For those whom were fans of Frogmind’s Badland (our review) — which it would seem most of you actually were — you should all be positively ecstatic to hear that there’s a sequel, which is quite appropriately known as Badland 2 (out now, $4.99). This is the sort of review that every journalist dreads eventually having to tackle, the one where they realize that everyone — including their grandmother — is absolutely in love with something. While I’ll admit that Badland 2 is a very solidly produced game from a technical perspective, I also sadly have to profess that I just don’t personally see the game’s appeal (which is the basis of the 4.0 score I’ve given it: very good, yet not transcendentally so).
Keep in mind that you’re more than free to disagree with my score if that’s what you prefer; I don’t live inside your head, and thus I can only evaluate my personal experience with Badland 2.
Anyways, it would seem that you’re some sort of bird/bat-like creature flying around what appears to be an otherworldly alien oil-mining operation (but it’s hard to be sure, since the game’s foreground visuals are entirely in silhouette). I would wager that these machines — although still running — were abandoned quite some time ago, as everything around you appears to be in a state of decay (although this is actually to your advantage). From here it’s up to you to explore your weird — and oddly beautiful — alien world, all while not dying on any of the mashing machines (which is sometimes much easier said than done, but thankfully the game’s checkpoints are quite plentiful).
Your controls — although more advanced (at least when compared to the original Badland) — manage to keep things fairly simple: players hold the left side of their screen to go left, and the right side of their screen to go right. Your bat/bird-thing will furthermore always moves upwards when either of these two buttons are being held, with the creature otherwise being subject to the whims of gravity when pressing neither. Therefore — although you can always drop straight down — you can really only move upwards in a somewhat diagonal direction, which can certainly make navigating around obstacles a touch complicated.
Along the way to further spice/complicate matters are various power-ups, which can have effects such as: increasing the herd of bird/bats you’re simultaneously controlling, making your bird/bats bigger/smaller, alongside many other effects. Some of these will even dramatically change how the game itself controls, such as one effect where your bird/bat suddenly becomes so heavily covered in tar that it can now only roll around. During these moments — rather than dodging around obstacles — you might have to cleverly use your weight to reposition obstacles, and afterwards quickly roll over the ramp you’ve just created before your weight can push it back down.
The primary game is far more focused on the experience of traversing the bizarre otherworldly scenery than the challenge itself, although those seeking to compete against others will be overjoyed with the limited-time online challenges presented in Badland 2. Herein are courses where players are graded on factors such as how fast a stage can be completed, or by just how large they can successfully maintain their bird/bat herd (a challenge that actually demands immense prowess). Those whom are high-ranking whenever one of these competitions end will then have the honor of their names being moved up the game’s leader board, making for potentially endless game play to be had.
Still — even with the addition of online challenges — the real meat of this app is entirely centered around witnessing the machinery filled world, and experiencing the many physics-based effects scattered throughout. While the various physics-based effects are beautiful to look at, you’re going to have to — unless you already adored the previous entry — ask yourself if staring at such simulated effects is going to personally please you. The game isn’t really bad at all, and furthermore even features rather tight controls, but — if I’m going to be bluntly honest — you could probably find far better apps to purchase if you’re just looking for digital obstacle courses with online leader board functionality.
But — as I stated at the beginning of this review — that’s just my honest opinion, based on how the simulated scenery didn’t quite put me in the same awe-inspired state that nearly everyone else playing Badland 2 seems to have experienced. There are very statistically good chances you’ll not only find the game to be decent — which I myself did — but that you’ll furthermore absolutely love the game, and want to murder me for not getting it. That’s perfectly okay, because — after all — like I stated when this review was first kicking things off: “I don’t live inside your head, and thus I can only evaluate my personal experience with Badland 2.”
Badland 2 is a game where — via tight controls — you command a strange Bird/Bat-like creature to fly across various otherworldly landscapes, filled with bizarre alien oil-drilling machines, and the physics-based scenery is rather impressive. Furthermore — for those seeking to prove their Bird/Bat-thing mastery — there are even online leader boards, wherein you seek to prove whom is the best at navigating around slowly corroding mechanical-stuff. However — if the scenery showed in these screenshots isn’t personally impressing you — then I might recommend you pass this one up, but that’s just my honest (and admittedly quite unpopular) personal opinion.