A haunting and atmospheric adventure in the shadows.

Badland is an atmospheric side-scrolling action/adventure title from Frogmind boasting stunningly smooth graphics and simple yet immersive gameplay. This critically-acclaimed game sports physics-based gameplay that will challenge the players' wit, quick-decision making, and reflexes.

The game takes place in a breathtakingly beautiful yet equally mysterious forest. The mesmerizing landscape in the background gives off a fantasy-like vibe to it. All the action takes place in the shadowed foreground. You take control of a small critter and your objective to travel across the stage and reach its exit. There are no complex controls or whatsoever. Your just need to tap on the screen to make your critter fly. Holding on the touchscreen will make the critter fly higher. The screen will scroll to the side automatically and if you get stuck while the screen is rolling, you'll be dead and you'll have to start over the last checkpoint that's saved automatically.

As simple as the gameplay may seem, you'll soon discover that there's more than tapping and controlling your creature across various obstacles. As you progress in the later stages, you'll encounter various traps and power ups that will make your job easier or harder. Some power-ups will increase your size or shrink you. If you get big, you'll have a harder time flying and become slower but you'll also become capable of pushing obstacles easily. Shrink and you'll be able to fly faster and go through smaller spaces but twigs blocking your path will become huge obstacles. You'll get to encounter similar creatures as yourself along the way. If you touch them, they'll tag along.

However, saving your comrades is all but a nigh attempt. Some of them, even all of them will get crushed, blown, or killed by screen transition. The environment's unforgiving traps and obstacles will get increasingly difficult. As mentioned earlier, this is a physics-based game. You have to make use of gravity and your size to push through. The power-ups you can pick up are strategically placed on every stage which means you can get when you really need to use them. However, that's only part of the challenge. After shrinking or increasing in size, what should you do to get across the next trap? Or how can you fit in on that pathway that's almost as big as you? You'll be put in those situations regularly. Delay your decision and you'll get caught by the screen transition.

There are no hostile creatures you'll need to avoid or encounter. The game pits you against the imaginative traps and obstacles on every stages. You have to look out artificially-made contraptions, or natural hazards like falling rocks or mounted spikes. You cannot destroy them so you'll need to work your way around them. This makes the gameplay very challenging, immersive, and at the same time, quite addicting.

The game's visuals are both haunting and soothing. The shadowed foreground contrasts the beautiful backgrounds while allowing you to focus on the what's happening. The game's sound is immersive and relaxing, perfect for game's atmosphere. Controlling the creature is very smooth and responsive and the effects are really superb.

The game is free to play and can be played offline. It doesn't display any intrusive ads through you'll get occassional reminders of the game's offers. As it is free-to-play, you should also note that not all levels are unlocked. To unlock more levels, you have to purchase it. The single-player campaign has over 100 unique and beautifully designed levels. The game is also adding more content and features like the Multiplayer and Coop modes, further enhancing the game's replayability.

The game doesn't test your patience through incredible difficulty spikes or extremely hard challenges, and the free unlocked stages are enough to hep people decide if they want to buy additional levels or just uninstall the game. Overall, Badland is a love-hate affair. Some people may be turned off with its simple gameplay while others may get hooked to it. The game's free-to-play format stays true to its word since you'll have full access to the game's default levels. Overall, playing Badland is truly a different and enjoyable experience.

4.3 / 5.0
review by vhayste | Apr 15th 2015

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