Balan Wonderworld (Demo Impressions)Platforms: PC | Sony PlayStation 4 | Sony PlayStation 5 | Microsoft Xbox One | Microsoft Xbox Series X | Nintendo Switch
Square Enix's upcoming action-platformer release, Balan Wonderworld, now has a demo to sate the appetite prior to the full release this spring. Representing a return to form for legendary members of the 90s' Sonic Team, Yuki Naka and Naoto Oshima, Balan Wonderworld is shaping up to be nostalgia fuel for anyone yearning for the return of colourful classics from said team such as Nights Into Dreams and Sonic Adventure.
Balan Wonderworld's demo sees the player through parts of three of the full game's twelve chapters, along with ten of the more than eighty costumes that will be available. These costumes truly represent the unique hook of this game, with each costume having its own quirky gameplay twist. Additionally, the Isle of Tims, home of the cute, cuddly Tims, offered a delightful diversion between levels much like the Chao Garden from the Sonic Adventure games. And I have to say, I found myself as distracted by the desire to perfect my Tims and their playground-esque tower as I did with the adorable Chao children.
Balan Wonderworld seems to gear itself towards family-friendly gameplay, both in its presentation and simplicity. While it is obvious that some puzzle solving might be above the skill level for younger children, most are not required for progression of the game. Additionally, thanks to the local co-op option, I believe that Balan Wonderworld would be great for teaming up either a parent or an older sibling with a younger child for some colorful quality time.
I do hope that a bit of pizazz and variety are tossed in for the full release of the game, as the demo seemed to lack a bit of lustre compared to the over-the-top opening cinematic. However, as the full game will feature significantly more chapters and costumes, I can easily see this turning into a completionist's dream.
Balan Wonderworld (full game) releases 26th March 2021. However, in the meantime, check out the demo for yourself right now on Playstation 5, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X|S, or Xbox One, with a Steam demo available later today.