Thanks to FrozenByte for the review code
Title: Badland: Game of the Year Edition
System: Wii U (eShop)
Release date: 7/30/2015
First off, before any info on the game is given, I must give a big apology to the publishers of this game. I initially had the review planned to go live on the old forums in early October, but a data loss of my document happened that caused me to lose the near-completed draft I had. By the time I got around to another good draft in December, personal events came up that slowed down my activity as a whole, which then led to the new website being created. Once that was done, the review queue was back in business, and here we are. I again sincerely apologize for the ridiculous delay on my end, and hope my feedback on this title is satisfactory and worth the wait. Hopefully such a delay will never happen ever again.
The main game/story
In Badland, you take control of a shadowy creature, who must fly through the new world that he was awakened in. From point A to point B, you must carefully guide him through each level, using your brain to solve puzzles to avoid putting him through deadly situations. There’s even some multiplayer levels, too!
Similar to Nihilumbra, the game sports a shadow-filled world, though Badland isn’t nearly as dark as that game was visually. Despite the emphasis on shadows for the characters and obstacles, the game still sports some nice colors in the backgrounds, which help make the game look sharp and easy on the eyes.
Music and Sound
To be perfectly honest, there’s not much I can say here, as Badland features little to no music at all. The majority of the background noise that you’ll hear consists of bits of ambiance and whatever sound effects you trigger, whether it would be from running right into an obstacle or getting a powerup. It helps give the game a very ominous tone, although I felt that the lack of any real music made the game sound rather boring.
Badland is a physics based puzzle game with a simple goal: Take control of the main character (referred to as a clone of sorts) as you guide him away from the dangerous hazards that litter each of the 100 levels. Each level is broken up into “Days” which go from Dawn to Dusk and so on. The controls are relatively simple, with you only really needing to move the clone around with the control stick while keeping his flight up with the A Button. What starts out as a simple point A to point B type of game soon evolves into something that requires a lot more thought, with puzzles that require careful timing and clever use of nearby obstacles to progress. If simply clearing the stage wasn’t enough, there are also three missions that you can complete in each stage, which usually depend on how fast you can clear a level or if you can clear levels with minimal casualties.
Unfortunately, despite the huge amount of single player levels (along with a few bonus levels), there are also a lot of multiplayer-centric levels. In fact, there are around 100 multiplayer levels as well, and you can’t play them unless you have a buddy around; no online multiplayer or AI companions for this game. While the concept of a co-op adventure sounds nice, I can’t help but feel like locking away half the game behind local multiplayer is a good idea. Sure, if you have friends over often it can be fun, but considering how this is essentially an entirely separate campaign of sorts, it just rubs me the wrong way. Thankfully, the single player levels more than justify the price tag due to the replayability provided by the missions, which make the multiplayer levels feel like an excellent bonus if you just so happen to have friends around often. I just wish there was some sort of way to play them without relying on local multiplayer.
In conclusion, after many delays due to circumstances out of my control, I can finally give my thoughts on Badland. Overall, it’s a game with clever level designs and a lot of content for the price tag. However, said content left me feeling bored after a while, which didn’t really motivate me to go back and complete the missions in earlier levels without taking a break. The bonus levels experiment with interesting gimmicks, but they aren’t really that memorable and nothing to write home about. While you’ll certainly get your money’s worth due to the amount of levels in the single player, I can’t help but feel as if the game failed to fulfill the “Quality over quantity” philosophy, with a lot of the levels feeling as if they overstay their welcome, which can eventually lead to the game simply not being that engaging or addictive to play. Still, for those who don’t mind the high amount of levels in the game, (especially if you can do the multiplayer mode!) Badland isn’t necessarily a bad investment. Just don’t expect anything mind-blowing or out of this world. I give BADLAND: Game of the Year Edition a 6 out of 10,