Badland is one of the biggest gaming successes to ever hit the App Store. Its distinctive and beautiful visual style, challenging gameplay and high attention to detail all reinforced the notion that iOS is a great platform for unique and excellent games. Now, some two and a half years after making its debut, Badland 2 has arrived for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The game will feel immediately familiar to the millions who played the original -- the character you guide and the obstacles you dodge are still primarily rendered in silhouette, with beautiful, hand-painted backgrounds providing most of the eye candy.
But there's a major new gameplay feature here: you can now guide your left and right instead of always having to go in a single direction. The game still auto-scrolls, so there's only so much exploration you can do before getting squashed off the screen, but being able to move back and forth adds a new dimension to level design. Much of the rest of the game's original mechanics are intact. Your circularly flappy avatar can still multiple, shrink and grow depending on what the situation calls for, but developer Frogmind promises a variety of new environmental challenges to contend with, including liquid, flamethrowers, frost and many more.
The $4.99 game feels expensive in these days of free-to-play, but it's nice to know that a one-time purchase will unlock a host of levels without any prompts to drop more money, and Frogmind updated the original game with plenty of more levels and content over the years. There's no reason not to expect the same thing here, so once you've finished the main game you can expect more challenges to come your way as time goes on.
Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that the game works with the new Apple TV yet as the original does, but that might come with time. It also seems likely that we'll see the game eventually spread to other platforms beyond iOS -- the original is available for Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Amazon devices, and a "game of the year" edition was also released for Xbox and PlayStation consoles. That console version first introduced the ability to fly left and right, so we're happy to see it make its way to this new version as well. If you want to give it a go, Badland 2 is available now in the App Store.