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Badland Review – 9.0

Though I never finished Limbo (I’m terrible at puzzles), I loved its unique style. Dark, shadowy figures opposite a white backdrop made for a very interesting look and surely helped it stand out amongst the plethora of colorful games being made at the time. Badland, from developer Frogmind, clearly invokes the brilliant tone that Limbo made famous, creating an equally atmospheric world full of mystery and plagued with disaster.

Badland_main_image

Badland is a simple one-touch, 2D side-scroller where players must navigate an alien creature through an eerie and treacherous world. Players travel from one end of the level to another, facing imminent death at every turn. If it’s not razor-sharp spikes or collapsing boulders, it’ll be the crushing gears or maybe even the screen chasing you from behind. You don’t know what it will be and you won’t see it coming, but rest assured, one way or another, this game will get you. The best part is, it’s incredibly fun. There’s no music in the game, unless you count the symphony of buzz-saws that berate players with terrifying sounds that, well…terrify. The sound-effects lend themselves very well to the games overall tone, creating an experience that feels both tense and scary, but also exciting at the same time.

badland_2Throughout its entirety, Badland consistently introduces new power-ups and environmental elements, keeping the game feeling fresh. Whether it’s becoming bigger, smaller, sticky or bouncy, each power has its own unique function that aids players in traversing the killer terrain. With both their positive and negative effects, they create an added challenge that requires a bit of finesse and tests players’ skill. There is a 2-4 player multiplayer mode where players must race through a level, trying to finish first or at least survive longer than the rest. It seems like a good idea; however it’s clearly designed for the iPad version of the game, as the smaller iPhone screen becomes too cluttered with fingers and is almost impossible to play.

Though the game typically presents players with a fair challenge, completing levels sometimes has a tendency to be more about trial and error and less reliant on mastering controls. At times players will be seemingly punished for a lack of clairvoyance, and it’s a momentum killer that can be quite frustrating. The silver lining is that it doesn’t happen too often and when it does, you are typically revived in a spot not too far from where you were killed.

Final Toast: 9.0

Terror, tension, and titillating excitement are all things that Badland exudes. It’s an extremely well designed side-scroller whose dark, atmospheric tone immerses players into its beautiful and mysterious world. Though it may come at a higher price ($3.99) than most apps, it’s worth every penny.

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