In an outstanding year for iOS titles, BADLAND still managed to stand out. An early frontrunner for Game of the Year, BADLAND showed me what was possible in a game without buttons, and took me completely by surprise. It’s a platformer with a one-button touch mechanic, and turned out to be one of the best genre entries this year.
It’s kind of an endless runner, but mixed with more traditional platforming elements like light puzzles and a level based structure. You control an army of flying creatures through trials and mazes filled. You’ll collect powerups and set off traps. You’ll find your way through increasingly deadly environments, and see how interesting a story told entirely through backdrops and level design can be. Oh, and the multiplayer isn’t a throwaway pack-in, it’s actually a ton of fun for up to 4 players on one device.
BADLAND is excellent from start to finish, and is the new standard for how full games can feel on the mobile platform. This seems like it could have been a 10 or 15 dollar XBLA or Steam game. But for a $4 game you can play on your tablet? This is one of the best you’re going to get, 2013 or otherwise.
In Honorable Mentions, the best games of the year that didn’t make the top ten are given their moment in the spotlight. While they might not be among HippoChippies’ ten best games this year, they were very, very close to making it there. This year, it came down to a list of 19 games that was trimmed into the Game of the Year list. This is one of the nine that almost made it.