Having made its mark over on the mobile side of gaming, it is now time for BADLAND: Game of the Year Edition
to see if it can impress the same amount on Xbox One. Frogmind promised us over four times the content of the original game in this Xbox One remake, as well as including both co-op levels and a multiplayer death match mode. A puzzle game with a simple concept to guide your clones to safety; does BADLAND
live up to the expectations it set from the mobile versions, or does it deserve to meet the same fate of so many of its clones?
BADLAND How many clones can you save?
is a game with a very simple concept, which sees you guiding a clone through various levels trying to avoid the obstacles and objects in your path. While there is no story as such to follow, something which the game could have benefited from, your journey takes places over two days. These two days act as the worlds that you explore, being subsequently split into the different times of the day for the sublevels. In addition to the dawn, dusk, noon and night areas of the two days, there are also two additional worlds named Doomsday and Daydream. These serve as bonus levels of sort, unlocking only when you complete earlier levels from the first two days. It is a very easy game to jump into and the controls consist mostly of one button. Apart from using the directional stick to move about, your main focus will be on the A button, which holding or pressing it makes you fly, and letting go causes you to fall. You use this to navigate through whatever the various levels throw at you, as well as racing against the screen which will cause death if you don't keep ahead of it.
In addition to the speed pacing, you will encounter various pickups as you fly through the levels. You aren't given any introduction to these pickups, although a quick scroll through the start menu explains briefly through pictures, but they are mostly obvious as you pick them up. Not all the pickups will help you though, and this means the game keeps you on your toes as you need to be looking ahead of the level at what is coming to see whether or not you need the item. Their abilities are simple but interesting, and definitely add a much needed excitement to the game. Whether it is collecting a pickup that adds an extra five or six clones for you to guide through, or one that speeds up the screen, there's a lot of variety to keep it entertaining, but not so much you get confused. The pickups mostly do help you with your puzzles though, offering you a shrinking power up when you need to get through a tight space, and a rolling power up when you need to spin over a deadly gear.
Bigger, smaller, spinning, cloning, it's your choice!
The levels are mostly fast paced, with some having to be completed in one go. Luckily the majority of the levels feature generous checkpoints, normally occurring in between the more difficult obstacles. This means that even the worst puzzle solver out there has an infinite amount of attempts to make their way to the end. There are a lot of places where you can be crushed, squashed, sliced and meet your death in various other ways. The fun and satisfaction comes from managing to overcome the next obstacle in your path, whether that is through using a shrink power up to get through small gaps, or growing larger and multiplying to weigh down a pipe to make it break. There's something new to get past in each level, so there are plenty of reasons and motivations to keep playing through the different levels.
This is a game where you'll be met with numerous deaths over and over again, but rather than putting you off, it instead motivates you to finish the level and beat the puzzles in front of you. While levels generally get longer and harder as you get further into the game, there doesn't seem to be any puzzle you can't get past. Each of the days have 40 levels each that generally have a similar difficulty line, but the bonus worlds, each having 10 levels to complete, have a slight difficulty spike. The different levels also each have three unique missions to complete, whether its to save a certain amount of clones or to explode all the level's bombs, you'll be wanting to come back to the levels over again to try and complete them all, and seeing as they don't have to be done in one go this is fairly achievable.
Watch out for the bomb... and the spinning gear of doom
The game has a rather unique look to it (unless you happen to have played LIMBO
, to which it has a resemblance), with the blackened clones and black paths playing foreground to a beautiful coloured background. A nice touch in the game is that the background reflects which of the four times of day you are playing, the night levels feature lots of dark blues and you will see reds, yellows and oranges representing the rising and setting of the sun. You pay little attention to the background, and there may not be much going on or much movement, but it definitely contrasts well with the blackness of everything in the foreground.
One nice addition to the game are the co-op levels and multiplayer mode. Even though the co-op levels are the same as the single player levels, there is double the fun to be had when you add a friend, or even quadruple if you get three friends to join you. The levels change slightly in co-op, with paths splitting and switches being added so that you need two of you to finish the level. Sometimes the level plays through easier, but a lot of the time it is harder, especially when you pick up a clone multiplier and the screen is filled with clones. The co-op also adds to the replayability of the game, and is definitely worth having a go at if you have a friend or two that is willing to spend the time to go through all the levels with you. The multiplayer mode can similarly be played with up to four people, and acts as a distance based challenge to see which clone can travel the furthest without meeting their maker. You can use various unlocked levels for this, setting as many round as you see fit (up to 99), and is better suited if you would rather go head to head with your friends than work together with them.
Who can save the most clones?
The game's achievements are both daunting and satisfying, with a hefty 77 for you to get your hands on. Luckily, a lot of them will come with natural game progression as you save a lot of clones
or as you make your way through the game simply completing the levels
. There are a few achievements that will require some extra attention in certain levels
, which again adds to the repeatability. Along the way you will be completing missions, and trying to save clones in co-op as well as playing a few games in multiplayer. There is a nice list here for you to sink your teeth into, but it won't be an easy or quick completion.
Seeing as it started its life as a mobile game, BADLAND: Game of the Year Edition
works surprisingly well on the Xbox One. With simple controls, plenty of levels and both co-op and multiplayer to spend your time on, it is easy to jump in and out of this game and contains hours of fun to be had. The achievements add a nice sense of replayability to the game's levels, and the lovely settings means you can enjoy looking at the game while you play it. You're getting a lot of gaming time for your money, so it is worth taking the time to help save a clone or two in this bad land they have to make their way through.
- Interesting puzzles and varied levels
- Co-op and Multiplayer modes lots of fun
- Game could have benefitted from a story
- Online co-op/multiplayer would have been a nice addition
The reviewer spent approximately 13 hours trying desperately to save every clone possible and, on most counts, failing miserably, as well as exploring both co-op and multiplayer modes. This unlocked 30 of the game's 77 achievements. The review code for this game was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review.
Please read our Review and Ethics Statement for more information.