Sunday, August 2, 2015

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

We move from a Wii U and Nintendo 3DS eShop nostalgia-driven RPG to a highly celebrated mobile game that received several awards and nominations. The game is now available for the Wii U eShop. It's Badland: Game of the Year Edition. Here's SPC's verdict.

Badland ho!

Badland originally released on iOS and Android two years ago and was hugely celebrated. It won awards and nominations like crazy, giving the Wii U version's "Game of the Year Edition" moniker actual meaning unlike other games that just throw the term "Game of the Year" around like it was nothing. Now this much admired mobile title has reached the Wii U eShop. What was beloved on mobile is something special on Wii U.

Badland has you controlled a birdlike creature known as a Clone, flapping his wings with the A or ZR button as you move through a hundred or so automatically scrolling levels. These levels have you avoid getting crushed by falling rocks and other debris, evade killer buzz saws, zoom through narrow crevasses, and utilize various power-ups which alter the way Clone plays. There are boosts that speed up or slow down the scrolling of the screen (having the left side of the screen catch up with Clone is instant failure), there are power-ups that increase or decrease the size of Clone, among many others.

I'm starting to understand why this flapping creature is called "Clone."
The nearly 100 stages in Badland are separated between two days, and each day is made up of four periods: dawn, day, dusk, and night. There are also a duo of bonus level groups that can be unlocked and played through as well. Additionally, there are cooperative multiplayer levels to unlock. I would have preferred these to be already available to me at the beginning of the game, but what can you do.

Just reaching the end of a day and seeing the credits can be a goal for beginning players while more serious players can focus on trying to complete all of the achievements within the game. These are things like rescuing a set number of clones, beating levels without dying, and much more. It definitely adds to Badland's longevity, so if you're finding yourself yearning for more long after the credits have rolled, you have several other goals to shoot for to keep playing.

The 100 stages require lots of precision if you wish to survive them.
If a particular part of a level is deemed too tough for you, after repeated deaths you can opt to skip to the next checkpoint. You can always return to a past checkpoint if the current situation is seen as a dead end progress-wise. While this is a nice feature, later levels present checkpoints that are much more spread out. Even worse, some levels don't have checkpoints at all. Again, these are later levels, but it can be mighty infuriating to go through an entire level with a clean run only to mess up at the final challenge, forcing you to being the level from the very beginning.

Badland is a beautiful game. The foregrounds and obstacles are all in a dark black, which makes the backgrounds pop out wonderfully. The sound of the game is atmospheric, allowing you to hear the grinding of the buzz saws, the cries of animals, and the noises of big boulders bashing into the ground.

Lasers? *gulp*
The amount of content available to players for its relatively low price makes Badland a recommended purchase for Wii U owners. Although there is great frustration to be had in later levels due to the lack of or scarcity of checkpoints, the overall game is worth playing. While it doesn't shine as brightly on a home console as it does on mobile devices, Badland: Game of the Year Edition is a game that patient Wii U owners should go ahead and check out.

[SPC Says: B-]

Review copy provided by Frogmind Games.

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