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BADLAND: Game of the Year Edition Review



BADLAND is an action adventure game with physics based gameplay that was originally released in 2013 on tablet. The Xbox One version has been redesigned and builds on the atmospheric, hand-painted graphics of the original with enhanced, full-HD visuals.

Developer: Frogmind
Publisher: Frogmind
Genre: Action Adventure
Format: Xbox One
Release Date: May 28th 2015
Copy provided by publisher
BADLAND is no clone

I had no idea what BADLAND was when I first heard it was coming to consoles so I looked up a gameplay video for it, watched it for a few seconds and wrote it off as a Flappy Bird clone. That was a mistake and after playing it I realized how completely wrong I was. The only thing these games share is a gameplay mechanic. Which is nothing new, games do that all that time. That's one of the reasons why we have so many games to choose from. Besides that, you can't clone a game that was released after yours can you? Never form an opinion when an assumption is what you base it on. Lesson learned.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, let's get into what BADLAND actually is. The objective is pretty simple, get from point A to B. It's all of the obstacles in between that complicate things. Whether it's a buzzsaw you need to avoid or a mine that explodes and sends you flying backwards and off screen causing a death, there are quite a few things that will kill you along the way.


Besides avoiding obstacles, one of the ways to get through the levels are to pick up clones. Now this isn't always mandatory, there are only a few spots you'll be forced into these clone balls, but it does make the levels much easier because all you need is one clone to make it through a checkpoint. Also, there are some spots where you'll need to use the clones to solve puzzles by positioning them in the right places. There are also these powerups of sorts that you pick up along the way. Some make you bounce, some speed you up and others change the size of your...well, whatever the main character is to squeeze through a tight area. These are just a few of the powerups available to help beat the levels.

None of the puzzles I've encountered are very hard to figure out. Most sections just take a little trial and error but even though the puzzles don't pose much of a challenge mentally, actually putting thoughts into action can be tough, especially in the later stages where timing is everything. For the most part though, tapping A will get you through most of the sections in each level.


The thing that stands out the most in BADLAND are the backgrounds in the levels. Some of these background scenes are beautiful and add much needed detail to the game and a nice contrast to a foreground that has very few details and is mostly shadow looking shapes of different objects. Mostly objects that can kill you. The only problem I had with the graphics is once in a while I would get distracted by a background for a split second and die but that's not really a complaint, just a sign of some quality artwork. The ambient sound in the game is also very well done and only improves the already cool atmosphere of the game. The controls are responsive and don't take much time to get used to either.

The only real complaint I have about the game is the lack of online co-op. It does have local co-op but being the only gamer in my household, co-op is most likely an aspect of the game that I'll never get to experience. With the Xbox One not being just a gaming machine but a social hub for people as well, not having the chance to play online with a friend seems like a missed opportunity.


Conclusion

From the sound to the visuals to the controls, BADLAND is a quality game. And with 100 single player levels, plus 100 co-op and 27 multiplayer stages to explore if you have someone to play with locally, there's enough content here to keep you busy for a while. If you're in the market for a high quality title, I recommend picking this up and giving it a try.

Summary:
+Visuals
+Value for Money
+Gameplay
+Overall atmosphere in the game
-Lack of online co-op

Score: 8/10 "Great"

What I Played: 10 hours completing 80 of 100 single player levels.
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