Is that it? This is the game, worth five bucks on iOS? Okay, let’s not make this sound more dramatic than it should. TBH as much as I liked Badland for iOS and appreciated its quality, I still think the game is quite overpriced. I just want to say this now to concentrate on the game itself later – if you expect some sort of undeniable complexity or tons of features for your money then you better skip this game. Really, the only way that it’s worth the money is its gorgeous artwork. If you took out the artwork, what would be left is an unusual, but quite primitive “runner” (although you fly in this game, but you get the point). I’m all for creativity and think that it should be rewarded, but I’m actually worried the game isn’t going to get as popular as it really should be, just because most gamers will be rightfully discouraged to spend five bucks on an arcade game, just because it looks pretty.
Ignoring the price tag, the game is really good. That’s, probably, the summary of the whole review right there. It’s really good. It doesn’t bring up some strong emotions and doesn’t really have a whole lot to say, considering its story. It doesn’t feature any revolutionary mechanics and if you think that the game feels a bit familiar, take a look at an actually revolutionary game, released on PSP, back in the time when games for PSP still got released, called LocoRoco. In any case, Badland features a strange monolithic spherical flying owl-like creature that flies along horizontal levels and tries to go past the many obstacles on its way. The game is controlled by a single tap on any part of the screen, to make the creature fly up and to the right. Don’t worry to get it bumped into obstacles, floor or ceiling, as it will simply bounce off or roll on them, without a scratch. Really, the only way to die in the game is to stop in your tracks, letting the constantly-moving screen roll too far to the right and thus, leave the creature out of its borders. Respectively, whatever obstacles you encounter, force you to stall or waste your time, bringing the impending doom closer. As you fly and roll forward and through, you encounter various seeds and other power-ups that change your behavior.
Some can change your size to help you bust through heavy obstacles or, alternatively, squeeze through tiny openings. Others can even spawn a copy of you, to fly along with you. Since you only need one copy of you to finish the level, there’s no harm in sacrificing the others to help you through. The game is moderately challenging and although there are some tight places (sometimes, literally), you get re-spawned not far from the place of your death to try and make it through this time. The game has an impressive physics engine rendering quite realistic behavior both for the obstacles that you need to overcome & the thing you play as. Of course, as interesting as it is, the gameplay is definitely not a primary concern of Badlands. I mean, it’s good, but it’s not coming close to the quality of its artwork. Not only is it remarkably detailed and majestic, it’s really rich, too, switching between color palettes and backgrounds almost every level. I don’t really understand why the whole foreground is made in a solid black outline style, since you seldom have time to admire the background, switching your mind from the gameplay. Whatever the case, the game definitely looks great. And sounds, too! In the end, Badland is a remarkable platformer with a simple, unusual and smooth gameplay with really nice graphic and sound design. Now, if only it would be cheaper.