Balan Wonderworld has had some shockingly awful press around its release, including warnings of scenes that are unsafe for epileptic players, and a bunch of reviews that rarely poke their heads up above the 6/10 mark. Needless to say, it's not looking good for Square Enix's latest, made with Sonic the Hedgehog alum Yuji Naka at the helm.
Except... actually... maybe it's all okay! Over the past few days, a slew of 10/10 scores have been coming in from Metacritic users, bumping Balan Wonderworld's score up to a surprisingly high, overall positive average. It's starting to look a little... suspect, if you ask us (and the rest of the internet). What's the opposite of review bombing? Review... inflating? Review fluffing? Well, it's that.
Many of these users have names that look more like someone choking on Alphabet Soup than real handles, and all of their reviews are glowing. Even when we like games so much that we wish there was some way to pump them into our bloodstream, we still have criticism, like the fact that Zelda: Breath of the Wild doesn't have a fishing minigame (electrocuting the water doesn't count).
What's more, many of these comments are written in similar broken English, with repeated phrases across a few of them, and, weirdly, all of the negative reviews are getting downvoted to hell. Hmm.
Let's take a look at what some of these 100 per cent legitimate 10/10 reviews are saying:
"Live this game as an adventure And you will be rewarded with the best platform ever" - Larryor
"Overall, I'm feel satisfied by this Balan Wonderworld" - Ukaty
"Best game of this decade" - Omono
"A really shiny experience to live for just have some good moments of fun, with a nice platform" - Beryph
"This is the greatest platform game made in the whole gen" - Okuman
"Egregious and absolutely stunning game" - Uqln
"This Balan Wonderworld became one of my favorite platforming games after hitting the credits" - Ezynu
"If you love games like NiGHTS or Croc, you will also love this Balan Wonderworld" - Olony
"It's just like playing the old good platform games, like NiGTHS or Croc, and I love this" - Whastym
"I'm like it" - Klroph
Either every user reviewer here has unpronounceable consonant sneezes for names, and finds Balan Wonderworld "cute", "cool", and "surprisingly emotional", or, yeah, these are bots. It might have been less obvious if several of them didn't try to assert that Balan Wonderworld is the platformer of the decade.
We can only speculate, of course, but we do have a few questions: If they are bots, who paid for them? And did they really think this would work, instead of being awful press?
In the interest of fairness, here are a couple of the negative reviews:
"This game is a dumpster fire" - octoyoshi
"Final boss nearly killed me, and I'm not even talking about an in-game death" - JoeMamama
"this is such a dull, boring, repetitive & brain dead game that it physically hurts me" - FieryGarfield
Hey, this is just a news piece. We won't tell you what to think. You'll have to read our review for that, with quotes like "Balan Wonderworld simply isn't fun to play" and "Balan Wonderworld is a waste of your time". And we can promise that none of us are bots. Except maybe Alex, who's been beeping a lot lately.
So, what do you think? Bots, or legitimate reviews? Does this make you more, or less likely to try out Balan Wonderworld? Let us know in the comments, unless you're also a bot.