BADLAND Review

By , on April 4, 2013
Last modified 9 years, 8 months ago


BADLAND
Download on the AppStore
5 out of 5

PROS

  • Silhouetted stages make it easy to keep track of what's coming up; lets you focus on solving puzzles before they arrive, keeping the flow of play smooth.
  • Elegant one-touch controls; gameplay given depth by various power-ups and their combination with the complex world and its machinery.
  • Local multiplayer makes for an amusing and off-beat bonus.

CONS

  • Occasional 'gotcha' moments and finely-tuned timing/control sections break the player immersion; removing agency without warning breaks the player's trust in the design of each stage.

VERDICT

BADLAND doesn't simply look pretty, it's an absolute treat to play as well as you guide flocks of disturbing creatures through a labyrinth of hazards in an attempt to uncover the secret behind its strange pseudo-mechanized world.


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If my arm was twisted and I had to describe BADLAND by Frogmind as quickly as possible, I'd describe it as a darker and even more disturbing take on the Lemmings concept, but with flying Furbies. It's not perfect, but game doesn't exactly jive with conventions as you throw caution to the wind and smash, stab, crush, and slice hundreds of clones in an attempt to reach the all-important exit tube.

And you'll do it all with nothing more than a single finger.

By tapping or holding, you'll cause your little creature to flap its wings and move forward. All you need to do is to get to the end of the stage with one creature in-tact, but this grossly underestimates the challenge ahead as you face explosive plants; crushing platforms; spinning blades; rotating gears; mine-deploying guns; and even mechanized spikes ready to pierce anything that comes near them.

In order to survive you'll need to change and adapt - something that is made easy thanks to various power-ups that modify the physical properties of your creature. These range from something as simple as modifying its size and weight, to far stranger changes including changing how sticky or bouncy it is and even turning in to a near invincible 'square' shape.

However, this isn't enough either - many of the obstacles throw out hazards at you in such quick succession, that one creature would find it entirely impossible to survive. As such, the last trick up your sleeve is the ability the 'clone' your creature, with every single one synchronizing to your taps and holds perfectly. This means you can solve some puzzles with a sheer mass of numbers, while in others you can take two, to even three different directions at the same time.

It's so easy to find yourself lost in the flow of a stage as you eye up the next silhouetted area for the power-ups you need (and any traps the game is trying to spring on you). Occasionally this is broken up by an unforgiving 'gotcha!' moment, but it doesn't occur enough to ruin the otherwise incredible experience of finishing the game.

And did we mention it has up to four-player local multiplayer? Up to 12 stages can be unlocked for players to race to see who can survive the longest. It's manic and extremely fun, though definitely better suited to the iPad and not the extremely tiny iPhone screen.

Better still, those who can't get enough of BADLAND can try to complete up to three missions per stage, with requirements including collecting all the power-ups on the stage, to finishing with multiple clones.

BADLAND is, quite simply, a solid and very unique experience. The atmosphere of its pseudo-techno infused world makes it foreboding and is further emphasized by the understated sound design and music. This is a title that feels right at home on the iOS platform, and is a real treat for those sick of the endless series of clones dominating the App Store.

Screenshots

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