Developer: Noname Studio
Publisher: Sony Music Entertainment INC
Platform: Nintendo Switch
When I think about the Nintendo switch, I often think about two things. The ability to freely go from being a portable console to something to play on a TV. I also think of it as a console pays tribute to the old days of gaming. It does this by giving the means to buy ‘ready to play’ by yourself or with a friend, out of right the box.
I say this because, I find it interesting that a indie team literally called “noname studio” not only takes advantage of this, but Battlloon draws inspiration from games of this era.
Before I go into what the game has to offer, I must warn you that the only things you do alone, are the tutorial, which is gone after the first time you run the game, and the training mode.
The main mode has a two player minimum. This game is mostly a local multiplayer only game so if don’t have anyone you can play this game with, you may not want to pick up this game, which is a crying shame. I know it’s not ideal, but it would be nice to at least have the option for bots. It would add a much wanted solo option and fill up any unused player slots if wanted.
With that said, lets get into the gameplay.
As mentioned, you can only play this local multiplayer, but thankfully, it does have some really convenient features to make matches smoother.
For starters, this game is a party battle game. You get points for winning a match, but you get less points if you’re not directly responsible for your victory.
The best way to describe it, I think, is like bumper balls mini game from Mario party fleshed out even further into something a little more original. By that, I mean you tackle your opponents into the death zone or at least bait your enemies into going there. In the case of this game, the death zone are spikes.
Some parts of the walls are safe or have a unique gimmick like being a spring or being a vent that affects your traversal across the map. However, if it’s not a vent, any safe spot that’s tackled within will turn into a bed of spikes.
You also get the occasional hazards that spawn every now and then. They range from a bomb that can stun anyone that’s near it to an instant kill meteor.
At this point you must be wondering how the game is actually played. Well, I’ll try to explain.
Every character is a balloon or some form of balloon creature. You inflate by holding a button and let go when you want them gradually rocketing into other your opponents. Sort of like a jet pack. However, the characters have a cap on how long they can inflate. Any further inflating will do absolutely nothing but show them trying to hold their breath.
Each one of them has it’s their own characteristics and traits. The default character, “Mr Balloon” can move better near walls, there is one that is harder to tackle, and one who is overall faster just to name a few.
As nice as they are, not all traits are created equal. To give an example, one of the characters has the lowest cap for inflation, which may seem nice on paper, but this one is the hardest to move around the map, let alone tackle anyone, since anyone can halt their inflation, let it go, and even re-inflate while they are zooming around the map.
Fortunately, while you’re selecting characters, you are given a lobby to test out the one you have chosen until everyone is match ready. So if you don’t like how the character feels, you can de-select them and change for one that suits you more.
…is pretty standard stuff for today’s slew of title releases . The graphics are gorgeous. While it is going for the pixel aesthetic, it uses it well with great looking backgrounds with what few they have worked with. The characters also look pretty good and pretty adorable. If you are a sucker for cute looking characters, this game has you covered. It even has a character that will remind you of a very old meme the moment you start playing with it.
As for the music, I personally find it pretty good, but anyone that’s not that crazy about chip-tunes may find some tracks ear-grating. The music reminds me of retro arcade titles. It specifically reminds me of game tracks made on the Neogeo and Atari arcade machines.
Honestly, I think it’s a pretty good and pretty fun game. However, I can’t by any means recommend it unless you can reliably secure people to play this game with you on a somewhat regular basis.
As I already mentioned, you can only do alone as a one off tutorial mode (that should probably have gotten an option to try again on the options menu) and the Training mode which will get boring fast since you only have a stationary target.
I know I mentioned it before, but I can’t stress this enough. I might have sounded a bit negative, but it does bother me a bit that we have an offline only game nearly devoid of single player options. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the game.
It is perfect for the Nintendo Switch since you will always have enough controllers for at least a two player match, which in fairness can take place round your buddies house. I just think it could have benefited a little more lone player development besides the training mode. Let’s hope they add it in down the line.