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Quick Look: Balan Wonderworld

Jeff Gerstmann is here to spend nearly two hours playing Balan Wonderworld on a PlayStation 5. Can he complete the Tower of Tims in time?????????

Sit back and enjoy as the Giant Bomb team takes an unedited look at the latest video games.

Apr. 1 2021

Cast: Jeff

Posted by: Jeff

In This Episode:

Balan Wonderworld

72 Comments

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shoeroo

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Edited By shoeroo

Fuck yes

Edit: Convinced Yuji Naka has a giantess fetish.

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permanentsigh

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I hate this game so much.

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citizencoffeecake

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Platinum trophy race, platinum trophy race!

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Hivetyrant

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If you've ever felt that you weren't talented enough to make a good game, use this as inspiration.

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Dan_CiTi

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No Caption Provided

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lolmark

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I would be thrilled to see this run on the awful games done quick block of AGDQ or SGDQ.

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contactlondon

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My experience is set.

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Vetsen86

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Edited By Vetsen86

Oh god. I'm terrified and super excited to watch this. This is gonna be a trip, strap in folks!

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LavenderGooms

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At least the terrain deformation was only that one first world. It actually started to make me feel ill in the previous videos featuring this game.

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spiketail

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Ah, of course. This had to be an April 1st Quick Look.

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SatoAilDarko

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Edited By SatoAilDarko

Would love to see you play more of this. It's fascinating.

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AV_Gamer

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Balan Wonderland is interesting. Its both a bad game and a good game at the same time. That is quite a feat to achieve. I'd imagine if it came out when it should have it might have been a solid 3 stars, but with many better platforms today, this game doesn't completely hold up. Still its good that they finally released it. Its not good that it cost full price. That won't last long, however.

And not its not a kids game. I believe the design of Balan alone would give a lot of kids nightmares.

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epidehl

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@dan_citi: I've never been more glad that something "wasn't just me".

In all of the baffling things about this game, the fact that it's name is weirdly confusing is definitely up there.

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tarmander

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Yeah so I looked at the metacritic thing and its 118 positive reviews, 117 of which are 10/10 with a single 8/10. fuck this game

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noisequeen

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idunno, this doesn't look so bad to me. kind of boring, but not terrible

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Eroq

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balan wonderland just rolls off the tongue better than balan wonderworld

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blair

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Edited By blair

This is the kind of game I know Jeff is going to sink WAY TOO MANY hours in.

I would watch every single minute of it.

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durgerburglar

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This is exactly the videos I want, all it needs is Vinny and it might be perfection.

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Humanity

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Another amazing game taken down by sensationalist journalism! You saved that girl-dolphin relationship Jeff!

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Ben_H

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I watched Jeff's whole Twitch livestream of this game. I still have absolutely no idea what's going on in it.

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Daavpuke

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I was rooting for this game until I saw the Light Suit. That can't be its intended use. It just can't. What a strange, fascinating thing.

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deactivated-629e85e2386a9

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Man, the things people are doing in Dreams these days is really incredible.

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deactivated-62a6d1718add5

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You guys remember when a few years ago a whole bunch of people wanted to resurrect early 2k's 3D platformers? This game is exactly what those games were. Just endless shit Loonie Toons character platformers and garbage like that.

The only one of the modern ones I ever wanted to play was Mario Odyssey, and that's because that is a modern game, not a game from early 2k's.

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Humanity

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Despite what Jeff says I do strongly believe this is a game meant for kids that are just starting to get into dual analog stick movement.

Although the longer Jeff played the more it seemed like this was originally meant to be a mobile release that someone decided to port over to consoles. Simple gameplay, one button mechanics, short levels, a resource collecting metagame. Really seems like the perfect fit for a tablet game.

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Carboot_Soul

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You're ..gonna.. finish.. it!

Good luck Jeff, we will be rooting for you, just like we did with Garfield.

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EggZooBareAnt

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All fun and reasonableness aside, Quick Looks used to mean something? Will they all have your faces in now?

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jampolian

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this games good. 11/10

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dunbar256

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At least the colors are nice.

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Onemanarmyy

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Edited By Onemanarmyy

This is the best coverage Balan could ask for. The vaguely new-age soundtrack fits this game like a shoe. Some throatsinging, irish flutes and mystical chanting represents how i feel. Those little cutscenes are pretty decently done though.

Maybe Yuji Naka should stop with this game business stuff and join the Eurovision Songfestival crew. Those dance-segments have a similar energy.

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Edited By plinko

My reaction to seeing this in the feed and how long it is: "Oh nooooo...Oh noooo! Wait, maybe it's an April Fools joke?"

I then scrubbed through the video to check.

"Oh nooo, it's not a joke! It's real!"

I can't believe I'm gonna watch this Jeff but...I'm gonna watch this.

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hansolol

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I did a loop-de-loop man, isn't that awesome? I got a A. Fuck off!

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RRBigman

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I'm astonished how this game for four-year-olds is so obtuse in certain spots like the hub world.

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beggary

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Edited By beggary
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swthompson

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Edited By swthompson

I played the demo for this while high. That was probably a bit too much.

Can't wait to watch Jeff finish this game.

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GnolTac

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@humanity said:

Despite what Jeff says I do strongly believe this is a game meant for kids that are just starting to get into dual analog stick movement.

Although the longer Jeff played the more it seemed like this was originally meant to be a mobile release that someone decided to port over to consoles. Simple gameplay, one button mechanics, short levels, a resource collecting metagame. Really seems like the perfect fit for a tablet game.

Yeah, and honestly I think the visuals and sound is pretty top notch. I'm having a pretty good time watching this and not even ironically.

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Aires

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Wait... you're telling me that Balan has a whole wonderworld??

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Edited By bybeach

This game is not that kind of bad. I get the central hub criticism, that could have been better. Something more robust.

I think Jeff had a clue when he said something to the effect of 'You know, it's kind of trippy', meaning the colors and such. It struck me 100% when I watch this that it was made for children (and some adults) Attention grabbing, kind of simple in some function ways as @humanity and others note, again for young children.

I watched this whole thing expecting to see the horror, having already read a thread in the comments section about it. But that just never materialized. Though this game is not for me, I kind of enjoyed their play with graphics (which I know, gives me away) Beyond that, no interest at all for playing Balan Wonder World. And I'm too busy with the misery of Hellpoint at the moment.

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Sandyman

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Ok, first impression: This looks bad. Like really BAD.

But now I am wondering if this maybe reaches some so bad it's good territory? For some reasons I feel compelled to get this and see it in all it's weird, bad glory.

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@dan_citi said:
No Caption Provided

lol, very much this^

This game is the hell that I both need and deserve.

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camitalo

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Honestly it seems like this game could have used like 6 more months of pre-production, the game technically seems fine, but the design and decisions made seem half baked at best.

The idea that this was originally a mobile game seems right, but still doesn't necessarily explain some of the decisions made.

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TheRealTurk

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I'm 10 minuted into the QL and I already have so many questions. Like, why do the characters run like they're in FFVII? If this is a game aimed at kids, why is the hub world so inscrutible? If it's aimed at adults, why is it so simple? Why do characters disappear when you approach them?

Actually, maybe my only question is just "why"?

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pmurph03

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Edited By pmurph03

I feel like if the levels were not linear it would work a lot better, having to collect stars/trophies in linear levels to unlock the next set of levels doesn't work super well.

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Topcyclist

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@gnoltac said:
@humanity said:

Despite what Jeff says I do strongly believe this is a game meant for kids that are just starting to get into dual analog stick movement.

Although the longer Jeff played the more it seemed like this was originally meant to be a mobile release that someone decided to port over to consoles. Simple gameplay, one button mechanics, short levels, a resource collecting metagame. Really seems like the perfect fit for a tablet game.

Yeah, and honestly I think the visuals and sound is pretty top notch. I'm having a pretty good time watching this and not even ironically.

I second the kids thing. People forget how difficult dual analogs are for people who didn't grow up with them. I've been trying for years to get my parents into "good" games and they treat the analogy duality like its brain surgery and just go nuts looking at the grown not moving then the sky then screaming that the game is bad and all games should control the camera for you and what not...the exact thing review critics in the past docked games for...trust me I remember reading that flaw in-game magazines as a kid thinking wtf lol...get over it already its just a camera.

Point is, the games like this would appeal to children. I used my parents as an example cause for all purposes, when considering gaming, they are like new children to the task and bounce off if the game takes even 5 minutes to learn. I think anyone can learn dual sticks if they try to play for about an hour but I've yet to see anyone frustrated with learning them ever try it. Gaming on iPhones is where it's at for my parents even if they just play those cheap over-advertised, fakeout scrabbles or words games and whatnot...that's who's buying them XD. Gaming is getting really niche, when it comes to "good games" since said "good games" are super hard for outsiders to get into and if they cater to outsiders, the games are too easy. I know gaming makes more money and popularity than ever, but I'm speaking more along the lines of....never seeing my parents get into the well-received DOOM Eternal or Last of Us 2, regardless of the narrative or gameplay.

That said, there are still so many good alternatives that are cheaper, like a hat in time, or Mario, or sonic that yeah...maybe Balan will be a mascot favorite from a clunky first game...like Croc 1 vs improved Croc 2.

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WulfBane

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So what is the greater missed opportunity with the "every button does the same thing" control scheme?

  • Ability for instructions to say "press any button to ..."?
  • Ability for instructions to say "press the X button to ..." regardless of platform?

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LucidDreams117

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I don't know... I really don't see what has made everyone think this game is so bad. I'm not saying it's good. But perhaps just boring? The music is nice. The look and style are nice too. If the Nintendo name was on this... Would the criticism be as harsh?

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FreakAche

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This looks fine? I feel like stuff like this comes out on Steam all the time. The only unusual thing is that this is a full price game

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jrowley223

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Best quick look 10/10

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Erkel

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Square Enix, dropping Hitman for killer titles like The Quiet Man and Balan Wonderworld.