Badland: Game of the Year Edition Review

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Badland: Game of the Year Edition is a side-scrolling obstacle course that relies on your ability to accurately and delicately maneuver your way through each level. The physics are imperative and your mastering of movement is of pertinent importance if you’re ever to succeed in this title. Badland: Game of the Year, is a remastered work of the original, and highly regarded, Badland. The developers are quick to bring this to your attention also, they never shy away from reminding you that the title has over 20 million players and a plethora of awards that make The Baftas seem to pale in insignificance.

Badland grew in immense popularity owing to the simplistic controls and the wealth of media for which it could be accessed, mobile phone devices, tablets, console to name but a few. Badland: Game of the Year Edition takes that which was already good, and makes it better. With redefined and polished visuals, content that they claim is four times larger than the predecessor, improved controls; then surely, one would suggest that this game could be a world-beater, a trend setter, the colossus to render all else obsolete. Well, maybe, and maybe not.

The first thing that you’ll notice about this game is that it looks fantastic, the artwork is gorgeous, according to the official website, the visuals are hand-painted graphics, if so, then give that person a raise as they’re noticeably impressive. The rich and detailed background compliment the silhouetted foreground with deliberate precision giving the game a unique and recognisable style. The impact is immediate.

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Level design is good, some of the features are truly satisfying. In order to progress you must be able to transform your character in size, shape, speed, weight; you may have to increase the number of your minions to progress. In essence, each level is a puzzle in itself, and you’ll often find yourself at the mercy of trial and error to get through. This can at times be irritating and tedious, although clearly level design has been well thought-out, you’re always in danger of being tagged on a thorn, an edge of a box, or something else that has been included within the foreground. As the map scrolls alongside you, you’re always in danger of being drown by the constantly moving screen. This is a minor irritation to say the least and something that can easily be overcome.

The main character, or should I say potential characters, are cute and likeable. You’ll watch as metamorphic change will befall you as you progress through each level. Be careful however as all change isn’t necessarily good change. Some power-ups are littered around the level and their only purpose is to make the game even more difficult. Select the wrong power-up and you’ll be too large to fit through a tight obstacle, or too small to carry enough weight to smash through a wall. Interestingly, some power-ups are needed that will force you into heartlessly sacrificing some of your minions, you’ll watch them succumb to their deathly end whilst you progress though to the next stage by the skin-of-you-teeth, but it’s for the greater good, keep telling yourself that.

Badland: Game of the Year Edition impresses immediately, the controls are crisp and responsive, there is a little requirement for a tutor as you simply learn as you go. Should you crash and burn, there will be no heavy price to pay, just dust yourself off and try again. This is a huge positive as by definition, employing such a mechanic will endear the game to a diverse audience. However, this is a double-edged sword, as the constant use of the same mechanics, the same goals, the same style of play, leaves the end-user with a sense of overbearing similarity. There’s nothing to decipher one stage from the other and each level seems to culminate in a mish-mash of, well, sameness. I found myself getting bored very quickly, there was little in inspire me or push me to continue, the game felt like a slog with only minor irritations, for example, getting stuck on the scenery, to alleviate my boredom into irritation. I am being extremely critical however, as the experience as a whole is very positive, and this is a game that I would likely return to.

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The developers have included some well received features, such as a CO-OP mode for you and your closest buddies to plough through, or if you’d prefer, perhaps some death-match to advertise your mastery of the game by destroying all who dare to confront you. The additional choice of game-mode is a welcome substitute for the main game, something else to occupy your time and gives the game some extra depth.

That aside, it is easy to see why the game is so very popular. I doubt that we’ll be seeing a host of Esports sponsorship coming in the direction of hardened veterans of the game, however this is a title that deserves a spot in your collection. Badland: Game of the Year Edition is reasonably priced, addicting in style, simplistic to play and yet can be challenging to complete. If you can accept the fact that essentially you’re completing minor level variations with a hint of character mechanic change, over and over, then this game will be well suited to you. Personally, this is a pick-up-and-play title. If you have 5 or 10 minutes to spare, or if you feel like killing an hour or so, then this game will give you the ability to do that. I doubt you’ll be itching to get back into the game like some other titles I’ve encountered, however the game does have a likeable and charming personality. There is definitely an aura about it and I’m glad having played it, I just wish there was a little variation to the game-play, something to make me sit up and take notice. Unfortunately, what it does well, seems to continuously reappear throughout the entire game, a copy and paste over and over again. Still, decent title though.

Rating 7

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@brashgames.co.uk.

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