus on the ones that you just might be able to save and let the stragglers fall by the wayside or get burst into pieces by razors blades, gears, or javelin spikes.

The game itself isn't exactly lengthy; I was able to finish the main set of stages in a few sessions. As mentioned before, it's split up into levels that go from dawn to night. This equates to four worlds with different art styles (dawn, noon, dusk, night) and ten levels in each. However, there are two important elements for replayability after getting to the credits. Namely, the three-egg challenges in each level, and the ridiculously fun multiplayer.

The challenge eggs are like how stars are handled in games like Angry Birds, where you are awarded more for doing better in the stages. However, these particular challenges tend to be more specific to stages, from egg challenges that demand you to best the level in one single try, to others that ask you to keep a set number of clones alive by the end of the level-- not nearly as simple a task as it would first appear.

Beyond this is the multiplayer, which is handled on a single screen and seems best suited for an iPad. Up to four players can pick a fuzzball of their very own, each with silly names and cute or weird characteristics, such as the one-eyed Cyclo or the irritated looking Fury. These fuzzballs are thrown into a level together, with each quadrant of the screen serving as the player inputs.

The goal of the multiplayer is survival of the fittest, with the fuzzball that actually makes it the longest getting the lion's share of points, as well as added points for all for power-ups and clones picked up. I played the multiplayer more than a few times with my partner, and it proved to be a fun and addictive diversion that depended on skill just as much as on sheer luck.

Though $3.99 seems like a high asking price for the typical iOS game, BADLAND is more than worth it with a beautiful, challenging single-player and fun multiplayer component, and the added bonus of more levels and a furthering of the mysterious story coming in a later update.



THE VERDICT

9

Badland - Reviewed by Casey B.
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Casey B, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure CaseyDtoid Tips
Casey Baker is passionate about all things video game, and has been this way since very young. His earliest memories involve trying to get E.T. out of a hole. Casey plays nearly all genres of g... more   |   staff directory





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Badland


  Jul 29

PAX Prime 2013's PAX 10 games have been announced

You might have heard of some of these games already


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Review: Pony Island - Maneiac Crop!

The meaning of The Witness (Part 1 of 3)

Do you even Bebop?

Cblogs of 02/04/16 + Bayonetta and some other one I suppose

Waifu Wars: Your Cruel Device, Your Blood Like Ice..

Best Kickstarter implosion EVER as dev money is spent on booze and strippers

Video Gaming Bits -- Dungeons& Dragons: Tower of Doom

Is Planet Earth more than Blue, such as An?

Cblogs of 2-3-16 + Umbra Smash Climax-isms!

Three Of My Favourite Videogame Locations (Part 2)

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
Wario getting a look at dat ass the only way he knows how.
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Okay, what the hell is Youth Health Mag and why is it always sited as a news source?
ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
I changed my avatar. You want to sue me? My lawyers are ready to trademark suing me so you have to pay me first.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
The multiple flavors of the soundtrack found in the options of Crypt of the Necrodancer is one of the coolest things I've ever seen a rhythm game do. Been happily replaying the earlier levels just to see a different artist's take on Danny B's original.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Welp, the steam lunar new year sale got me. By making me get BROFORCE!!!! I feel more patriotic already.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
DICKS! Now that I have your attention why don't you join our [url=https://discord.gg/0koh7AdmqhjF1egd]super unofficial Discord chat room[/url]? No installs required and it is always up. So far no spam, no drama, all fun and chit chat / dank memes.
ShadeOfLight avatarShadeOfLight
I...I think I may have caused the new Steam sale. I didn't buy enough during Christmas time. Now Steam is coming for me. I can feel its breath behind me already. I don't have much time left. Whoever reads this, whatever you do, DON'T LOOK INTO ITS -
SayWord avatarSayWord
This cat from a cat-cafe clearly gives no fucks about being burned alive.
Shinta avatarShinta
Just discovered this today. 2012 album, solo artist writes it all herself. I'm blown away ... this is like my album of the year so far, easily. Listen to this song until the end, it just keeps getting better. Wow.
RenaudB90 avatarRenaudB90
Steam, no, please! Not another sale! I need the money for Fire Emblem!
CatastrophiCreations avatarCatastrophiCreations
We just launched our Super Mario cat wall!
CatastrophiCreations avatarCatastrophiCreations
The PacMan Complex is a massive cat haven which doubles as nerdy wall art. It comes with removable wall vinyls.
FakePlasticTree avatarFakePlasticTree
Nuuuuuuuu---Just realized that Fire Emblem Fates won't be released in my region on February 19th even though that was what my retailer, and the German Amazon, assured me. You even say that..
Shinta avatarShinta
New album 4/8/16. This is track 1 on the album I guess. It's not bad. Not the best Deftones ever, but it's still better than nothing new at all. I still like it.
Torchman avatarTorchman
KONO BAYO DA! WRRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
So for Christmas this year my friend did something called Hatesmas where he got us each something we hate. He got me Minions. But I decided to return the favor. Oh yes I did.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
"All war is based on Deception" - Sun Tzu.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
It's Friday! School's out! No work! Witcher 3! HAIL CAESAR tonight! Boston Market! Rainbow Six! Smash! Splatoon! Coffee! Apple crisp! Help! Snow! Please! I can't stop! Kill me!
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
I've come back from the internet and I can't find Rule 34 for Rocket League. Whatever shall I do?
LaTerry avatarLaTerry
http://eu.square-enix.com/en/blog/adventures-mana-released-iosandroid Apparently they've heard the request for the Vita version of Adventures of Mana and are "considering it" in the update at the end of the article.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -