BADLAND: Game of the Year Edition (XB1) Review

What is Badland? I still don’t know.

Badlands sounds like a title that would focus on something featuring post-apocalyptic settings, or perhaps a theme of desolate hope. Much to my surprise, Badlands is nothing like I imagined. It is a beautiful 2D side scrolling game, but does it have enough gameplay to back up the visual wonder?

MSRP: $9.99
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PS3, Vita, PC
Price I’d Pay: $5.00
Multiplayer: 1-4

In Badlands players control a simple creature. Players won’t know exactly what this creature is, and that’s probably not the point. What is important is getting your creature across the screen and to the next level, a very simply premise. The simplicity doesn’t end with the core idea either; controls are very basic, using one button for movement and the control stick to move the character around.

Where the variation in gameplay comes from is the various hazards, from exploding mines to turning fan blades. These environmental dangers will test responsiveness, quick reflects, and patience. Each level and area adding new pitfalls or abilities does make the levels stand out a bit, even if they all play out fairly the same. Audio and visual wise, it has a very beautiful and almost laid back approach. Is it fantasy, is it magical? Players will probably never really know what the world in Badlands is truly about and perhaps that is part of the charm.

Badlands offers local co-op, multiplayer, and a ton of levels to keep players going, yet it feels like a game made for quick access, and I found myself getting rather bored after 30 minutes of play. On a mobile system this game feels right at home with in its casual play time, but I can’t help but feel a little alienated with it on consoles. It reminds me of a far more varied “flappy bird” kind of game, but ultimately it’s a shallow experience that long overstays its welcome. If you pay a few rounds in between all your other games though, you might see it to the end.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Beautiful backgrounds
  • Simple controls
  • Ambient OST
  • Simplistic Gameplay
  • Repetition in some levels
  • At odds on consoles
Written by
Justin is a long time passionate fan of games, not gaming drama. He loves anything horror related, archaeology inspired adventures, RPG goodness, Dr Pepper, and of course his family. When it comes to crunch time, he is a beast, yet rabies free we promise.