Published on February 9th, 2013 | by octaneblue1
Review: Balloon Fight
System(s): Arcade, NES, Wii Virtual Console, 3DS Virtual Console (Ambassadors-only), Wii U Virtual Console
Release Date(s): 1984 (Arcade), June 3, 1986 (NES), July 16, 2007 (Wii VC), August 31, 2011 (3DS VC, Ambassadors-only), January 23, 2013 (Wii U VC)
Nintendo’s Balloon Fight is a title that is often forgotten. The game has a pseudo-sequel Balloon Kid on the Game Boy, references in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl and the WarioWare games, and saw various re-releases over the years. The game did receive a nice update in the form of Nintendo Land‘s Balloon Trip Breeze attraction, and the NES version is the initial title in Nintendo’s Wii U Virtual Console Trial Campaign, available for just 30 cents until February 21, 2013. That’s a nice discount for the game, but is it really worth downloading?
Balloon Fight consists of three different modes. The first is the 1-player mode. The goal here is to defeat the enemy balloonists by popping their balloons. This is done by running into them, but you’ll have to watch out because they can do the same to you. Once the enemy balloons have popped, they’ll float down with a parachute. If they land on the ground, you’ll just have to run into them one more time to defeat them. If they land in the water, they’ll be instantly defeated, and a bubble appears that you can pop for more points. Once you defeat all the enemies on the screen, you’ll move on to the next stage. The game does get more difficult as it goes on, adding more enemies, hazards, and more challenging screens. After 3 stages, there is a bonus level to play that consists of popping balloons for some points.
And that’s the main gameplay, which is carried over to the game’s 2-player mode. This is definitely the most entertaining one, as teaming up with a friend to go through these missions is more fun and often times more hectic.
The third mode of Balloon Fight is called Balloon Trip. This is a completely different gameplay type than the other modes, as it’s more of a survival-type mode that one that aims to defeat enemies, etc. You’ll start out on the right side of the screen, as the game auto-scrolls to the left. Along the way, there are plenty of hazards, most notably the flying sparks. You only have one life here, so the goal is to just make it as far as possible and go for a high score.
The Wii U Virtual Console version of Balloon Fight adds some enhancements to the original NES version. Off TV Play is supported here, so you can play the game entirely on the GamePad. Restore Points are available as well, which allow you to “pause” the game to come back to at a later point, even if you to turn off the console or switch to another game. The game also includes Miiverse integration, so you can post your high scores, share experiences, and draw about the game in the dedicated Balloon Fight Miiverse community.
It’s more difficult to recommend to those who are accustomed to more “modern” titles. The co-op mode is the main draw here. If you lack another player that would appreciate Balloon Fight for what it is, a retro arcade-style game, it’s difficult to recommend as well.
Balloon Fight is a game that’s recommended to those who appreciate old-school titles with old-school challenge. It doesn’t have a lot of depth going on for it, but that may actually appeal to some. However, with Nintendo’s current promotion going on now, for 30 cents, it’s hard to pass this one up.
+ Simple gameplay
+ Off TV Play, Miiverse integration
+ Co-op mode
– Not recommended for everyone
Final score: 3 out of 5