Badlanders is a third-person action game for Android where you take on the role of a soldier dropped into the titular ‘badlands’. The aim is to collect as much loot as possible, avoid (or kill) other players, then find a way to escape.
What’s the story?
The game takes place in the ruins of civilization. The Red Beach Sanctuary houses the remains of technologically-advanced weaponry, but because it’s been partially destroyed, everything’s up for grabs. This isn’t the deepest narrative, but it serves its purpose and gives an in-world reason for why you can randomly find top-notch weapons lying around.
Other shooters, like Call of Duty: Mobile and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, don’t necessarily put a focus on story, so it’s nice to see that Badlanders gives at least a cursory reason for why you’re shooting and looting.
Badlanders is the latest title from NetEase Games. Many of the company’s other games incorporate a multiplayer element, so you can be sure it knows how to provide a smooth online experience.
In the case of Badlanders, it’s you versus up to 24 other players as you scout for loot. There’s also a strong emphasis on escaping in one piece, so direct combat may not always be the best option.
Character creation and load-outs
Badlanders is currently in open beta, which means customization options are a little thin on the ground. You can choose from one of six (three male, three female) pre-generated player models and enter a name. You’re then dropped straight into the game, where a mysterious benefactor instructs you over the radio to collect loot and escape.
Despite the promise of a sci-fi setting, the available equipment is all remarkably normal. Rifles, bulletproof vests, shotguns, and so on are all presented and accounted for.
Controls are intuitive, and player and equipment models are detailed. However, overall graphics are PS2-level and, importantly, Badlanders is part of an already overcrowded market but doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
Should you download it?
No. It’s in beta, so there is also plenty of gameplay and graphical bugs. Plus, ultimately, Badlanders doesn’t have a compelling hook other than ‘shoot, loot, and buy more stuff’.