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Balloon Kid

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Released: 1991

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: Game Boy

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Pax Softnica

Submitted by: Eely Pie

Balloon Kid is the somewhat obscure Gameboy sequel to Balloon Fight on the NES. You control Alice, a young girl whose younger brother has been carried far, far away by a mass of balloons and who must float across the world avoiding and fighting dangerous birds, walking bonfires and an evil snowman to save him. The game was originally only released in the US and Europe but in 2000 a beautiful colour edition was released to Japanese gamers. The game was also unofficialy released for the Famicom under the name "Hello Kitty World." Hm.

The single-player adventure plays out as an arranged version of the Balloon Trip mode we all know and love; the screen constantly scrolls left and you must flap around avoiding enemies and obstacles while collecting as many balloons (Left in a long trail by Alice's brother, Jim) as you can. If an airbourne enemy touches one of your two balloons they will pop and you will fall to your watery grave… sometimes. If you land on a platform in the ocean you can run, jump and pump yourself two shiny new balloons by rapidly tapping down on the d-pad. This gives the game a distinct platformer element as enemies often prevent you from pumping new balloons, forcing you to make desperate do-or-die jumps between platforms.

If I were to describe the challenge on offer in this game in one word I would say…. veryveryveryhard. It starts of easily enough, but by level 6 it reaches a level of near-impossibility. One level sees you with endless rows of spikes above your head preventing you from going high, hoardes of walking bonfires milling around below, and the middle of the screen populated with those all-painful electric stars of doom seen in Ballon Fight. It takes a high level of patience to play this game, let me tell you.

To see such a classic as Balloon Fight re-imagined in this way is certainly refreshing. While it has its 'oh-my-god-what-the-hell' moments the single-player campaign is, undeniably, great fun. This game went on to influence Club Nintendo's Japan-only Tingle's Balloon Fight DS which shows that it is not forgotten. I highly recommend you all check this one out.