Balan Wonderworld Overview – A Wonderment of Weird Selections (PS5)


Balan Firm is led by Sonic the Hedgehog and Nights into Goals creator Yuji Naka. With that type of pedigree, you’d suppose that their old-school collectathon platformer Balan Wonderworld must be good. Whereas some won’t be entertained by the dated thought of a mascot-driven platformer, the concept in itself isn’t a nasty one. What does maintain the sport again is it’s hampered by a good variety of unusual design selections that make it tougher to play and complicated than it ought to.

Gamers tackle the position of a troubled youngster. Emma Cole’s family maids are all whispering about her behind her again. In the meantime Leo Craig is fortunately breakdancing earlier than deciding to shun everyone and stroll off in a temper for some inexplicable motive. Each stumble throughout the mysterious Balan Theater, the place the completely smiling Balan packs them off to Balan Wonderworld to search out their hearts. The character of your alternative lands on the Isle of Tims with a handful of weird birds that continually demand to be fed yellow droplets. There’s no time to fret about that, although, as the primary world is beckoning.

Balan Wonderworld Overview – Why So Troubled?

The worlds break up into small islands till concord is restored. Platforming between these islands is straightforward sufficient and normally has room for error, its problem seemingly geared toward younger kids. If something, it’s too simplistic as a result of every stage is concentrated across the talents of the sport’s 80 costumes as a substitute. All of those costumes need to be unlocked from a pink crystal, the important thing to which is usually a really brief distance away, is hardly hidden, and respawns after a brief time period. You marvel why they bothered with the keys and didn’t simply allow you to choose the costumes up as a substitute because the mechanic is so redundant.

Every of the costumes has its personal capacity, which is displayed by an in-game message the primary time it’s picked up. The issue is the message disappears too rapidly leaving even the quickest of readers hitting the pause button to complete studying it within the recreation’s menu. A few of these costumes have very distinctive talents, just like the one that may skate on ice and gained’t slide to your doom off the sting of the platform. Others have related talents, just like the multitude that may throw projectiles of some kind.

The speculation is totally different costumes are wanted to succeed in totally different areas of the extent. Most ranges will should be replayed later with one other collection of costumes to succeed in beforehand inaccessible areas. It’s a mechanic that’s labored for years within the LEGO franchise, however it falls flat right here. A type of causes is whereas lots of love has gone into the costumes, a few of these talents are too particular to be of a lot use in the long run; for instance, there’s a dressing up that lets gamers arrange ladders in very particular spots not discovered exterior of that stage.

A second motive is every costume solely has a single capacity activated by any of the face buttons or triggers. In one of the vital weird selections Balan Firm may conjure up for a platformer, this implies not all costumes can bounce. Solely these with bounce talents or passive talents that don’t contain the press of a button can bounce. Now, if costumes might be stored completely and freely swapped, this wouldn’t be an issue. Sadly neither of these circumstances are true.

Balan Wonderworld Overview – Costume Mismanagement

Costumes can solely be swapped at checkpoints, solely three may be chosen directly, and each dying means the lack of the costume being worn on the time. There’s nothing extra irritating than realizing which costume is required however not having it obtainable as a result of it bought misplaced earlier, that means tedious backtracking to fetch it once more. A technique round that is to “financial institution” a number of copies of the costume when its crystal is discovered, however this implies having to attend round for keys and costumes to respawn. It additionally doesn’t keep away from the conditions when gamers are left trapped as a result of their solely obtainable costume can’t bounce and there’s no manner out. There’s no fast checkpoint restart choice both.

Issues don’t get significantly better away from the costumes. All the 12 worlds are set round troubled people who every need assistance to search out their very own hearts. There’s a farmer whose livelihood is destroyed by a twister, and a painter whose work will get darker as she spirals into melancholy and self-loathing. Every of those characters appears to have an fascinating story to inform, however it’s relegated to an admittedly well-animated cutscene that doesn’t play till after the world’s two platforming ranges. The sport fails to set the scene for every world till simply earlier than the concluding boss combat. The truth that it’s been left to a separate accompanying novel to fill in these gaps within the story offers a refined trace of how little issues are defined on this recreation.

Balan Wonderworld Review

The bosses are the most effective a part of the sport, every having their very own distinctive design however with no clarification. Some are easy to defeat, whereas others are an train in frustration as gamers concurrently attempt to work out what to do to defeat them whereas avoiding assaults and shedding worthwhile costumes. Regardless of their measurement, every solely takes three hits. As soon as defeated, gamers get a bizarre dance-a-thon impressed by musical theater to go along with the blissful ending cutscene.

After every stage, gamers return to the Isle of Tims that acts as a recreation hub. Right here the Tims want feeding however the recreation doesn’t trouble to say why. Gamers can feed them the totally different coloured teardrops discovered all through every stage. As soon as they’ve eaten sufficient, they develop larger. Throwing one other Tim at them once they’re at their greatest then causes them to put an egg. From this one other Tim is born. The sport by no means states why so many Tims are wanted both, however those that need their very own Tim empire may also discover eggs all through the degrees.

Balan Wonderworld Overview – What Occurs Now?

After consulting Sq. Enix’s exterior Ideas and Tips information, it seems that feeding the Tims totally different coloured drops ought to imply they modify coloration however this doesn’t at all times work, with some Tims remaining the identical coloration no matter what they eat. Completely different coloured Tims have totally different talents, however this isn’t defined both. Apparently, purple Tims will assault enemies whereas pink Tims will discover objects. This appears to have little that means anyway as gamers can’t select which Tims they feed nor which 5 they take with them right into a stage.

A mysterious construction often called the Tower o’ Tims is being constructed in the midst of the island. There’s additionally a statue that may be fed multicolored raindrops discovered all through the degrees or earned for replaying them. The sport doesn’t state the aim of both of those, leaving you to marvel in the event that they’re price bothering with. Whereas the teardrops are seemingly necessary, an important collectibles really transform the gold Balan statues as a result of they’re wanted to unlock later ranges. When you don’t have sufficient statues, you’ll have to replay ranges till you do.

Balan Wonderworld Review

These statues will also be earned by means of the worst a part of the sport, the repetitive Balan Bouts the place the animations are continually reused. Right here gamers need to endure 4-6 QTEs the place they need to match a button press to a shadow lining up with Balan. Ranges begin off with one brief bout per stage, however develop into extremely tedious when there are three longer bouts within the latter ranges. Every should be carried out completely to get a statue they usually’re way more exact than the platforming. Get one button press unsuitable and the entire stage should be replayed as a result of the bouts don’t respawn and might’t be accessed some other manner.

Balan Wonderworld feels prefer it’s shrouded in thriller as a result of there’s a woeful lack of clarification for almost all of its mechanics. No person must be left on the lookout for exterior guides to assemble even essentially the most primary data for a recreation geared toward kids. When added to the irritating administration of the sport’s costumes (together with these that may’t bounce in a platformer), its underdeveloped story, the overly simplistic platforming, and the tortuous Balan Bouts, this can be a recreation that had promise however is ruined by a mess of weird design selections.

Balan Wonderworld overview code supplied by writer. Reviewed on PS5. For extra data on scoring, please learn our Overview Coverage.


  • Costumes have fascinating talents
  • Bosses are distinctive and enjoyable
  • Barely any clarification for any of the sport’s mechanics
  • Not all costumes can bounce, leaving gamers trapped
  • Costumes may be misplaced too simply
  • Underdeveloped story
  • Repetitive Balan Bout mini video games

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