Badland: Game of the Year Edition Review

badland

 

Title: Badland Game of the Year Edition
Developer: Frogmind Games
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 133 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: Yes

I feel like I am really getting the hang of playing and writing for puzzle games with physics elements.  This year, especially, I have used the term on many occasions.  I think back on previous reviews I’ve done, especially of smaller indie titles.  Element4l.  Nihilumbra.  Even games like Sayonara Umihara Kawase Plus and arguable htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary.  There are more physics-heavy puzzle games coming out all the time.

Not just in general, but on the Vita as well.  I’m starting to feel like this sort of smaller indie title is making its home on the Vita.  In some cases, the PlayStation TV as well is shown in here.  However, among these titles, there is one element that is normally missing: Multiplayer.

Today, I bring you a review of a 2D physics-based puzzle game that mixes platforming with flying physics.  Having released as a cross-buy title for PS Vita and the PS4 and supporting multiple controls Ad Hoc multiplayer on the PlayStation TV, here is my official review of Badland: Game of the Year Edition!

Story

Due to this game not having a story to it, this section shall remain blank.  This game is purely about survival and has no plot.

Gameplay

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Badland is part side-scroller, part puzzle game.  The game has you flying through a side-scrolling environment that moves on its own, where you must collect items and avoid hazards to get to the other end of the stage.  As the game’s main site speaks about the game, the point you have in the game is to survive to the end of the stage.

The big aspect of the physics is that you’re constantly flying and must use size and weight as your ally as you go through each stage.  There will be constant twists and turns that require certain sizes to get through, be it being small enough to fit in a crevice or being big and heavy enough to collapse a floor.  You will have to look for items as well as clones of yourself to manage each and every level.

As you go through the level, there will be various types of items that you can find and each affects you in different ways.  Some will increase or decrease your size and weight.  Some will slow down or speed up time.  Others can increase your jumping capabilities or cause you to roll against walls.  All will be key to going through each puzzle, such as slowing down time to carefully navigate a deadly razor blade trap or increasing your weight to knock out a wall in your path.

The other aspect you need to watch for are clones.  You can pick up clones of yourself as you travel through each levels.  Somethings you can pick up one, and other times, you can acquire an entire flock.  This is key in big dangerous areas.  With a group, you control all of them and only one of them needs to get past the traps to continue through the level.  This is a part that can also make you feel bad, when you pick up a dozen friends and watch as all but you block traps, getting shredded to bits in the process.

Getting through each stage will unlock the next stage.  Do more stages and you’ll unlock them for other game modes as well as unlocking the next sets of stages.  There are more than 100 stages in total, so the game gives you a lot to do.  Because of this, expect the game to last at least 4 or 5 hours, if not longer.  It’s also worth noting that the game has local multiplayer.  As I stated earlier, PlayStation TV users with more than one controller can make local games for couch co-op play.

One last thing to note is that the game does get repetitive over time.  The challenge of the game rises with each sets of levels, but once you’re in the flow of things, it’s almost like you’re still just doing the same thing over and over and over again.  If you like this sort of game, there’s no problem.  If you’re not a fan of physics based games, you may not last the entire game.

Controls

The controls for Badland goes in two ways: Button Controls and Touch Controls.  The game can be controlled with the touch screen as it was in its Mobile release.  This does work with fair accuracy and doesn’t have any input lag.  However, I prefer the precision of the physical button controls over this alternate.  They’re both enabled from the start so you don’t need to go into a menu to disable one or the other.

Controlling the game is very simple.  You can use the Left Analog Stick or D-Pad to direct your character and the X button to make them jump or flap their wings to move them forward.  This is done with the touch screen with swipes and taps.  You can also pause the game with the Start Button.

The controls for the game do not differ when it is played on the PlayStation TV.  The only difference is that the touch controls are not available to you when playing on the micro-console, and for good reason.

Presentation

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The presentation has mostly good points going for it.  Visually, the game looks really nice.  The 2D visuals look very crisp and smooth, as to the 3D effects in the background of each stage.  This art style definitely makes the game look beautiful, despite the dark atmosphere the game gives off.  It also shows a unique visual style, showing off both 3D and 2D visuals at the same time.

The main complaint with the presentation is slowdown.  This is a very small annoyance, but an annoyance all the same.  There were at least a few times as I played through the game where the frame-rate would drop for a few seconds.  Now, there are times when this is normal, like using the slow-motion item.  However, the game does this even when this is not in effect, causing it to be a small, but noticeable hindrance on the overall experience.

Summary

Badland: Game of the Year Edition does its genre some good credit.  On the downside, there are some frame-rate issues and the game gets repetitive unless you love the genre.  Past this is a beautiful side-scrolling puzzle game that can be enjoyed on the go or on the couch. 

8/10

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