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Balan’s BlunderBland

Bad Video Games is usually derived of poor gameplay, narrative, setting or graphical style and there can be arguments on whether certain game actually deserve the harsh criticisms. However, Balan’s WonderWorld manages to hold no arguments amongst players as being one of the worst modern games to ever contaminate our computers. It fits the ‘bad video game’ suit as having its detriments completely outweigh it’s positive attributes.

What is Balan WonderWorld?

Balan WonderWorld is a 3D platformer made in 2021, developed by ‘Arzest and Balan Company’ and published by Square Enix, the same company who published promising titles such as the Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts so to see the game fail as hard as it did from Square Enix was pretty disappointing. Furthermore, the game was a debut project of the Balan Company, a subsidiary part of Square Enix led by Yuji Naka, the former head of the Sega studio Sonic Team, and lead programmer of the original Sonic the Hedgehog series. Overall, it’s a platforming game that did poorly last year (2021) due to poor level design and gameplay just to name a few errors, not much can be said about on a basic level.

What Happens in this Bland Land?

The game consists of you, the player progressing through stages and boss battles each muddled with tedious puzzles and although there are over 50 powers in the game, only a few are used at the time and are used for one purpose only making them completely useless in any other scenario, more doesn’t always equal better. One of the key aspects wrong with the game is the controls and that it has only three despite a controller having 12 buttons to click and more combinations of controls to be calibrated with, all you can do is either move, jump or use your costume ability as well as switching costumes/powers, that’s it…..that’s all you get to do. It was considered to be the “one button rule” that the developers supposedly had in order to nullify any creativity and diversity between different movement and gameplay styles from the players, this was so bad that it became one of if not the most well known thing that the game is known for.

I wish I was making this up

Rising Hype & Fast Fall

There was a lot of hype towards this game as mentioned before it was lead by one of the original creators of Sonic the Hedgehog as well as having Square Enix as the publisher but when the demo came out, everyone was already worried as all the beautiful charm was backed up by nothing and led the disappointed communities begging for a delay which inevitability did not happen. More negative aspects of the game include poor ports to the Nintendo Switch which made the game look worse which only made the poor game design, level design and mechanic design seem more provident.

Nights into Dreams
Super Mario Odyssey
Balan WonderWorld

PS5 vs Switch comparison

A Penny’s worth of Credit

Credit should be given where credit is due. In this small instance, Balan WonderWorld does have amazing character design from Balan himself to some of the costumes fitting well with their respective themes and worlds from where they reside in game adding to the charm of the game.

Another thing to compliment is the soundtrack as there are a couple of songs where by itself sounds amazing and reminiscent of early to mid 2000’s video game music. Unfortunately, these things add to the disappointment of Balan’s WonderWorld as it could’ve been something great and unique in its genre. Regardless, it’s looks and charms weren’t enough to carry it’s failed key component; game design.


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