The Helium Kingdom was a peaceful place, filled with many balloons. Until one day a dark evil force came and shattered the Kingdoms Rainbow, destroying its main source of power. The rainbow was broken into 21 different pieces and scattered throughout the land. Its up to you to save the balloons and restore the rainbow! Now I know you’re on the edge of your seat after that intro (<sarcasm) but let me just warn you, Journey of a Special Average Balloon is not nearly as exciting as it attempts to be.
The games title, as contradicting as it is, made me think I was going to be on a helium filled journey with a special balloon. I say this in the nicest way possible, there is absolutely nothing special about this balloon, at all. If anything the game should be called “Journey of an average balloon”. As you soar through the sky you must avoid pretty much everything except the few items you need to collect. There are 3 coins in each level and to progress you need to collect them all which makes a rainbow shard appear, collect this and you can move on. There are also bonus chests in some levels that are guarded by flame like orbs. Collecting these will earn you things like trophies and new skins for your balloon.
The levels are very small, there is no side scrolling or real “journey” at all and the backgrounds are simple to say the least. There were a few that I enjoyed like the stormy background which added a cool lighting effect to the screen and some of the silhouette effects were cool but that’s about it. The music throughout each world isn’t bad but I cannot stand the menu track, it may be because I had to hear it continuously as I took notes but who knows. Overall the look and sound in ‘Journey of a Special Average Balloon’ seems very, very safe. The menus and other screens are all very simple, it just seems like everything could look way better considering the system it’s on.
The enemies come at you from the sides of the screen and if you get near them you will POP! Then its game over. I noticed that the birds and things flying around go in formation type patterns so I was able to time my movement around them and breeze through the game very quickly, and I’m talking 1-2 hours if that. I will admit sometimes it gets a little tricky, there were levels that I had to play a few times to get through but nothing difficult. There are other things to do besides the “story mode” like multiplayer missions and the “Slingshot Gallery” mini game. In the Slingshot Gallery you must shoot balloons with a slingshot, trying to pop them all before time runs out (which is weird because I thought I was on a mission to save all balloons, oh well).
Anyways you move around with the left joystick and shoot pellets with A, pressing A once loads the slingshot and pressing it again fires it. This minigame was pretty frustrating to say the least. I don’t think the aiming is accurate or calibrated right, needless to say something is off. If you do manage to hit all of the balloons and theres still time left on the clock you have to sit and wait for the time to run out. The multiplayer options you can choose from are Survival and Spike Chase. In Survival each player controls a balloon and as time progresses more enemies appear on the screen. The player to survive the longest is the winner. In Spike Chase one player is in control of a balloon while player 2 takes control of a set of spiked enemies and tries to pop the balloon.
There’s also a co-op mode where the red balloon (P1) and the blue balloon (P2) work together to avoid the enemies on screen and collect their corresponding red/blue coin to proceed to the next level. While its nice to have some gameplay variety, there’s not much to these few side quests and mini games. I will say that JOASAB might appeal to younger gamers out there who are looking for a cheap time killer, it also had some positive comments on Miiverse. But for most people you’ll fly through this game quicker than you can say POP! I would have liked to give JOASAB a better review, the concept was interesting but it just doesn’t have enough to hold my interest and for that, I cannot recommend it unless you have a bountiful love for balloons or rainbows.
PN Review: Journey of a Special Average Balloon (WiiU)
I hate giving any game a bad review but I find Journey of a Special Average Balloon to be simplistic and a little elementary. There’s a lack of things to do and what you can do wont take you long to complete. The price is isn’t too bad if you’re willing to give it a try ($1.49) but I advise browsing the eShop a bit longer before you decide.