By: Jeff Cater
Everyone over at Frogmind seemingly took every bucket of care and love that they’ve been stowing away in order to bring us Badland: Game of the Year Edition, which revives the smashing, classic side-scroller of 2013 with a slew of new multiplayer modes and hours upon hours of additional levels. You again are flapping the aching wings of Clony, a cute little creature who is stranded in the deep woods. Flap your way to safety… if such a thing even exists!
Being that the game was largely rooted on mobile devices, Badland: GOTY is probably one of the easiest games to pick up and play ever made. You literally only have two buttons to keep track of: the left stick influences your flight path and tapping X (or R2) keeps Clony in the air. I found the pressure-sensitive trigger of the PS4 to be supreme in guiding Clony through the natural (and not-so-natural) obstacles of this beautiful forest.
Badland: GOTY is just as much of a looker as the vanilla game was, but some textures have been reworked to bring the luscious woods to vibrant life. Visually, the game represents day, afternoon and night perfectly; the morning hours feature hues of gold and orange as the sun rises (somewhere) and the evenings bring pools of violet sky above you.
That being said, the background and characters get all of the detail, the foreground is simply a black silhouette, adding a menacing feel to your adventure into the unknown forest.
Squishes, pops, splats and flaps accompany the serene soundtrack of birds chirping and crickets singing. It’s very minimalist but very effective and engrossing.
It seems simple at first — just go from left to right! That’s not true, however, as this is where Badland shows you where its name comes from. You have to guide Clony through various stages featuring a slew of obstacles such as mashers, fan blades and eventually some pretty menacing flora and fauna along the way.
To assist Clony, there are several power-ups (and power-downs) to make use of. Flying Clony into a small batch of black, twitching egg-like things will cause an explosion of additional Clonys to appear. This serves to help getting at least ONE Clony through the dangerous obstacles, as when there are several of you, you retain control of whichever one ends up leading the pack. The other Clony’s will mimic your movement and follow you as closely as possible, but usually many Clony’s end up losing their lives.
Clony can also pick up orbs that change his size from extremely weighty and gigantic to a nimble, super-bouncy miniature version of him (or her, really). You may even bump into a few of Clony’s friends along the way, switching up gameplay ever so slightly but still retaining the core feel of Badland.
The multiplayer modes don’t feel tacked on and do provide much fun, it’s just that the main game has such draw to it that you will likely spend very little time within.
Wow, I really didn’t know what to expect with this game, but it came off as one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve had in a long, long time. The plight of getting Clony to one side of the level to the other alive is akin to the story of the sea-turtle: Many will venture, very few will survive the first few moments. Badland: Game of The Year Edition is well deserving of any amount of time dedicated to it.