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Video GameBalan Wonderworld Review
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Posted: 2 years ago, last updated 2 weeks ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.

OverviewOverview

Balan Wonderworld is a running, jumping and exploration game. It draws on classic 3D platform games, but with simpler controls and a more laid back challenge. Like Mario Odyssey, much of the gameplay revolves around getting temporary abilities (here it is with outfits) to progress. This offers unique puzzles while reducing the number of buttons you need to press. It's a platform game not generally loved by gaming experts, but a really good fit for younger or new-to-gaming people.

Play involves exploring elaborate stages and switching between costumes to access different actions with the single button controls. There are 80 different costumes that can be collected, each has a different ability and attack style. The costumes interplay with the puzzles in each of the levels, providing abilities to help you progress. Not only that, but the varied abilities encourage experimentation and often result in discovering ways to access parts of levels sooner that the game design expects.

It's a simple approach, reminiscent of character switching in Skylanders, although some have found it too limiting. For younger players and those looking for a light and breezy game, Balan Wonderworld excels. On your own or with another played, you steadily work through each of the 12 worlds, resolving hardships in each one with a heartfelt cutscene.

The platforming action is spiced up with a load of mini games and challenges. From rolling boulders to playing soccer and bowling there is a lot to do in addition to the main game. You can also revisit completed levels to hunt down any remaining statues (and don't have to complete the levels to save the items you find). Then there are the little helper Tim characters who you can collect and breed to help you by attacking enemies, finding items and destroying spikes.

The result is a simplistic and saccharine platform game, a lighthearted escape to another world. The simplicity resulted in negative reviews but is a real boon to families and those looking for an unusual and puzzle-focused challenge.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 26/03/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Players: 1-2

Genres: Action, Adventure and Platform

Accessibility: 16 features

Developer: Square Enix (@SquareEnix)

 

ListsLists

DurationDuration

Play Time: This game will take between 11 hours and 14 hours to complete. Although you can finish each level quickly, you need to play them multiple times to find everything and unlock new stages. To collect everything will take towards 30 hours.
 

Play StylePlay Style

You can play with 1 to 2 players in the same room, but you can’t play it online. You can play with two players in co-operative multiplayer. In two players you can attach to each other which is handy when helping a novice player, it also enables you to team up powers when in the same costume to gain double jumps and multiple attacks.

 
You can play this game in the following styles:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 7 because it feature depictions of non-realistic violence of a minor nature towards human-like or animal-like characters, depictions of non-realistic violence towards fantasy characters, and pictures or sounds likely to be scary or frightening to young children. There are battles that involve non-realistic violence towards both human and fantasy characters. Impacts are indicated by flashes. When a character is defeated, they quickly disappear. Human characters have three lives and once they are exhausted, the character falls to the ground and respawns nearby.

Skill Rating

6+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Although this is a relatively complex 3D platform game, there are minimal penalties for failure. This is particularly true if you play with an older or more experienced player. Being inquisitive is a benefit as this lets you discover new routes through levels. The way that abilities are tied to outfits also makes the game more approachable for younger players.

CostsCosts

Balan Wonderworld usually costs £29.99 to £34.99.
 

Balan Wonderworld

XBox Store Xbox One £34.99
PlayStation Store PS5 £34.99
PlayStation Store PS4 £34.99
Steam Store PC £29.99
Switch Store Switch £34.99
Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'.

AccessibilityAccessibility

Our Balan Wonderworld Accessibility Report documents 16 accessibility features:
Although there is no difficulty setting the game automatically adjusts to your skill level. The types and number of enemies changes to make the game easier or more challenging as required. You can see the difficulty you are on via the stamp you get at the end of a stage (Red is more challenging).

The game's controls revolve around switching costumes to change the action you can perform. This enables the game to be played with a single action button. Any of the face buttons perform the action, while the upper Trigger buttons switch between costumes. You can also play with one Stick, the automatic camera is good, although a little harder to find hidden areas. As is discussed in this video, this offers an unusual platform game experience with unusually simple controls.

If you let the game do the camera automatically you can play with a single stick, one action button and one button to change outfit. There was strobe-like flashing in the game due to an error when it launched, but if you apply the free downloadable patch this is resolved.

Subtitles are large and clear but other game text is often smaller and doesn't have a solid background so can be hard to read. This is true for the instructions for the outfits, which is key information but hard to read. Some singing is in Japanese and isn't subtitled.

Diversity and InclusionDiversity and Inclusion

We haven't documented diversity and inclusion information for this game yet.

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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