A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
Tap-swipe controls easy to use, but purchase-based progression makes advancement tough.
Violence & Scariness
As on the show, there's precious little but violence. Lots of blood spilled.
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Parents Need to Know
Is It Any Good?
This simple app offers no surprises and does just what you'd expect a TV show tie-in to do: make you think more about the AMC television series. That doesn't make it a terrible app, but it does expose it as the lifeless added-revenue generator it was designed to be. These days, collection-based apps are coming out of the woodwork like so many digital termites. Hoping to tap into the Pokémon magic, they present a long roster of heroes and encourage players to "catch 'em all." Into the Badlands Blade Battle adopts this strategy unapologetically, asking players to collect and upgrade their favorite show heroes. Each hero has his or her own fighting style, and each style adapts nicely to the streamlined tap/swipe control setup. Though the so-called Story mode is pretty thin (really, it's only a line or two of dialog between fights), combat is handled well and makes fighting off waves of ax-, knife-, and pike-wielding maniacs dynamic and fun -- until you hit the mandatory purchase gate. Successful free-to-play games encourage purchases by offering things you want, such as fun cosmetic extras. Less successful ones make purchases mandatory, and that's a guaranteed fun-killer. Though Badlands features per-hero energy pools that stretch out individual game sessions, its gold-heavy upgrade system means after the first hour, progress is hard. Your only recourse then is to spend up to a hundred dollars on a game worth a fraction of that -- or endure the tedious, snail-like process of earning the gold you need to go on. Fans of the show might be OK with that; everyone else might see it as reason enough to get out of the Badlands.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.