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Watch Out For Spinning Saws And Exploding Mines In The Badland

April 4, 2013

BADLAND ($3.99) by Frogmind is a side-scrolling platformer game with a surreal ambiance and a visually interesting design. Save the clones by directing them along precarious paths. Try to help them all survive through to the end.

Players move a sprite-like clone across a beautifully created dark forest. The background of this magical landscape is colorful and vibrant, while the foreground, where the action is, remains shrouded in darkness.

To move the clone, tap the screen. He will begin flying through the air. In order to keep the little creature airborne, you must continuously tap the screen. Every tap pushes him forward. If you tap too often, he will fly to the top of the screen, and may get stuck. If you tap too slowly, he may fall to the ground, or get squished between two falling rocks.

Once you’ve started moving, the background begins to scroll. As long as the clone stays on the screen, you are doing ok. If he gets caught behind a log or under a rock, he will die if he can no longer be seen on the screen.

As you travel through the dangerous, yet beautiful, forest, you will come across other clones. As you pass them, they will be drawn to you. Once they have joined the group, they will all move in unison.

This can be a benefit and a burden. For example, sometimes, you will need the extra strength of multiple clones to help lift a heavy object out of the way. Other times, too many clones will clog up a narrow passageway.

The goal is to get as many clones to the exit portal as possible. However, as long as one still survives, you can move on to the next level. This makes it very easy to move from one level to the next, but very difficult to score high.

You can play alone in Campaign mode, or compete against up to three friends in tabletop Multiplayer mode. In this mode, each player controls clones of a certain color and taps a corner of the screen to make them move. The player who makes it to the end with the most clones wins the round.

This game is very good looking. It feels very calming, but also very intense. It reminds me of Nihilumbra, not in gameplay, but in visual context. The game is actually very easy to play. It may even be too easy for some.

For its price, I do wish the game had a little more depth to it. I like that it is casual and interesting to look at, but there really isn’t much to the game. You don’t have to kill enemies, or have impeccable timing. You just fly through obstacles and hope your clones don’t all die before you make it to the exit. You don’t even earn points. You just earn stars for how many clones you bring through the exit portal.

Overall, this app looks amazing, but doesn’t offer as much in the way of gameplay as I’d like. Fans of atmospheric platformer games will appreciate this app for its aesthetic appeal. However, the price tag is high enough for me to warn gamers that you may find this a bit underwhelming.

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