Review: Badland: Game of the Year Edition (Wii U)

Clone with me if you want to live.

By Andrew Hsieh. Posted 08/21/2015 17:11 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Incredible multiplayer shenanigans; great reimagining of Flappy Bird-style gameplay
Poison Mushroom for...
Some control slip-ups; difficulty ramps up to frustrating levels

Plenty of games have migrated from iOS and Android to the not-quite-as-small screen, from Angry Birds to Puzzle and Dragons, but if anything proves that mobile games can be full-fledged console experiences, it’s Badland: Game of the Year Edition.

If you haven’t heard of Badland, the gameplay’s simple and actually strangely reminiscent of that all-time classic (N.B.: I use “classic” loosely), Flappy Bird— except much more playable. You’re a big black blob called a Clone, who with up to three other players must navigate a series of obstacles from left to right by floating up and down, by tapping and holding the A button. But wait, there’s more!

Hitting something bad, like a buzzsaw or a boulder, will kill you instantly. But, every so often, you’ll run into a powerup that will duplicate your blob, creating multiple Clones that are controlled by the same button presses. You’ll need them, too, because the obstacles are so crazy, and the pacing is so fast, that you can start with fifty clones and end with just one. Of course, the game is happy to tell you how many clones survived at the end … and how many you let die in the name of glorious survival.

It’s actually an ingenious way of making Flappy Bird-style gameplay actually incredibly fun, especially in multiplayer. Badland supports up to four players in local games, supporting the GamePad, the Pro Controller and the Wii Remote. With even one other player, games often devolve (or evolve, depending on your point of view) into screaming, groaning and crying as everyone tries to ensure at least one Clone’s survival.

(Badland’s single player can be hectic, too—but nothing is quite as crazy as four players’ Clones blotting out the entire screen, moving forward at a hundred miles an hour, quickly being reduced to just one player’s Clone frantically avoiding obstacles as other players scream at him to survive.)

Unfortunately, Badland does get pretty difficult. The later levels of the game happen to be marred with obstacles that will send you back to the beginning of the stage, instead of just to a checkpoint, which can make single player games a little tedious. This is exacerbated by some control issues caused by certain power-ups that take some getting used to, probably due to their original mobile touch-screen controls.

In multiplayer, this can still be annoying, but the general party atmosphere the game provides usually smoothes things over—and the stages themselves don’t tend to be very long at all. Still, it’s a frustrating part of an otherwise very good example of a mobile-to-console port.

With 100 single-player levels, Badland: Game of the Year Edition is a worthy single-player romp on the Wii U, if you don’t mind a little frustration every now and then. But with 100 co-op levels—not to mention 27 multiplayer deathmatch stages—it’s a perfect addition to your multiplayer arsenal. So long as you’re okay with senseless clone death.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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