A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Badland is a lushly illustrated adventure/puzzle game. There's a fair bit of violence as characters are squished and perish as they try to work their way to each level's escape valve, but it's fairly cartoonish. If parents are OK with that tone, there's really nothing else to worry about. Even the game's multiplayer mode is local, so there's no possible interaction with strangers. Players can share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.
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What's it about?
Players move a small flurry blob through series of cavernous areas, touching the screen to have it fly into the air. Along the twisting paths, there are several obstacles, such as turning paddles, explosive spore pods, and falling rocks. Glowing orbs along the cave walls let the player shrink or grow to navigate tight areas or withstand hazards. (The larger you are, the longer you have to press your finger to the screen to achieve flight.) Other fuzzy blobs will create a clone (or multiple clones) of your character that fly along with you. Four players can play a multiplayer version together on the same device.
Is it any good?
Don't let the name fool you: Badland is really good. Gorgeously illustrated and using an addictive, simple interface, the game stands out from the app store pack with unique gameplay and features.
While it's an easy game to grasp, the challenge lies in saving as many clones as you can -- and figuring out when to avoid growth/shrink orbs and when to utilize them. This perfect blending of adventure and puzzle will delight fans of both genres. The multiplayer is a nice addition, but seems a bit tacked on due to the fewer number of levels and the split-screen gameplay. Still, if you've got friends in a room together, it's not a bad way to pass the time.