You have to hand it to Wales Interactive for their genius in coming up with a game featuring badgers in space, then giving it a radical theme tune for its title screen that wouldn’t feel out of place in an 80s Saturday morning cartoon.
You can imagine my disappointment and horror to find that once I got past this impressive opening, I then had to play a disappointing physics-based puzzler that looks and plays like an unpolished ripoff of Angry Birds Space, mixed with a very similar game I reviewed earlier this year for iOS, Interplanetary Drift.
Before I stick the boot in, here’s the simple premise. Playing as the eponymous Badgers of Gravity, or rather the leader, Captain T. Bayback, you are in charge of rescuing your squad and the universe itself from the dreaded Evil Honey Badgers (who may, or may not, give a toss). Each chapter in the game is preceded by a beautifully painted piece of artwork, which is static and unfortunately doesn’t really explain what’s going on, not that it really matters. Every now and then, there’ll be some non-animated in-game cutscenes with poor dialogue between the various members of the team, including some awful puns, but that’s your lot as far as narrative goes.
In any case, this sets up over 100 single-screen puzzles where you need to catapult your badger through space and into a wormhole, using the gravitational pull of planets to guide you where you need to go. In true Angry Birds style, you drag your badger back before letting go and seeing if the aim and power are correct to get to the end of the level. Repetitive trial and error is the key here, as well as luck, it seems, as it often feels like you’re pulling your badger the exact same way only to catapult him/her in different directions. All too often, your badger decides to fly off while you’re trying to drag, which is also an annoyance, as is the camera automatically zooming out when you’re trying to line up a shot. As a result, each time you start a level, it’s best to manually zoom out with the right analog stick, just to make sure the view doesn’t zoom out when you least expect it (usually a millisecond before you let go).
Each level has three glowing orbs to collect in order to unlock achievement-style rankings that don’t really do anything. There are also a few environmental hazards and helpers such as a static enemy that occasionally floats around to get in your way, portals, laser grids that open the wormhole when tripped, and blocks of ice that stop you and allow you to change direction.
A boss “fight” also occurs at the end of each chapter, which basically involves you continually moving to dodge their laser attacks until they get bored and blow up. It’s as dull as you can imagine, especially when, like the rest of the game, there’s barely any challenge whatsoever. While a game like Angry Birds relies on the nuance of its physics to create challenge and keep you playing, here each level just seems like more of the same. I rarely spent more than a couple of minutes on a level, and most of the time I was just finishing them all in one turn.
The presentation is just dreadful, and it feels like the entire budget of money and effort was spent on the title screen and the painted cutscenes. The irritating in-game music constantly loops, along with the dull sound effects, while the visuals are worth, with absolutely no animation and the same art assets used throughout.
VERDICT: Lifeless, unpolished and uninspired. These are all words used to describe such a dull ripoff. This game gives badgers a bad name and, quite frankly, unlike the real creature, these badgers should be culled.
BAD. Ugly, lazy, and unpleasant, if we’ve scored a game so low then it has serious issues. A 3/10 game will suffer from a combination of uninspired, lacklustre design, unfixed bugs and poor presentation.
Review code provided by publisher.