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Josh64

Balan Wonderworld

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Posted (edited)

Forgive me if there's already a thread - I couldn't find one!

Has anyone picked up Balan Wonderland world yet? I know it had mixed reactions when the demo came out but I really enjoyed what I played of it, though granted the Switch version wasn't great on a technical level. 

Though I liked what I played, at this point I'm waiting for a potential price drop or review before I get it though suspiciously I haven't been able to find reviews anywhere despite it releasing yesterday and then I saw this on Twitter, I wonder if it's the case for other publications too:

 

Synopsis for those not in the know 

Quote

Balan Wonderworld is a 2021 platform game co-developed by Arzest and Square Enix subsidiary Balan Company, and published by Square Enix. It was released for Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. Taking on the role of children Leo Craig or Emma Cole, guided by a magical being called Balan, the player explores twelve worlds themed after the hearts of troubled individuals. Gameplay follows the chosen protagonist as they explore sandbox levels, collecting items to progress to further areas and using a variety of powers unlocked using themed costumes.

 

For those that think I'm crazy, I know there's a lot of red flags and most people have nothing but bad things to say but I love 3D platformers and thoroughly enjoyed NiGHTS Journey of Dreams and Yooka Laylee, both of which were largely maligned, so I'm willing to take a punt on this at some point. 

Edited by Josh64
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I don't know much about this, but I'm sure I've seen a boss fight against the main character from this game before.

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If you enjoyed the demo then feel free to go for it. Like you, I’m a huge fan of 3D platformers, but I found the demo absolutely dreadful & was so disappointed considering the pedigree of people behind it.

I know it was only a demo & so the finished game should be so much better, but the lack of review copies to many sites is also another red flag.

33 minutes ago, Cube said:

I don't know much about this, but I'm sure I've seen a boss fight against the main character from this game before.

Was this the boss fight that many sites are reporting on because it has a strong potential to cause seizures in those at risk of having them?  I did watch a clip (as I’m fortunate not to be one of those people) and it wasn’t an easy thing to watch.  I know the publishers have said a Day One patch will fix it, but to release a game with such a potentially harmful scene in it is reckless & unprofessional. 
 

@Josh64 if you do get it then do let us know your opinions, especially with the lack of reviews out there. Hopefully it is much better than I fear it is!

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12 minutes ago, WackerJr said:

Was this the boss fight that many sites are reporting on because it has a strong potential to cause seizures in those at risk of having them?

No, I mean that the character in the main artwork looks extremely familiar, but I'm not sure exactly what he reminds me of, only that it might be a boss fight in another game.

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My thoughts on the demo from a while back:

On 28/01/2021 at 7:43 PM, Jonnas said:

Instead I tried the Balan Wonderworld Demo and... that game is rough. Literally, every edge seems jagged, the framerate stutters a lot, and something about it makes my eyes dizzy. Gameplay-wise it's a surprisingly basic 3D platforming collect-a-thon that needs better movement options (at least an option to run faster somehow). Presentation-wise, it's charming at times, but the playable characters are horribly bland (might be from the Demo for now, but they really need some personality. Same thing regarding those pet birds, I have no idea what they are). Finally, despite everything, you can easily see Yuji Naka's hand in it, there's so much from Sonic Adventure here. It kinda feels like a forgotten Dreamcast launch game.

I am not confident in this game being good. It's got extremely basic controls and mechanics, uninspired level design, nothingburgers of special stages (which I believe are the ones causing seizure issues?), the plot is barebones to the point of being confused, and something about the way it ran (could've been the framerate, but it's hard to say) made me queasy. Of all those things, only the last one (plus the seizure thing) can be fixed with a patch, because everything else are fundamental design issues.

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50 minutes ago, Cube said:

No, I mean that the character in the main artwork looks extremely familiar, but I'm not sure exactly what he reminds me of, only that it might be a boss fight in another game.

Possibly Reala from NiGHTS? 

 

JoDReala.png

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28 minutes ago, Ashley said:

This is unexpected

 

 

Squeenix and Naka know a good advertising opportunity when they see one!

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38 minutes ago, Ashley said:

This is unexpected

 

 

So the ads are as shit as the game itself? Can’t really argue that the advertising is dishonest!

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I tried the demo last night on my Xbox. 

I really want to like it. It reminds me of Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg so much. 

Butttt it's pretty dreadful. I didn't really understand what the hell was happening. Not that it matters for a platformer I suppose. 

I'd read the review posted above and I think the reviewer nailed it when they said that it felt like a PS2 remaster. Pretty much exactly how it feels. It looks decent enough, but the gameplay and character movement definitely feels like it's from 15+ years ago. 

Maybe when it goes down to about a tenner I'll get it! 

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13 minutes ago, Aneres11 said:

I tried the demo last night on my Xbox. 

I really want to like it. It reminds me of Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg so much. 

Butttt it's pretty dreadful. I didn't really understand what the hell was happening. Not that it matters for a platformer I suppose. 

I'd read the review posted above and I think the reviewer nailed it when they said that it felt like a PS2 remaster. Pretty much exactly how it feels. It looks decent enough, but the gameplay and character movement definitely feels like it's from 15+ years ago. 

Maybe when it goes down to about a tenner I'll get it! 

Totally get what you mean! I tried the demo the weekend it went up. Going in, I expected to enjoy some quirky platforming, then as I played it, that expectation changed to me trying to like the game and appreciate what they were going for but in the end, I just couldn't find anything to latch onto. :( I think I'd still pass this up if/ when it's on sale. 

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I have read accounts of people saying the full release is better than the demo. But when a demo is so underwhelming you can't really justify paying full price for a product you haven't been sold on.

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They say there’s no such thing as bad press, and if that’s the case then Balan is doing really well!  Read today about the amazing observation that one of the tunes from it is virtually identical to one from Ghostbusters!

Link to news article & clips to compare

It may be a fairly generic spooky theme tune, but that’s got to be more than a coincidence as some of those music sequences are identical!

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3 hours ago, WackerJr said:

They say there’s no such thing as bad press, and if that’s the case then Balan is doing really well!  Read today about the amazing observation that one of the tunes from it is virtually identical to one from Ghostbusters!

Link to news article & clips to compare

It may be a fairly generic spooky theme tune, but that’s got to be more than a coincidence as some of those music sequences are identical!

There's similarities and then there's that! Oops :laughing: Though I doubt much else will come of it. Speaking of bad press though, it seems the word got out about the not so stellar aspects of the game and people aren't biting, in Japan at least: 

That is all format sales btw, not just Switch. Yikes!

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Posted (edited)

I got this physically on Xbox One for £30 - as suspected I love the art style and graphics, the aesthetics just scream NiGHTS and 2000's era SEGA. I have 25 Balan Trophies now and have helped the farmer, the poor girl whose dolphin turned evil and the bug girl - Through the power of balan (platforming lol), we managed to show her friends how cool bugs can be as an ugly caterpillar turned into a beautiful Butterfree right before their eyes!

After my first play-through of the first 3 worlds I didn't have quite enough Balan Trophies to unlock the next set of levels but at that point I'd unlocked a bunch of new outfits and abilities so I went back and swept up things I couldn't previously nab, Yooka-Laylee style. 

The hub world is very sweet, you collect eggs hidden throughout the levels which can then be hatched in the hub world. To add to that there's a marble-run type contraption that the tim's mess around on and a clicker goes up unlocking more to the elaborate run when certain numbers are reached. You can feed the tims gems you've collected throughout the levels and when they've been fed enough they double in size, at which point you pick up a little tim, throw it at a big one and BAM - an egg pops out. So yeah, I've been farming tim's like crazy just because it's so welcoming coming back to the hub world with a big flock. 

Gameplay-wise I'm really enjoying it but that's because I still play and enjoy Dreamcast/Gamecube era platformers, I can see why people were not thrilled with this if it's not their cup of tea, to me it feels like a lost Dreamcast title which is why I'm really enjoying it but I can totally see why that would be a nightmare for many, especially given the initial asking price.

Also the graphics would be nice but the resolution is absolute ass, it's barely any better than the Switch demo while playing on Xbox and at times it looks like a Wii game so I wouldn't be surprised if it dips to around 500p. I don't quite get why either as it's not really demanding, I've played the likes of Billy Hatcher and Sonic Heroes lately in HD on Dolphin and graphically there's not a huge difference apart from textures so it is strange to me why it struggles so much. 

Anyway, that's all for today but I'll keep ploughing through! Do I enjoy it? YES! Do I suggest it? Not really unless you're a die hard Dreamcast-era 3D platformer fan, of which I'm sure there's 10's of us worldwide! 

 

Edited by Josh64
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I haven't played this game, but found Dunkey's video funny. It really does look toilet.

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Oh man, Dunkey does it again :p I'm glad I got something out of this game at least.

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