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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Minor themes to do with environmentalism, with forest creatures endangered by encroaching machine menaces.
Positive Role Models
The player's character is a forest creature named Clony on an adventure to see what's going wrong in his forest. He's curious, aims simply to discover, survive.
Ease of Play
Easy to pick up, challenging to finish. Requires deft maneuvering, button tapping to avoid traps, obstacles. Levels are very short, so players lose little progress when they fail.
Violence & Scariness
Flapping fantastical creatures take damage by bumping into spikes, lasers, gears, crushers, and other obstacles, potentially causing them to bounce around the screen or be disintegrated.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Badland: Game of the Year Edition is a downloadable side-scrolling action game ported from mobile devices to consoles and PCs. Players control a small, black, flappy fellow who flies through traps and obstacles on a wordless mission to figure out what's gone wrong in his forest. He can be hurt by running into lasers, spikes, and gears that can cause him to bounce around the screen or even disintegrate, but there's no blood or gore. Light themes of environmentalism permeate the story, thanks to the growing presence of machine menaces within the forest. Multiplayer is restricted to local play, so there's no worries about any online dangers.
Is It Any Good?
It's pretty clear that Badland was made for bite-size play sessions on mobile devices. The levels, while redesigned for consoles, are very short for a couch game, and the controls are a smidgeon too simplistic -- even with the added ability to use a control stick to control speed and direction rather than simply tap to control lift. Everything is optimized nicely, and the controls feel natural, but most players are used to (and probably expect) something a bit more complex when playing on a console.
But that's not to say this version of the popular side-scroller isn't challenging or fun. It's still a great little game with a gorgeous silhouette art style and a ton of personality (the glowing-eyed animals spied in level backgrounds remain wonderfully enigmatic). Working out how to get past cleverly designed obstacles and traps -- even if it's sometimes simply a process of trial and error -- is generally quite rewarding, and the slowly evolving story, simple though it may be, still manages to sink in a couple of hooks. Badlands: Game of the Year Edition isn't going to blow people's minds the way the original mobile version did for people playing it on phones, but the satisfying mechanics and quality of craftsmanship still shine through. There's much here to enjoy.
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.