Into the Badlands Blade Battle

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Into the Badlands Blade Battle App Poster Image
Frenetic, violent action game pushes in-game shop, TV show.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Tap-swipe controls easy to use, but purchase-based progression makes advancement tough.

Violence

As on the show, there's precious little but violence. Lots of blood spilled.

Sex
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Into the Badlands Blade Battle is a strategic action game based on the AMC television show Into the Badlands. Like the show, it features fast-paced, bloody violence as heroes punch and hack their way through waves of enemies. An in-game link encourages players to join the Badlands Facebook community where players can post thoughts about the game. Players are repeatedly reminded to visit the store to purchase in-game currency and items. The easy-to-read privacy policy details the kinds of information collected. Read the privacy policy in full here.

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What's it about?

"The world is built on blood." This quote from the show's intro crawl pretty much tells you all you need to know. INTO THE BADLANDS BLADE BATTLE is set in a postapocalyptic world based on the agricultural practices and twisted ideals of the antebellum South. In this violent, blood-soaked world, plantation owners are called "Barons," assassins are called "Clippers," and slaves spend their wretched lives growing poppies and tobacco. The idea is to collect and upgrade talented fighters and use them to advance your Baron's agenda. That means lots of acrobatic fighting, scouting, collecting rewards, and joining forces with other players to defend your territory.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the violence in this game excusable because it matches the violence of the TV show? Or is it impossible to explain away?

  • Talk about video games based on movies or TV shows. Do you think they're better or worse than stand-alone video games? Do game or movie tie-ins enhance your entertainment experience?

  • Think about online social game communities. Does belonging to a game community make you more committed to the game?

App details

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For kids who love collecting and upgrading heroes

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