|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Acquire||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: NIS America||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 16, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Andrew Groen
Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! What Did I Do to Deserve This!? is an unabashedly quirky and satirical game that oozes with creativity and originality at every turn. Unfortunately, this hefty dose of originality is also its undoing as its main gameplay mechanic ultimately comes across as imprecise and undercooked.
In Badman, you play as a God of Destruction who holds dominion over an unholy cavern with the potential to spawn untold numbers of powerful creatures. The object of the game is to fend off would-be heroes as they attempt to penetrate your defenses and capture the overlord of the cave.
This concept is by far its greatest selling point, and it's a deliberately satirical look at the opposing side of late 1980s role-playing games. When this theme is front and center, the game flourishes, and anybody who is even remotely familiar with the clichés and conventions of that era of gaming will be hard-pressed not to betray at least a few chuckles. Veterans of that genre will likely find in Badman's humor a sort of love letter to that time long since past.
The graphics and visual style continue to complement the retro theme of the title. Visuals throughout the game appear in an old-school, big block pixel look that hearkens back to the RPGs of old. Nothing is remarkably good looking, but the smart choice of style provides a continuity through the game that ties much of it together.
The sound effects and music are effective in establishing that tone of the late 80s RPG. However, there are just too few sound effects, and they can start to get obnoxious by the end. Plus, whether or not the music in the game is meant to be a throw-back, you'll still be extremely sick of heroic fifes and flutes by the time you're done playing.
One problem evident in this game is that even though Badman positions itself as a game for people who love old-school role-playing games, the gameplay itself has absolutely nothing in common with those games, except perhaps for its extreme difficulty.
So, instead of continuing the joke with more self-referential humor that extends into the gameplay, we're given the exceedingly interesting, yet somewhat boring and inexact "ecosystem" based gameplay.
During gameplay, you control a magical pickaxe that carves tunnels through your cavern. You're essentially creating one of the dungeons you played a thousand times in old-school RPGs. The catch is that monsters aren't placed in the dungeon, but are actually grown and manifested through an ecosystem that you help create.
As you dig deep into the subterranean levels, you'll often crack open blocks that have "nutrients" in them which will result in basic creatures (green blobs) to defend your cave. Those creatures then spread nutrients around to other blocks to create other creatures. Those creatures might feed on the green blobs to grow in power and eventually reproduce. This leads to the development of an ecosystem in your cave.