Blob Through the Air in the Dark Fantasy Side-Scroller “Badland”

Set in a dreamy fairytale world, Badland is a side-scrolling platformer/endless runner following the struggles of a strange, blobby little creature that bobs through the air trying to avoid the death traps littering its home. Badland starts out easily, giving the player time to ease into the controls and get a feel for the physics, then starts lobbing powerups and pickups. Some make you big, some make you small, some make you bounce and some make you stick. Each can only be undone by grabbing the pickup with the opposite effect, so pick and choose wisely.

In later levels, Badland gives the blob the ability to clone itself. Try to keep as many of them alive as possible, or sacrifice them to puzzle your way to the exit. Don’t let yourself get distracted by the gorgeous backdrops either, which have surprising depth for 2D art. There’s a bit of a narrative tucked away in the backgrounds; as you progress, the forest is slowly encroached upon by menacing machinery, giving the blob’s desperate attempts to stay alive some context.

The core mechanic of Badland is adaptation. The levels are often chaotic and rushed as the little blob flaps its way past dangers, often careening off walls and just narrowly avoiding being crushed beneath gears or falling rocks. The levels are pre-generated and carefully designed, but the sensitivity of the control and environments make it so that the game rarely plays the same way twice.

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