Crazy Balloon Lite

Crazy Balloon Lite is a remake of a 1980 arcade game by Taito where you steer a balloon through a maze while trying to avoid the spiky walls.  The balloon constantly sways from left to right so you have to use timing and digital agility to reach the end goal of every level.  It wasn’t exactly the most popular game out there, so it’s a slightly oddball target for a remake.  My father might disagree with that.  He burned away many lunch hours playing this when it was first released in arcades.  So anyone from Palo Alto who remembers a fat, balding Cuban swearing at an obscure arcade game circa the Reagan era, you’ll be glad to know that he’s now a fatter, balder, and thirty-years-older Cuban currently swearing at my Xbox 360.  Circle of life.

I’ve already raged against nostalgia in a few previous reviews, so I’ll drop that whole bit and just talk about the merits of Crazy Balloon Lite.  On its own, it’s a perfectly fine dexterity tester.  As a remake, it’s pretty much what you would expect: the same game with a graphics overhaul.

Having noted all that, remaking a game in a way where it actually has less to offer than the thirty-year-old arcade original is pretty dumb in my opinion.  There’s only six levels in the game, and once you beat them that’s it.  There’s no extra challenges or incentives to keep playing.  The original game looped, so when you beat the last board you would start from the beginning, only the balloon would sway faster.  Here, once you beat stage six the game ends and you go back to the title screen.  The graphics seem nice,  except the background is pretty distracting.  It leads to moments where it’s tough to see where the spikes are.

The biggest complaint for me is this is a game where analog controls would have potentially made a huge difference in improving the original design.  Although the stick is an option, it has no true analog controls, so the slightest nudge will send your balloon on a full-speed path towards failure.  Finally, there are annoying moments where the camera automatically pulls in when the game assumes that you’re turning a tight corner.  It’s a feature designed to make things easier, but it does the opposite.  The transition between camera angles is jarring and led to me dying more than once.

Overall, I can’t recommend Crazy Balloon Lite.  Modern gamers will find it shallow and uninteresting.  I know I wanted it to be over by time I beat the first level.  Thankfully I didn’t have to wait very long.  Fans of the original might get a very limited amount of enjoyment out of it, but if my father is any indication it will only leave them longing to play the 1980 version.  It had more levels and cleaner graphics, plus it’s the actual game they fell for in the first place.  All Lite is going to do is set off one of those annoying “back in my day” speeches.  God I hate those.  You know, back in my day they didn’t develop shitty remakes of games that would cause people to use that phrase.

Crazy Balloon Lite was developed by Backroom Software

80 Microsoft Points had a father who said “they ought to remake Atari’s Fire Truck too” while his daughter face-palmed and begged developers not to in the making of this review. 

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

2 Responses to Crazy Balloon Lite

  1. Pingback: 48 Chambers « Indie Gamer Chick

  2. i really like your indie game reviews,they are thorough and to the point also very informative,they helped me make wise purchasing choices.. thank you very much.I also like your honesty,your not afraid to say this game sucks! I like that about your reviews.

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