Badland: Game of the Year Edition comes to Vita after first appearing on mobile platforms, but don’t let that deter you. In terms of style, this is one of the best Vita games out there. Here’s our review.
Game of the year edition?!? That was our first response when checking out Badland: Game of the Year Edition, and I’m sure many of you can relate. I remembered a videogame called Badlands, but that was essentially a Super Sprint clone – and released in 1989. Not surprisingly, this particular game has nothing to do with that. Badland was originally a game for mobile platforms, and received Apple’s “Game of the Year” award back in 2013.
So that explains that. Now… what is it? That’s a little harder to explain, even though the basic concept is simple enough in terms of controls and gameplay. You control a small black ball-shaped character called Clony, whom you have to guide through the woods while avoiding the dangers that lurk there. Your adventure spans two whole days, where each day gets more and more dangerous as time goes on and dusk and night approaches during the later levels. Controls are simple, but hard to master – you fly through the levels horizontally while avoiding dangers that block your path, and this becomes harder as you control multiple characters all at once.
Picks-ups can make life a little easier, because they can slow down the game or make you smaller, thus making it easier to avoid hitting obstacles. The opposite is also true, because a different pick-up might make you bigger or cause you to spin around. It’s all very easy to learn, but harder to master. There’s a plot in there somewhere as well, but the game is really about just getting through the 100 or so levels – and there’s more if you count the expansions that are included with the game of the year release.
Originally designed to be played on touch devices, the Vita version also allows you to use ‘regular’ controls – which I preferred because it kept me from blocking the screen with my hands, allowing for easier timing. If you prefer touch when using the Vita, then that’s available for you as well. The gameplay will be practically the same and it’s just a matter of preference.
Though playing Badland is fun, where the game really shines is in its presentation. The art style and animation are both gorgeous to look at, reminding us of Limbo but with a more vibrant color scheme and a livelier setting. This makes Badland a lot of fun to play in short bursts. After a while, levels start looking alike and it pays to take a break and return later just to be enchanted all over again. If you suit your play style to the platforms this was originally designed for – playing for short bursts at a time – this is a great little title for PSN users.