My main problem with the original Badland was the lack of challenge. Sometimes it felt like you were floating through the levels without any control.
That's something that Frogmind has rectified for this surprise sequel, and it makes the experience fizz and pop in ways the original didn't.
On top of all that it's still stunning. Seriously, this is one of the best looking games you're ever going to stick onto your iPad or iPhone. You'll have many an admiring look if you whip this out on the bus.
So what's changed?
Well, not a lot. But the additions have made the game much, much better. There's a feeling of control that was lacking in the original, and all of the new ideas click into place brilliantly.
You're still leading a black blob through a series of mazes, tapping on the right of the screen to move right and the left to move left. Push both sides at the same time and you'll move up.
There are obstacles to get through, ranging from spinning cogs to hyper-sharp blades, from squelchy oozing goo to pipes that smash up when you move over them.
Different bubbles change the way your little black blob works. You speed up, slow down, grow shrink, and multiply, then use these powers to solve environmental puzzles.
You need to push buttons, move blocks, hide from lasers behind self-propelled orbs, and change the flow of pipes to assist your forward momentum.
It sounds like there's a lot to do
There is, and it's an awful lot of fun as well. It flows brilliantly, and while there are some sections where the difficulty spikes a little uncomfortably, there's rarely anything too frustrating between you and your next goal.
Badland 2 might feel like more of an expansion, but it expands the series in all the right directions. It's thicker, more substantial, and coupled with those still gorgeous visuals it makes for a brilliant experience.
The controls are slick, and there's no hand-holding. You're left to figure out things for yourself, but the levels are designed well enough that you're never let wondering what you have to do for very long.
This sounds like a recommendation
You're absolutely right. Badland 2 is pretty much everything you want from a sequel.
It's brighter, it's sharper, and it corrects a lot of the mistakes that made the first game slightly disappointing.
It's great to see that, even at the end of the year, there are still some brilliant games hitting the App Store, and Badland 2 is well worth your time, attention, and hard-earned cash.