Top Critic Average
The kindest thing I can say about the game is that it does make for an entertaining livestream. I broadcasted my play on Twitch, and my audience seemed to really enjoy watching me suffer. So I guess this is a great one for all those fans of masochism out there.
Surreal, enigmatic and often sloppily executed, Balan Wonderworld is a 90s throwback that might be too period correct for some.
All the charm in the universe couldn't save Balan Wonderworld's half-baked platforming and ill-advised one-button design from being a complete bore.
A slightly embarrassing attempt to recall the early days of 3D platforming, with a central gimmick that never really captures the imagination and clunky controls and gameplay.
Balan Wonderworld is an occasionally inspired, often unimaginative platformer lost to time.
Like I said at the top of this review, your enjoyment of Balan Wonderworld is going to depend on your tolerance for primitive 3D level design. Strip away the unnecessary costumes and their poorly implemented management system - and fire those Balan's Bouts into the sun - and you might have a nice throwback to a more experimental time of platform gaming, one that would be easier to recommend. But sadly, you can't just strip those elements away. They're here, and they're ruining what is otherwise an enjoyable rewind to the golden era of the mascot platformer.
Balan Wonderworld is a passable platformer marred by a string of increasingly baffling design decisions. It has charm by the bucketload and off-the-wall concepts that land well in spite of themselves, but the experience is inconsistent at best and frustrating at worst. There is a good game in here somewhere, and it is great fun at points, but waiting for those points isn't really worth it.
Mixed feelings: graphics and sound offer a surreal and engaging experience, but gameplay wise, several camera hiccups and uneven level design may become frustrating. Balan is able to appeal your inner child... If that child is a patient one.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
The finished state of Balan Wonderworld is disappointing to say the least. For all of its style, I was really interested to see how they would expand upon the preview. The aesthetic and characters are there, the music is captivating, the level design made me want to explore and experiment where I could, and the abilities mostly gave me options to do so. However, these things are held down by a lot of contrivances and outright holes in either functionality or context. The final release of Balan Wonderworld felt like a rush job where good ideas, visuals, and sounds were forced to dance among either unfinished or unfun nonsense.