The setting for this tale is the fantastic, imaginary land of Wonderworld; a place where people’s happy and positive memories mix with their restless worries and negativity.
Leo and Emma are led into Wonderworld by the enigmatic maestro Balan and set off on a journey to find what is most precious to them.
Before they can return to the real world, they must first restore the lost balance in their hearts…
A game created by the people who made Sonic games
Balan Wonderworld is game developed by Arzest and Balan Company and published by Square Enix. The game was worked on by Yuji Naka who was the former director of Sonic Team games and the game was designed by Naoto Ohshima who is well known for designing the characters of Sonic the Hedgehog and NiGHTS. Not to be confused, this is not a Sega game, but rather, it is a Square Enix game; better known for creating games like Final Fantasy, Dragon’s Quest and even western games like Marvel’s Avengers. Balan Wonderworld is a platform game from Square Enix and it was led by the people who has previously worked with other Sega games. Balan Wonderworld is a game that is planned to be released for Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4/5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S on March 26th, 2021. Square Enix released a demo for this game for the public release and I got the opportunity to try this game out.
Like the synopsis stated, the adventure begins with player choosing either Leo and Emma as they come across the mysterious and flamboyant being named Balan. Balan sends the kids to the realm of dreams in order to find their missing piece of their hearts. Along the way, the kids explore and interact with people’s dreams. As they traverse across dreams, they must fend off against the mysterious Lance and his nightmarish minions.
When I first booted up the demo, I instantly felt like I was playing Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, but with the theme of NiGHTS. I never played NiGHTS, however, I am familiar with the game’s story and themes. The main premise of the game is focused on platform and collecting items. If you played games like Super Mario or Banjo-Kazooie, you already know what to expect, but with some Sega vibes in a Square Enix game. As you play through the game, you come across these adorable creatures called Tims and you feed them by collecting these crystal treats called drops. As the Tims grow and adapt to the player, you can expand the hub world. While playing the game, you will be able to access costumes in which each costume has a unique quirk. These quirks will allow the player to do special abilities such as performing ground pounds, do double jumps or spin attacks. With these costumes and Tims, players will have to explore a vast world of dreams and imaginations.
After playing the available worlds of the demo, I would say that while Balan Wonderworld has a good introduction, great concept and visually amazing in the cinematic scenes, this gameplay is pretty mediocre. The introduction movie caught my attention and the story plot did get me intrigued. I like the level designs of each of the world. Interacting with the Tims reminded me of the Chaos from Sonic Adventure series whenever I visited the Chao Garden. However, the gameplay in the worlds felt really bland and empty. In each world, despite this game focusing on collecting key items to continue on the story, the worlds felt linear. There wasn’t a lot of bad guys to fight either and my first boss battle was really easy. The graphics of the game really made me feel like I was playing a game on the GameCube. I like the idea of having Naka and Ohshima working together and creating a new game that brought back the familiar aspects of platform games, but I also felt like this game has some potential that could much more.
Will I get this game? Not on launch. I would probably wait for a price drop. Did you played the demo? What did you think?