Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! What Did I Do To Deserve This?
Badman's objective is fairly straight-forward: you're given an underground cavern that you can excavate with a magic pickaxe
- Funny dialogue, addictive gameplay, your patience will be rewarded (if you don't give up first)
- Dishearteningly difficult, only dedicated gamers with tons of patience will dig deep enough to fully appreciate it
I stuck with Badman, partly because I had to for the review and partly because I felt the need to finish what I started. I liked the deep strategy but I was as frustrated as I was entertained. If you're a hardcore puzzle master with the patience of a saint, by all means pick up this bad boy and give it a spin. But if you are a casual gamer looking for a quick fix you may want to turn the other cheek.
Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! What Did I Do To Deserve This? looks like a simple game on the surface but dig deep enough and you'll find an incredibly deep and complex strategy game albeit one that's sometimes as unwieldy as the ridiculous title. The retro vibe, quirky humour and addictive gameplay shine but the steep learning curve will only appeal to the most dedicated gamer.
Damn You Heroes!
Badman's objective is fairly straight-forward: you're given an underground cavern that you can excavate with a magic pickaxe. Doing so creates an army of pixelated uglies that slowly grow and evolve as you carve out your subeterranen dungeon. Heroes come into your caves in an attempt to capture your helpless Overlord; it's your job to defeat them before they can drag him into the light.
It sounds simple on paper -- what's so hard about digging up dirt, right? -- but Badman requires an insane amount of strategy. You can go crazy with the pickaxe and just dig a bunch of caves but only by taking into account soil types and excavating in strategic shapes will you survive the heroic onslaught.
Visually, Badman looks a lot like a mutated cousin of the arcade classic Dig Dug. The PSP's screen can sometimes get in the way but it's easy to identify that individual soil blocks. The game takes a food pyramid approach: at the bottom are low-level baddies like Slimemosses. As they move around your dungeon, they fertilise the soil and act as food for large minions, which in turn feed other minions all the way up the chain. You have to carefully build your dungeon to maximise your creatures' functions or your Overlord doesn't stand a chance against the sixty-six different types of heroes who'll raid your dungeon.
You're also graded at the end of every round; playing through the first time I constantly scored C's and D's and this is Badman's biggest weakness: the initial difficulty is so steep that it will turn off everyone but the most dedicated and patient gamer. Unless you're some sort of strategy game savant, you will have experience your fair share of failure in the early going, enough so that most gamers will quit in frustration.
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First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
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