Game Review

Balloon Fight Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Balloon Light

Before games like Metroid and The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo's NES console relied on simple arcade titles to keep itself afloat. Balloon Fight used an already-successful gameplay mechanic similar to that of William's Joust arcade release, and while it offers up some simple arcade enjoyment, the repetitive gameplay keeps it from lasting, ultimately creating an experience that's far more redundant than fun.

In Balloon Fight, you take on the role of a bird who finds two balloons strapped to its back, and must flap around each area landing on enemies in order to pop their balloons and send them falling to the ground. Once on the ground, they become vulnerable and you can then run down and kick them off into the water below. Of course, you'll have to stay on your toes as they won't go down without a fight, and if the enemies pop both of your own balloons you'll be the one falling into the water.

To make things a bit more interesting, each level tosses a different set of platform arrangements your way, not to mention a host of new hazards. Everything from fluffy clouds that will occasionally strike out a bolt of lightning, to the fish patiently waiting to gobble you up should you get too close to the water at the bottom of the screen.

To add a bit of variety to the experience, the developers have also included a second mode called Balloon Race. In this mode, you'll have to flap around a host of dangerous objects, collecting as many balloons as you can as the screen slowly scrolls along. While a nice change of pace, this mode is quite difficult and tends to bring out the control limitations as you try to maneuver through some extremely tight spots, with controls that don't exactly lend themselves to pinpoint navigation.

For anyone that's ever played any of the earlier NES efforts, you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Balloon Fight. Simple enemies and platforms abound in each level, but with only a basic black backdrop there's not a lot of flash from a visual standpoint. The same can pretty much be said of the audio presentation as you'll get a small variety of quirky arcade-style sound effects and little more.


Balloon Fight is a great idea that just doesn't have enough depth or originality to keep you coming back for more. Even the cute characters and additional mode aren't enough to lift the experience up and keep the fun rolling. Unless you're just a diehard Nintendo fan that has to own everything the company has produced over the years, you'd definitely be better off passing on this rather bland and repetitive arcade experience.

From the web

Game Trailer

Subscribe to Nintendo Life on YouTube

User Comments (14)



StarDust4Ever said:

Balloon fight is a charming little game when played on the NES, or even Wii's Virtual Console. However, trying to play this on a 3DS is a painful button thrashing nightmare. I am an adult with large hands, and the 3DS buttons are way to hard and small for this type of gameplay.

Not to mention the game only really starts to shine when you play with a friend: you can either work together to clear the stages, or attempt to completely annialate each other. Sadly, simultaneous multiplayer is not an option on the 3DS VC.



Luigivaldo said:

I played this game for my first time in Animal Crossing for Game Cube, and I LOVE IT!! I don't know why it receives a bad grade. Man, it's a classic!!



atariman said:

I think that the Balloon Fight controls are better on the computer immulater than the 3DS. the 3DS Baloon Fight is great on 1 Player mode, but the Balloon Trip is not a good way to play it. but I think that 5/10 is a bit low. Its a very good game so I give It an 8/10. very good.



Mk_II said:

i quite like it actually. Frustratingly hard? yes, but thats how games were back then.



photofool83 said:

I'm actually surprised at this review.

I personally think this is one of the best of the classic NES games. I have spent numerous hours playing this game, throughout my life.

8/10 in my book.



AcesHigh said:

Is it me or does it seem like Nintendo has added some smoothing filters to their emulation? This game sould be a lot more pixelated than it is. As emulators run on increasingly higher def, the pixelation of the native ROM gets worse and worse - thus why most emulators have "filters" that smooth the pixels out to emulate the low def CRT displays that smoothed out the edges back in the day. It seems like they did this with Balloon Fight!

I'm really hoping that they have added this kind of filter, especially for the upcoming SNES games. It will become much more apparent with 16 bit vs. 8 bit games. I didn't like how pixelated the 16-bit and 8-bit games looked on the Wii VC with no filters applied at all. This one looks really good! Here's to hoping!

BTW... the main character in this game is not a bird... it's a dude with a helmet. How can the reviewer miss this?!



Beau_Skunk said:

@photofool83 I agree, that'd be like giving Pac Man a 5. I think this game is addictive, and fun enough to get at least a 6 or 7. I think it has a nice variety of levels, and the endlessness, and goal of getting a high score gives it more replayability. I also think the play control is smoother then most earlier games. I also like how it gives you a choice to either tap the A-button to fly, or hold down B to. It's kinda cool to have that choice. "Balloon Trip" and the 2-player simultanious modes are nice to.

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...