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


3:00 PM on 04.05.2013 // Casey B

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.



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 * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:

  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!

Cblogs of 11/26/15 + Combat Heropon-isms

Video games go mainstream

I’m Not a SJW, I’m an Anthropologist: Making the Case for Diversity in Games

Insidia REVIEW - A whole dark, gloomy, and kinda creepy world to explore

DS REVIEWS: Trace Memory

Things I'm Thankful For

Cblogs of 11/25/15 + Turkey N Stuff

Cheat Codes Podcast - Ep. 73: Stay Classy

NVGR: Updated Album "ADBC" (No longer an EP)

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I am pretty hyped for when I get a laptop because I'll be able to have a good enough connection to stream XbOne/soon PS4 games to it along with natively rendered Steam games. Hype!
Avoclefo avatarAvoclefo
Got a PS4 that came with SW Battlefront this week, and planning on picking up the FFX/X-2 remake. Hype is through the roof, especially for FFX. If I were to get one other game, what should it be?
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
Did a google maps search around my parents house for bars and there isn't one in like 25 miles, so I picked up an Intel compute stick and South Park: Stick of Truth on Steam. That's more or less the drunken screaming I'm in the mood for at about the cost.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Do you ever have that moment of clarity when talking to someone and suddenly realising: You're just a skull, and they're just a skull, with fucking eyeballs and a sac of skin being the only comparative difference between you visually? ..just me then?
Nathan D avatarNathan D
After quitting for two days out of frustration, I beat Ludwig on my first try of the night. I'm on cloud fucking nine right now.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
When I did my retail shift today, we were moving more Smash/Splat Wii U bundles and the Gears/Rare Replay/Ori XB1 bundles than Uncharted and Battlefront PS4s. I think Nintendo and MS have better value on their side this holiday. Sony got lazy.
Confuseddalek avatarConfuseddalek
I found this weird game called Samurai Heroes for 8 dollars today. Its not bad.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Got Deadpool, Arkham Asylum and BioShock 1 and 2 all for 30$. Not to bad for going Black Friday shopping late.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
If you haven't played Tales from the Borderlands yet, GO BUY IT! By far the funniest game I have ever played, and the characters and narrative are incredibly well written. Very few memes unlike BL2 by the way.
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
Played all of Life is Strange today in one sitting. Bloody hell. You should all play it. Only game this year to make me cry. Bravo developers. Possibly the most valuable thing I've ever bought for £10.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Last night, got farther than ever in Wasteland 2. This is my third playthrough-once thru beta, once through the orig version, now on Directors cut. Worth the restart, and it speaks highly of the game that I like it enough to do this. DAMONTA HERE I COME!
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
GUYS HELP I KEEP BUYING MORE AMIIBO. Today it was Little Mac, since he went back up on Gamestop's website. I probably would have gotten Captain Falcon as well if I wasn't already running a little short on cash.
BigDoniel avatarBigDoniel
50 hours in and I can safely say that Xenoblade is the best JRPG I've played in years. Should hopefully be finished in time for X too!
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
One job down on day I should have off, now for the other job.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I beat Murasaki Baby on PS Vita. Easy 100% trophy. That ending theme tho.
TheGwailo avatarTheGwailo
I have 34 games in my Steam queue alone, 4 on xbone, and a handful on handhelds. I have 3 days to make a dent. Time's up, let's do this!
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: To make up for yesterday, I decided to ask a second Community Question today. Have you taken advantage of any Black Friday deals today? If so, what did you purchase? Feel free to share pictures of your spoils, if you have any.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Some Black Friday artwork arrived today ! [img][/img]
Lawman avatarLawman
Black Friday is getting to me. All these games I kinda, maybe want that are at anywhere between respectable and deep discounts, but I'm not sure if I want to bite. I'm wondering if Godzilla's worth $12? After checking review scores, I'm not sure.
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Mission complete![IMG][/IMG]
more quickposts



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 -