BadPad – A Demanding Callback to Old-School Platformers

Admittedly, I went into BadPad thinking I wasn’t going to enjoy the game much. I’ve played my share of Super Meat Boy. I know my Metroid. I’m protective over old-school platformers. I don’t need another one in my life. Then the intro started.

Right from the start, BadPad makes sure I know that it isn’t your typical game. A heavy - yet catchy - theme introduced me to the story of a controller's buttons come to life. The bad one, Evil-Pen, has captured the other buttons. It’s up to me to save them.

BadPad then has the audacity to throw me into a boss battle during the opening credits. That’s right - as the game is telling me who worked on it, it is forcing me to fight a boss. It’s very ballsy and I like it.

BadPad Plays Off Of Its Inspirations

Like any old-school platformer worth a play, BadPad has a world map with differing stages to explore and get brutally murdered in over and over again. The stages don't differ too much in aesthetic, but there is variety in what they expect of me. BadPad features the standard obstacles I have come to expect from 2D platformers, and they are presented well. There are spikes to avoid, moving obstacles in my way, enemies to overcome, and wall jumps to make. The levels are well designed and do a good job presenting a challenge. I never felt that the game was too difficult or unfair. Developers Headbang Games and Oray Studios have a great sense of balance between over-the-top-unbeatable-death-trap and too-easy-it-isn’t-even-worth-my-time.

Dying to these obstacles is never a big deal. Respawns are frequent due to a large amount of save systems throughout the levels. Movement is pretty well polished for how early on BadPad is. My actions feel the tiniest bit floaty for now, but a few tweaks and they will be rock-solid. Shortcuts and wrap around paths are also in place. The two dev teams make sure to remove difficulty when it isn’t necessary rather than making every aspect hard just for the sake of being hard.

Not insanely hard, but no walk in the park either. (BadPad)
Not insanely hard, but no walk in the park either.

Variety Is One Of BadPad's Biggest Strengths

In order to progress through the game, there are multiple arcade machines I have to beat. Featuring classics such as Asteroids or Space Invaders, these asides serve as nice boss battle replacements as well as a break from the normal flow. Don’t expect these to be easy, however. These arcade games are just as challenging as you may remember. Completing them is a must as it allows for further progression into the game. They also provide a real incentive for collectibles. The only way to activate the machines is by having enough coins - and coins must be searched out.

The arcade machines aren’t in the absence of traditional boss fights. The main one in the demo shows up a few times. Each scenario is a little different than the last, but they all involve the familiar “dodge the homing attack until you can hit back”. This is an Early Access title, however, and the devs have expressed interest in addressing this in the near future.

BadPad already has all the makings of a good game. A great personality, polished movement, stellar level design, and balanced difficulty all make an appearance. Once the developers work out a few small kinks and vary up the boss fights, they will have a title truly worth any gamers time.

This preview was based on my time with BadPad's demo.

BadPad can be found on Steam and itch.io.

Max Moeller
Max Moeller
Max Moeller has been a gamer for as long as he could hold a controller. He is pretty new to the industry, but is planning to make his mark through writing and blogging about the medium. When not playing or creating content around games he is probably trying to find the next great place to eat near him.
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