If you can imagine a world of constant magic full of fantasy and fantastic creatures, you would recreate in your mind the basic structure of this title that we have to analyze today. From the moment it was announced, Balan Wonderworld has caused some controversy. Maybe it all starts with the fact that Yuji Nakata appears as the title director. Those who do not recognize the name should know that Nakata is one of the creators of Sonic and also responsible for several great Sega titles such as Phantasy Star Online or the mythical Nights into Dreams.
Team Balan made its debut with Square Enix in this production whose debut was strewn with pitfalls. At the end of January, the developers released a playable demo but the results of the community were not what the studio expected. The players pointed out the game system, the cameras and the difficulty of the title. From Team Balan, they took note and announced that they will be releasing a patch on Day 1 to address several of the aforementioned issues. The patch even came with an additional change that eliminated some of the flashes that could cause seizures in players prone to these types of situations.
But what are we talking about when we talk about Balan Wonderworld? In this 3D platform game we will not take on the role of Balan, but one of the 8 avatars that we can select at the beginning of the adventure, a story that unfolds in the fears of 12 people that he we will have to heal with the help of the magic of Balan who observes our progress from a kind of magic theater.
It’s time to let the magic flow and see if this new title from Yuji Nakata has any similarities to the games that made it famous, or if the formula will be so new that it will create a new saga bearing the weight of success. passed over his shoulders. . Balan’s show is about to begin. Come with me.
You only have to start the game to see that the graphics are just amazing. Topped with a photo mode, the game design is a version of Time-enhanced art of Nights Into Dreams, from where he undoubtedly drinks a lot in this regard. Each of the worlds and the center central where we will spend a good part of our adventure before facing a phase, they are full of colors and aspects characteristic of this level that it is impossible not to capture your attention.
The soundtrack is certainly as loud as the visuals except that it can get extremely repetitive in the short term. For example, when some of the enemies appear regardless of the world they are in, we will have the same musical accompaniment which is great the first ten times but then, without a doubt, will make you wonder … is it still the same music? ?
The sounds and voices maintain a high quality throughout our character’s journey, although if you try to understand what is being said you will be disappointed and this is because the language used for the game is created for the title. itself, changing several syllables and sounds of English, something like what happens with The Sims saga.
Crossing borders will be a problem for this game with localization in over 23 languages, so no matter where you are, it is very likely that your language is available to you. For now, Spanish speakers can rest assured that the game has a very well done localization in our language.
The title presents us with a simple and classic control system if you wish, which limits us to using two buttons, one to attack, one to jump, the directional and the two triggers of the command which will allow us to change the costumes that we to acquire. The power of the game lies in these clothes.
Each world has two game phases and a third stage where we will have to face the final boss. The scenes are in themselves very original and represent the fears or the frustrated dreams of several people and which will have to be reconstructed. Each of these worlds presents a set of costumes found in diamonds that we will have to unlock with a custom key for these issues. The different costumes will give our avatar special abilities that, of course, we won’t have without them. Our character can have up to a maximum of three costumes simultaneously which can be selected at will, and at certain times of the phases it will also be possible to change our wardrobe for clothes that we have obtained in other worlds.
In total, the number of combinations we can get is 80, which would be a very good number if there were more differences between them. Unfortunately, many of these items look very similar and don’t generate a need to acquire unless you want to complete the game 100% and you might just end the title without many of them.
To move on to the following phases, it will be necessary to obtain a certain number of Balan statues, a kind of Oscar awards with the figure of the character that are scattered in all the scenarios. When we have acquired the required number, new phases will be activated to play (previous image of a train which is eerily similar to Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express). At first, many of the statues that appear in the phases will be impossible to reach, but as we get new costumes we will be able to overcome the obstacles that prevented us from achieving it, so we will constantly visit some phases that we thought we had. already left behind.
Costumes and constant exploration won’t be the only ways to get the precious statues. Everywhere in the worlds we will see golden hats which once touched will put us, there yes, in the role of Balan in phases purely and exclusively of Quick Time Events where the character who gives his name to the game will perform certain maneuvers to overcome the darkness and another character who will be our enemy throughout the game. Estas fases son, al principio, un elemento que le añade más frescura al título, especial ciertas secuencias that a muchos the recordarán combates dignos of the Dragon Ball saga, pero that a la larga pueden volverse tediosos por su repetición, tal como sucede con la musique. In these “Balan Confrontations” to get a perfect score, we will get a statue.
On our way we will also have mini-games of baseball, soccer, bowling and even golf where when we get the best score, we will also receive a statue of Balan to facilitate our progress.
As long as we do not heal the afflicted hearts of the people, we will be on the Island of Tim, which will serve as a base. The stage will be filled with small creatures that we will have to feed with the crystals that we collect in the phases and which will spawn when they have eaten enough and with the eggs that we find in different worlds. The goal here is for the Tims to build an old tower and other structures. For many, it will be a a clear nod to Chao Garden from Sonic Adventure 2 And while it’s not of sublime importance throughout the story, it does bring freshness and pleasure to the production.
Completing the game’s story will take us around 13 hours, and I’m including repeated exploration of different levels here. Completing the game 100% may take around 7 hours longer, but it will depend a lot on your skills with the Quick Time Events, which in turn do not stand out for their high accuracy and if they are not made perfectly you will not be able to try again until the phase is restarted, another annoying thing.
For the rest of the game, the difficulty is medium at best, if not easy. I think the title is targeting an 8-13 age range by default, so if you’re expecting a really big challenge in terms of enemies and platforms you’ll need to change some options in the initial game menu. .
Balan Wonderworld has things to be a great 3D platformer title, the kind we really need these days, but those elements are very abstract, unrelated to each other, and feel wasted. Is this a bad game? No, not at all, but if we take into account the trajectory of the members of the development team, it could be much more, even if for a first adventure the game keeps its promises without being too different.