tepidsnake: (Default)
tepidsnake ([personal profile] tepidsnake) wrote in [community profile] rainbowgames2015-08-24 07:24 pm

Balloon Kid


This is less about Balloon Kid as a whole- a neat little platformer by Nintendo and Pax Softnica that serves as Balloon Fight's sequel, turned into an auto-scroller- and more about one specific thing that's always kinda fascinated me about it. For the most part, the game is pretty cute, with tiny enemies like birds and insects that can't even hurt Alice, your player character (beyond popping one of her balloons). This is how about 80% of the game is, as you can see in the screenshots above (the first one with the pencil building in the background? That's Alice's home town, Pencilvania, arf arf!)


But what really interests me about the game are the tone and feel of its later stages, primarily Stage 4 (the belly of a whale), Stage 7 (a giant cave) and especially Stage 8 (some kind of factory. These stages use slower, more foreboding music, and aside from some cute enemies like the octopi who can't hurt Alice, they're full of far more threatening traps and enemies like giant fang-like spikes that drop from the ceiling, jumping flames (admittedly seen in earlier stages), faulty lightbulbs that can explode and launch deadly sparks, and flame-pillars that spit out some of the strangest sounds you'll ever hear from a Game Boy. 

It's just a little unusual for a game that goes from being pretty cute and relaxed- listen to the first stage music, how laid-back is that?- to developing a mean streak like that, even if it's only mild. It's accentuated by the Japan-only Famicom retooling, Hello Kitty World, which alters the enemies and graphics in these areas to be far less intimidating, taking away this odd little mean streak and, with it, some of the charm of the game.

Anyway, you can get Balloon Kid on the 3DS eShop if you've ever been curious, it does take a little time to really get going, but it offers a decent challenge by the end, so give it a try!

thegaygamer: (Default)

[personal profile] thegaygamer 2015-08-25 06:13 am (UTC)(link)
I've written about this game many times before on my blog, and there's a good reason for that--I really, really love it. Sure, its frame rate is rather atrocious, but if you can put that little niggle behind you, the game's an absolute gem--in my humble opinion, of course. All that said, until now I never really thought about the ominous twists that are thrown at players in stages 4, 7, and 8, as you mention here, but it makes perfect sense--and also makes me like the game even more than I currently do ^^ (BTW, one last comment from me: I really wish Nintendo would make a follow-up to this game--or even remake it.)
thegaygamer: (Default)

[personal profile] thegaygamer 2015-08-25 02:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, the fact that it took so long to be released in Japan--and even then only was released via the Nintendo Power kiosk system--is so weird to me. I mean, it was made by a Japanese development team and had that typical "Nintendo charm," why wait so long to release it? At least it was colorized in the meantime :)
chocomarsh: (Default)

[personal profile] chocomarsh 2015-08-26 04:25 pm (UTC)(link)
I played some of this last night. I actually had a really hard time with it -- I played two credits, and died in the whale level. And I had to look up the manual scan & play some Balloon Fight just to make sure I wasn't missing anything. I love the backgrounds and the opening sequence a lot, and I'm interested to see how the double-balloon and invincibility-item systems reveal themselves once I start getting to later stages...
softchassis: (Default)

[personal profile] softchassis 2015-09-02 12:17 am (UTC)(link)
I remember borrowing this from The Video Game Friend Whom Has A Lot Of Video Games in elementary school! I played it a bunch and eventually beat it, I think.
lunarsystem: (clockwork knight)

[personal profile] lunarsystem 2015-09-03 01:56 am (UTC)(link)
whoa!!! these screenshots look SUPER charming O_O what delicate pixelwork, especially in the backgrounds!