Originally released as a mobile phone game for the iOS and Android, Badland has arrived on the consoles in the form of a Game Of Year Edition. Developed by Frogmind Games, Badland sees players take control of Clony, a little black creature who must navigate it’s way through a whole host of different levels, attempting to collect and rescue clones along the way while avoid the threatening environment that can kill it.
Upon beginning Day One of Badland you are introduced to Clony, a lonesome black circle shaped creature whose sole purpose in the game is to make it through the very dangerous and at times extremely demanding environment of the Badland. Day One is split into the four different parts of the day, beginning with dawn and ending with night, with noon and dusk in between. Along the way Clony will come across an enormous amount of fellow clones which can be collected and guided towards the safety of the pipe at the end of every level.
Just you and me buddy, we can do it!!
The game starts out allowing players to get a feel for the controls, with a number of the buttons used to move Clony up and down as he floats and flies his way through the levels, of which there are one hundred in total. Along with the movement of the left analog stick, the game is pretty quickly picked up and overall not too daunting in the earlier levels of day one with only a small amount of obstacles to avoid such as falling boulders, which can squash Clony to death and bombs, which don’t always kill but can send him flying off in all kinds of directions.
After ten levels Dawn turns into Noon and the day begins to progress, the environment becomes a lot harder to get through, with the difficulty increasing significantly. As well as the various environment obstacles and traps there is a constant need to keep Clony moving at a decent pace to avoid the screen catching up to him, on the majority of each level played, the left side of the screen is forever chasing after Clony, making life incredibly difficult at times.
As Clony ventures further into the Badland, he is introduced to the games numerous power ups, which can make life a lot easier and at times are required to get him through certain areas. The orange glowing power up allows Clony to increase and decrease his size to help get through some incredibly small gaps or make him a lot bigger to help push heavy objects out of his path.
Some powerups can be hard to obtain
At points through the game it can be hard to grab the power ups needed because of timing and therefore death is always around just the corner. Other important perks range from allowing Clony to stick to surfaces, make him roll in both directions quickly for certain curved or narrow pathways or help him become a magnet to grab those out of reach power ups. The various power ups found throughout each level make up a large part of surviving the game, they can also trick Clony into death with some not being needed only merely placed to trap Clony into thinking they are needed but making him big when he doesn’t need to be.
Another key part to Badland is the collection of clones found throughout each level. Groups of clones can be picked up by the mere touch and then echo Clony’s every single movement. Because of the pace of the game, clones can fall behind and perish due to the screen fast approaching and at times they can be tricky to maneuver. However the clones picked up play a key part in Clony’s survival of the Badland.
There is a scene towards the end of Finding Nemo, where Nemo and Dory find themselves trapped within a large commercial fishing net along with a large number of Grouper Fish, the only way they can escape is by commanding the Grouper fish to work together as a team and pull the net down, in order to avoid being caught and in all likelihood sold on as food. The urgent need to pull together in the same direction eventually saves them and BADLAND in a sense is very similar to that scene, without teamwork of the clones collected along the way death will become a very familiar friend.
Clones die in the name of freedom
For example, a lot of the obstacles in the game need more than one clone to lift them up and out of the way and this is where collecting the extra clones can help. Strength in numbers becomes key to your survival and without it death would become a persistant frustration. Working with the clones can achieve a whole manor of tasks put in front of Clony throughout Badland including being strong enough to move certain objects to clear a path before the screen closes in and players are forced to restart and the ability to take differing paths to help one another escape.
Another key part to surviving Badland is the acceptance that as helpful as the clones are, they are sometimes purely picked up and used as cannon fodder. With a large group of clones approaching a spinning saw it becomes very apparent that not every clone will make it through in one piece with careful guidance, some can be saved but as long as one clone makes it through, the level can continue so it’s ok not to feel bad while many clones are innocently slaughtered on your journey.
With the first day drawing to a close Day One becomes frustrating, with much needed patience to work your way through the environment. Sometimes players will find themselves staring at the screen attempting to figure out why they can’t move forward. Often it is very obvious, yet hard to see. Clony finds himself being shot at by cannons and avoiding certain death at the hands of the many saws spinning towards him while also making his way through some very small gaps like something from a life-like Wire Loop game.
Everything in Badland is out to kill poor old Clony and his league of cute spikey followers. There is also a new way to use Clony, with square shaped pipes turning Clony from a circle to a square and meaning safe passages through the spinning saws because of the new found shape, at times there will be option to be either circle or square and it all depends on the player what way to go.
Day Two pretty much follows the same structure of Day One but there are some new and more dangerous obstacles to avoid and harder puzzles to work Clony through including giant lasers that incinerate Clony upon the slightest touch. The lasers can be moved and positioned out of harms reach but add a very frustrating obstruction to the small creatures freedom. As well as the forty levels of Day 2 there are another twenty levels split into two parts with both being unlocked after completion of each day.
The force is strong within these ones
The added option of four player local co-op adds some extra fun to the game with friends able to work together to make it through the levels with extra characters other than Clony available, though sadly this is just a repeat of single player and the levels that come with it. Having experience Badland in co-op I can safely state that it is a lot of fun and at times the unkindly deaths friends can suffer from can lead to fits of uncontrollable laughter and some great banter. There is also a multiplayer mode if all that stood before you wasn’t enough to quench your thirst. All of these different aspects only add to further the experience.
Overall Badland is a beautifully brilliant game that might leave players with feelings of frustration but also the urge to want to push on and not be beaten, which I think is key to a successful game. While challenging at times with the latter parts of the day ramping up the speed and dangers, Badland offers so much. The backdrop to the game is filled with beautiful colour and makes the game look even better then it already is. Badland might well be a fantastic mixture of Limbo meets Unmechanical, but it also delivers in the all the right areas.