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This review contains spoilers
What surrounded this game did kinda diminish the want to play it, but I decided to ignore it and go ahead and give it a fair shot, playing it for what it is.
I like this game, but i wish I liked it even more.
Most of the romances are bland, most of the LGBT+ characters felt like caricatures (the non binary characters particularly); as a gay man I was excited to have many male romances to choose from, but seeing how there was only one woman to date I felt disappointed for the lesbian players that would’ve loved to have a dating sim cater to them as well, not just for people like me.
Combat was exciting but short lived - with only 2 dunjs and a boring last boss fight it seemed pointless to even get through them 100% with all the weapons.
And I feel it does need to be say - the stalker plot line was not needed. While not uncomfortable for me, trying to enjoy the dating aspect to suddenly have my stalker show up ruined most of the experience with me. From how I see it, it wasn’t handled well at all, hamfisted into the plot and dumbed down to fit the cutesy atmosphere the game is trying to go for.
Give it a shot if you have 5 hours to spare, but play it when it goes on sale, it’s not worth the $20.
This review contains spoilers
So first off I played this on Switch, I know that's like it's own page but it also has the 2nd game which I haven't played so I'm writing it here.
So I didn't really have any expectations when going into this but my god this was so boring. This game tries to be many games like Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Diablo. Hell even the credits say this. But if you're going to be similar to those or be meta about the game as a whole, how about you know be a fun game?
So it starts off as this basic looking game till you eventually go 3D with all these other things you get like improved textures, cinematic camera angles, and improved music.
The gameplay first starts off like Zelda and you'll even get stuff like Hearts, a bow, the Buster Sword, and bombs. Hell your character is even named Clink by default. The enemies are your knockoff brand Zelda 1 enemies though at least when you go 3D your character gets the link to the past swinging.
Now first off I have to ask why is it in this game you can move in eight directions but the bow can only be shot in four? Now you might say Link to the Past also did that but you see in that game, you always faced four directions, Link never faced diagonally when going those directions, so it was fine when he did it.
These sections are just so basic, they try to later put these crystals where it takes you back to the more simpler 2D sections to change stuff in the future but its nothing that deep. Also screw those sections where they have trap floors, Tapping the control pad repeatedly to move around and not fall is boring room design!
When you get to the Final Fantasy knockoff stuff, it's the most boring RPG combat I have ever done in my life. Like when Nakayoshi to Issho has better RPG battles then your game does, you have a problem. Also what's with some of the enemies looking like super realistic Mario enemies? Is this kind of stuff just not for me or something?!
You also get the not Aerith of your team who's basically just heal and nothing else and I should point out it just has infinite uses for it.
There's also some towns you can go into and by towns I mean 2. One even had fake load times that you can even buy to get rid of which I didn't do. Also in this town they at one part just make you walk back and forth to find who has the bombs and if this was meant to be a joke about fetch quest well it wasn't funny.
There's also these Diablo parts where like look I don't play Diablo, I probably never will I got nothing out of these besides getting to play as the not Aerith. You just mindlessly mash the attack button and get items that have not funny descriptions and there is even one that just straight up uses a Creeper face from Minecraft.
Later you fight a not Sephiroth and he does a literal move from Dragon Ball, like where the hell did that come from? The not aerith dies and you get her dad's airship to go fight him one more time in this really lame boss fight and you just win like what the heck was that!? If there is more then I guess I'll never find out what that is because that was really lame.
You can find these stars if you want to 100% but IDK what you get for them, I don't care enough to do it. Same goes for the cards, you can play this minigame from them that's probably a reference to something. It actually was probably the most fun I had with the game. Though if I have to complain, I hate how getting these cards just tell you what they are for as early as the beginning, kind of ruins the immersion of like upgrading this world.
The presentation is bland and boring, nothing about the graphics stick out to me and it feels like it was probably intentionally done that way so I guess it's not the worst but like even the music is boring. I just don't really have much to say. Though one huge complain I have is the game stutters sometimes, is this a Switch issue? I would like to know if anyone knows. It feels like the game isn't fully stable sometimes.
I just didn't like this game I'm sorry, am I just missing something here or is this just not a game meant for me? That felt like 2 hours wasted, the most I got out of it was laughing at the not Sephiroth using a Dragon Ball move. Now hopefully the sequel is better but after playing this, I have no expectations it'll even be higher then a 4, maybe a 5 for me. Only time will tell though, one day I'll play it. For others, just go play a different game that is based off these genres.
Balan Wonderworld, but feels more like Blunderworld
Balan Wonderworld is a 3d platformer where you choose your character, Leo Craig or Emma Cole, and help the troubled hearts of twelve individuals with the help from someone named Balan. Or at least that is the jist of it, as the story is not really made clear within your whole time playing. I knew that I was “saving” the person in their world, but the cutscenes and lack of dialogue of the cast makes it a little hard to piece it together. I know there is a book alongside this game, but I am not able to find the time or drive to read it.
The story is not even the confusing part of this game. It is how the brains behind the creation of this game made a platformer that feels half-baked. My time with the game felt like a drag, the levels felt void of creativity, the Quick Time Events (will call them QTEs from now on), and confusing narrative really drove home that this game is not complete.
Before I just lay into this, I will say it had some very good moments. The boss levels are great and I do like how they reward you with a collectable for figuring out all the ways to damage them. The bosses are 100% the best part of this game, and thankfully you have one for each world plus the final boss. I will also say the creativity of where the statues and entrances to where the “Balan Bouts” are located are extremely well done. I was challenged to find all of them, and I had to expand all the costumes and their powers to find them. I can name two that made me scratch my head till I figured out that I needed a certain costume. That will be all the praise I have for this game.
The meat and bones of this is what every other gamer who has played this game has said: It feels unfinished and rushed. I will heavily agree with this statement, all the levels I played were easy as cake to complete. None were challenging to get from start to finish, and the levels never really made myself excited to revisit. Which guess what, you will be revisiting EVERY level at least once if you want to advance in the story. And the QTEs are very cool, till you see you have to do them more than 5 times. A total of 48, and if you want to 100% the game you will be doing them a lot.
With those levels, you collect costumes to advance. In the whole game there are 80 costumes. The issue is, there are repeats. An example of this is the Gear Prince and Gear King. They both function the same, but one block can only be done by the Gear King if there is a light bulb on it. In the end, it could be just the Gear Prince could do both. Definitely could have shaved down 15 costumes to give more ideas for other costumes. But it is a point that every costume is used at least once to get the game fully completed. I do appreciate that you will need to get them all, but the repeats make me think why they added slight off versions.
If someone asked if they should try it, honestly I would say save your money unless you like Banjo-Kazooie (N64) or Super Mario 64 (N64). People who grew up with those platformers will get that blast to the past, but just in the most boring fashion possible. I had this game hovering around 1.5 out of 5. But I will bump it up to a 2 out of 5. I do think you will find your fill if you are obsessed with the 3D platformer genre.
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