Links on platforms, regions & where to buy (selected Retail & Digital where available) can be found at end of review
About The Game
Fly and survive through the award-winning world of BADLAND, and discover imaginative traps, puzzles and obstacles on the way.
BADLAND is a multi-award-winning, side-scrolling action adventure, with innovative physics-based gameplay, and atmospheric graphics and audio. BADLAND: Game of the Year Edition has been redesigned for Wii U with new analogue stick controls and enhanced full HD visuals.
The game includes 100 single-player levels, and loads of local multiplayer fun: up to four players can compete against each other on 27 different deathmatch stages, or work together to survive through all 100 levels of the co-op campaign.
While some basic research must be done before requesting a review for a game I try to stay clear of as much info / videos or reviews (if they've been released elsewhere prior)
This isn’t from a lazy research stand point (though it does sound a bit like it) I like to go into a game with a 100% open mind, no premade conceptions or having watched video after video showing me what comes next.
Of course I still pour through press releases that arrive in my inbox everyday and I probably spend more time looking at images and watching press videos than playing games on busy days.
But trying to keep as much of a game a mystery until I first turn it on helps form better and far more honest opinions of said game.
So I selected Badlands the game loaded up and I played through the first level.
The kids aged 4 and 2 were glued to the tv screen as is often the case with most new games.
They found it a most intriguing little thing flapping through the air towards it’s goal.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to say when they kept asking what it was I told them it was a clone but it didn’t seem quite right and they weren’t exactly accepting the name either.
I completed level 1 without any issues but I didn’t like it.
My genuine first thought was this will be a long hard slog for the review.
Of course it was only level 1 most games don’t have a whole lot happen on level 1 but it just seemed to miss me completely.
Just from that first introduction I made the harsh decision it was likely to be one of those games that just wasn’t for me.
Levels 2, 3 , 4 & 5 came and went 6, 7 & 8 soon followed.
Forget my feelings after level 1 this was quickly becoming one of my favourite games of the summer.
I’d killed a lot of clones by this point with levels throwing upnew challenges, new puzzles and new ways to accidentally take my clones lives.
This isn’t pikmin even after almost 5 hours I didn’t / don’t feel especially sorry for those clones that gave up their existence for me and that’s the right attitude to take too because it’s impossible to complete every level with every clone on some levels some must be sacrificed to advanced.
The biggest killer of clones for most will likely be the scrolling screen if your little clone is off the screen behind you even for a second it’s gone.
It’s often fairly easy to avoid with 1 clone (at least early on)but once they start to multiply you’ll have 2, 4 or who knows how many on screen all desperately trying to get to the end of the level with their lives intact.
In the early going getting just one to the end and clearing the stage might well be enough.
But it won’t take long for the competitive edge in at least a reasonable amount of the players to realise firstly there are rankings for each day in the game and how many clones you save counts towards one of those rankings (perhaps time to feel a little more sorry about a few deaths now?)
But even if the online competitive edge doesn’t entice you every level also has 3 missions (only revealed after you’ve beat a level for the first time, but if you complete any mission on your first run through of the level your still credited with it)
A fair few (but certainly not all) require you to get a set amount of clones to the exit.
One of the early levels for example required 6 clones about 15 attempts later getting 5 every time that feeling of finally nailing it with 6 was joyous!
Other examples of missions are getting from start to finish losing no more than a set number of lives, collecting all power ups (not all of which will help much) or exploding all the explosives on a level among many others.
And for the hyper competitive again there is a ranking for the total number of missions completed.
If the online rankings and missions weren’t enough for you the game has achievements too.
These include simple tasks like completing sections of a day or the whole day, completing a set amount of missions, to slightly more crazy losing a set amount of clones to circular saw deaths or explosions and the like (You won’t have to try hard for these deaths they’ll come quite naturally)
So you've read all of the above plenty to achieve or aim for but how exactly does it play.
Firstly the controls are as simple as they get a single button tap will see your clone flap while not pressing anything will see it drop like a stone.
Somewhere in between is likely where you’ll be for the most part.
The aim of the game is to get from Entrance to exit with as many clones as possible. (1 will clear the level for you)
A whole host of scenery waits to kill you at a moment’s notice while many levels are also fitted with blades among other things in various forms all quite happy to remove another clone from your group.
Most levels have multiple check points even though most aren't the longest odds are you’ll die far more than you’ll expect at least the first time through a level.
Multiple power up items are littered throughout the levels some make the clones small (the more in a row you collect the smaller you go)
Others make you big (small and big will reverse each other too)
Others will spin you around, make you sticky, fast, slow down the chasing scrolling screen behind you and a whole host more for you to still discover on your own.
For some with the sheer number of levels (100 single player, 100 co op, 27 death match) missions (3 for each level) and achievements as well as online rankings.
Having levels that just offer a challenge getting as many clones from start to exit might be enough.
But the vast majority of levels also have mini puzzles littered throughout them.
Working them out quickly is the key otherwise the advancing screen will take your clones to their doom.
The graphics are crisp and fresh and each stage of the day changes perfectly to fit the theme.
The game skips in play music for sound effects but at no point in my almost 5 hours did it effect game play or grate in any way if anything I possibly like it more the way it is.
The developers think it will take around 15 hours for the average player to complete the single player campaign and I’d probably go along with that number.
If however that single player wants to complete every mission and earn every single player achievement the game time for an average player could quite easily double to 30+ hours
And don’t forget you’ve still got the co –op and death match levels on top of that.
There are odd moments of frustration and many clones will die even when you know what your supposed to be doing.
But from what I’ve encountered of the game during the review window every failure was largely down to me I tried again and (eventually) I succeeded.
The puzzles are often simple but clever, the scrolling screen will always keep you trying to think one step ahead, the missions will add double the amount of play time for most players who want to earn them all and the Achievements will add more hours on top of that.
Those that are looking for something to aim for will always have targets with this game.
I’ve unfortunately had limited time with the local co op but I did very much enjoy the limited time I got.
Online would have been a nice bonus but it’s inclusion would have likely pushed costs up further and everyone must remember that online now isn’t online forever.
A review copy of the game was provided by Frogmind and reviewed in accordance with the review policy.
The Following are NOT game of the Year versions but a previous version of the game
Various apple Devices