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Moody mobile game Badland has a fantastic new sequel

Surprise!

Two years ago Badland became one of mobile's best games, mixing a dark, alien atmosphere with simple but challenging gameplay. Today, it finally has a sequel with the surprise launch of Badland 2 on iPhone and iPad.

The sequel doesn't change up the formula too much, as you're still controlling a strange, flying alien creature, tapping the screen to make it flap awkwardly through the air. By grabbing special power-ups the creature can either grow or shrink, as well as spawn multiple clones to follow it around. And the levels are still gorgeously rendered death traps. You'll find yourself squashed by rotating gears and sliced by spinning saws. Spawning clones gives you a better chance of survival, but even still you'll end up dying a lot in this game.

Badland 2

This was all true of the original, and Badland 2 adds a few new twists like liquid obstacles and a new mode that turns you into a rolling wheel. But the biggest change is that you now have the ability to fly both forward and backward. It's a feature that was introduced in the console version of the original Badland early this year, and it manages to add depth to the sequel without overcomplicating things — you simply tap on either side of the screen to go in that direction. What it does, though, is open up the levels; instead of just pushing ahead, you sometimes have to stop and think about how to proceed. This not only makes the world feel bigger and more exciting to explore, but also makes the puzzles more interesting to solve.

This is the kind of sequel for people who already love the game. If you've exhausted everything Badland has to offer and are looking for more, that's exactly what you'll get with Badland 2. It's also a game that will continue to grow after release, with developer Frogmind promising more content "coming soon after launch" via free updates. Badland 2 is available now on iOS devices — no word yet on other platforms — and will set you back $4.99.