Game Review: BADLAND

Type: iPhone app
Genres: Side-scroller, action adventure, puzzle
Developer: Frogmind
Rating: 5 Stars

I was instantly drawn to the atmospheric art in BADLAND. It’s as if a space station crash landed and a few hundred years of forest growth had taken it over. Yet, there are still functioning gears, saws, and exploding elements. And a host of silhouetted bunnies that stare creepily at you from the background.

And then we have our character, a pudgy thing that flies. I’ve taken to calling them ‘hedgies’ since they look remarkably similar to a squeaking hedgehog toy my dog gets overly possessive about. The hedgies move in response to screen tapping—if you hold your finger down, he flies to the top of the screen, let go and he falls to the ground. A multitude of things can happen to the hedgies from power ups: grow, shrink, multiply, spin, or get super sticky.

Pretty simple, yeah? Well, some of the puzzles and obstacles become quite difficult. Bombs sometimes look like just a normal part of the scenery; other times spiky balls of death look like a bomb that might propel hedgie through the landscape. Some puzzles take two or three plays just to find out what you need to do. Then getting the timing and luck right may take 5+ more.

While some of the trickier puzzles make me want to throw my phone across the room (a desire I have so far kept at bay), I cannot stop playing. I become a little masochistic with difficult, yet simplistic puzzles—playing until I’m a fuming ball of hate, and then I keep going. Yet despite that, these are my favorite. It’s a gorgeous challenge with a mix of thinking, timing, and dexterity.

badland multiplayer

Not only can I become a fuming ball of hate in single player, but I can also attempt to ruin my friendships with multi-player mode! A player wins if their hedgie survives the longest or they have more points from course time and clones saved. Levels are filled with the same tricky traps as single player, but now opponents can kill their rivals by pushing them off screen, squishing them, and knocking them into traps. At least with consoles there is a slight distance, but on the iPhone or iPad the potential ex-friends are huddled close with easy elbow jabbing potential.

Despite all of that, I love this game. I highly recommend it for fans of Portal, Jetpack Joyride, Limbo, and Super Meat Boy.

Find BADLAND online:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | App Store

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