Review by horror_spooky
Epic battles above the clouds
Okay so maybe my tagline is hyperbole. But seriously, Balloon Fight is such an under appreciated game that it's unsettling. When people recall the greatest NES games ever, they always bring up Mario, Zelda, Metroid, or whatever, but Balloon Fight is almost never mentioned. I can't imagine why, as it is one of my favorite NES games, features awesome gameplay, and may be one of the earlier examples of a fantastic game not getting the attention that it deserves.
The premise of Balloon Fight is simple, if not very weird (in a charming way). The protagonist has a couple of balloons tied around him, and he floats around with the goal of popping the balloons of dastardly birds, and then landing on them to make sure they can't blow up another balloon and cause more trouble. Yes, it is crazy, but who cares. Back in the day, you didn't need an extravagantly told storyline for a game to stand on its own two feet, and Balloon Fight is evident that as long as the gameplay is fun, then all the other stuff really doesn't matter much.
To make the character float, players need to tap rapidly on the A button and use the d-pad to maneuver across the screen. It's a game of timing and hand-eye coordination to avoid getting your own balloons popped or hit by other obstacles, such as sparks from lightning clouds. This simple gameplay is incredibly addicting and really fun. Better yet, Balloon Fight provides three different gameplay modes, making it quite the varied game.
The first mode is single-player. There is a level, and your goal is to defeat all the enemies on screen to advance to the next level. As the levels progress, it becomes more difficult. This can be picked up and played any time, with even the first level providing a healthy challenge. The second gameplay mode is the same as this, but with a fun co-op mode that makes the game that much more entertaining. You got to appreciate it when developers take it to the next level and make the effort to add multiplayer to the game when a lot of others don't make that effort.
And finally, there's Balloon Trip. This mode is absolutely thrilling. Your palms will be sweating as you maneuver through the obstacles, take out enemies, and strive to survive. Basically, the screen scrolls and you need to float across it infinitely, racking up a high score as you go. Nintendo has built in preset high scores, but you can challenge your friends to try to beat their high scores as well. This ups the replayability, and is just another really cool game mode in a very under appreciated game that happens to be one of my favorite NES games.
With clean visuals, acceptable audio, and really fun gameplay, Balloon Fight is awesome. I can't recommend it strongly enough.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Balloon Fight (3DS Ambassador Program) (US, 09/01/11)
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