2.5 out of 5. Super Meatboy as a Metroidvania Rock Opera. Enjoy some of the same clutch platforming gameplay, but now with a large metroidvania map to explore. Not perfect, but wholly unique.
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How Metroidvania is it? Medium Fit. While the entire castle is indeed available to you at any given point in time, there’s little reason to backtrack except in the main hub. Otherwise, Bad Pad fits the genre in my opinion.
Primary Challenge: Tricky Platforming
Time to beat: ~10 hours
Review Info: The Steam review code for Bad Pad was provided by the developer.

More Info

Developer: Headbang Games
Publisher: Headbang Games
Sub-genre: Linear Platformer Hybrid
Features: Map System, Multiple Difficulty modes, 2D Platformer, Tricky Platforming, Puzzle Platforming, Fast Travel/Teleporters, Narrative/Cutscenes Story Telling, Collectathon, Level-Based, Blood and Gore
Difficulty: High
Linearity/Openness: High Gating - Guided
Platforms: Windows, Steam
Release Date: 2018/08/08
Available Languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese

Store Links

    Steam    

Buy Bad Pad if you like…

  • Super Meat Boy
  • Rock Opera
  • Long Game Length
  • Lots of Variety in the gameplay
  • Spiky Buzz Saws

▼ Review continues below ▼

This review has been updated for Version 1.3. It has not been updated for any subsequent versions.

I had originally written a long critique for Bad Pad that was mostly negative, which you can find here. Since then, the great folks at Headbang Games have since taken what I’ve said and made a few changes to the game, and the speed by which they were willing to do so is impressive to me. Without going over the game with a fine-tooth comb and critiquing every screen individually, I can’t say whether every issue I had with the game is fixed. However, since I already talked about the negatives in the original review I will update my thoughts on what was changed and highlight some of the positives of the game here.

One of my favorite things about Bad Pad is the overall style. I think a lot of people might think it’s cheesy, but it’s the kind of camp that I really enjoy. All the characters talk in a guttural voice like they’re heavy metal celebrities trying to impress their fans. Best of all, they sing most of the game’s story cutscenes. For me, even when I found the game most frustrating in its original state, I still wanted to see what crazy music I’d get to witness for enduring through it, and that kind of style is a major strength for any game. That is, assuming you also subjectively enjoy it.

At its best Bad Pad has you weaving through obstacles very similar to Super Meatboy. That feeling of relief from just barely making a jump, like near missing a buzzsaw and catching the edge of a wall, never gets old. Though the Metroidvania-style upgrades that you find only include two that directly affect how you platform, the additions add a new dynamic of challenge to the mix that sets it apart from just being another Meatboy clone. I said it in my original review that mixing Metroidvania with the Clutch Platformer genre of Super Meatboy is a fantastic idea.

Since the game is around 10 hours long from start to finish, these obstacle courses can start to feel a little repetitive, but to the developer’s credit there is some good effort here to break up the gameplay with variety. This is a good approach to game design, though in my previous review I did get a little disgruntled about how a lot of these variety sections were handled. Since the most recent patch however, the worst offenders have been updated to not only be less frustrating, but to be actually fun in their own right. You’re no longer forced to git gud at Space Invaders in order to access the next major section of the game (at least on Normal Mode.) The Schmup section is less boring, and one of my favorites of the variety sections is no longer so punishing that it ruins the experience. Now, these variety sections are much closer to what they should be – a fun change up from simply wandering hallways and finding keys to move forward.

Furthermore a lot of the randomness issues that I complained about have been addressed. Enemies that used to fly around in unpredictable patterns now follow a route, so the player can reasonably react to their movements. Additionally, I complained in the original review that there were some sections that required the player to address gimmicks they hadn’t been properly introduced to. Now, at least one entire section of the game has been replaced with a new room that is intended to give the player some experience with a new gimmick before the much harder section has to be tackled later on. These changes help immensely keep the game at a “Hard but Fair” level of difficulty.

Not having played the entire game through again, I can’t say whether every single issue with Bad Pad has been fixed, but I have tested specific sections of the game and I at least feel comfortable recommending it. There’s a niche out there – including myself – that will appreciate its campy Hard Rock presentation as well as the novelty of controlling a Super Meatboy-esque character through a large Metroidvania castle.


Final Score

2.5/5

Scoring system overview


Metroidvania Breakdown

Combat
– 2

There really isn't ''combat'' - though there are some combat-like scenarios (Namely the bosses.)

Platforming
– 3

The focus of the game. There are moments of brilliance mixed with some uninspired level design - but overall good

Exploration
– 2

Relatively linear. There are coins to be collected, but there's little need to backtrack for them. Also some concept art to be found, but those are often hidden in obtuse passable walls.

Puzzle
– 3

Some surprisingly good platforming puzzles near the end of the game, but definitely not a focus overall

Story
– 2.5

It's no Othello, but it's an entertaining part of the game if you enjoy its particular style

Graphics
– 2.5

It's mixed. There are some really fun animated backgrounds, and other times it's pretty flat and uninteresting

Music
– 3.5

Much of the music involves actual performance, which is fantastic,. Some of the level music however can get repetitive.

Replayability
– 2.5

Three different difficulty levels if you are interested in ramping things up.


Want a second opinion? See what other reviews say:

Steam Reviews
All Time: Positive
(89% of 19 Reviews)


TBD Metacritic
Read critic reviews