Back in 2013, the beautiful, silhouetted simplicity of Frogmind's Badland won the developer one of Apple's Game of the Year awards (read our review here). After over 20 million downloads on mobile devices, the game is now being updated for wider release on consoles, PC, and Vita. I got my hands on the enhanced PlayStation 4 version of the game and played around with modes like co-op and deathmatch.
Badland contains the original 100-level single-player campaign, along with 100 co-op levels and a number of bonus stages that were offered as DLC packs on mobile devices. These stages have been modified to accommodate the new control scheme. The original Badland's controls were as simple as pressing the screen to make the little round critters flap their arms and fly. Now an extra degree of control has been added thanks to the controller's analog stick. The extra movement is subtle, but helps for fine-tuning your trajectory through narrow gaps.
Being able to accurately fly through the auto-scrolling levels is especially helpful when teaming up with three other friends for local co-op. Each player controls a differently colored little creature, working together to hit switches to turn off lasers in a sprint to the finish. Sometimes players die when they get in one another's way, but the forgiving checkpoints and creature-multiplying power-ups soften the sting. My favorite moment from my hands-on time involves navigating an elongated, centipede-like form through nasty traps while trying to use his clumsily floating body to deflect laser beams.
The multiplayer deathmatch is a good fit for anyone who enjoys getting together with friends to yell and try to kill one another's adorable little avatars. Competitors select a playlist of stages to face off in. One match may require players to evade a spinning hazard in a claustrophobic room, while another might involve racing to the finish of a level. If you enjoy the chaotic local competitive fun of games like Rayman Legends or SpeedRunners , Badland should be a perfect fit.
Frogmind is developing this updated port of the game for PS3, PS4, Vita, Wii U, and PC. The game will be cross-buy, cross-save across all of Sony's platforms as well. Folks who missed out on this charming side-scroller in 2013, or are looking for a new chance to return to its generous well of challenging levels should look for its release later this year.
Get a better look at Badland in the media gallery below