Yes, it’s Wonderworld, not Wonderland, as I had initially believed. Ahem, there is an unreleased game I noticed a few months back on the Switch eShop that caught my attention, Balan Wonderworld. Though I knew very little about it, I was instantly intrigued. After all, people are saying this is Square Enix’s first platformer, plus it has the involvement of Yuji Naka, the former head of Sonic Team. While many people were excited for the game based on early footage, now that the demo has been released, plenty of us, myself included, have had our enthusiasm dampened.
I want to emphasize that I have not played the demo myself, so I can’t comment from actual experience. But from the gameplay footage and feedback I’ve seen online, the game doesn’t look quite as promising as I had initially hoped. Sure, the cinematics look amazing, and I’m a fan of the character design for Balan himself, both of which are surely reasons why many people’s interest was piqued to begin with. But it’s the gameplay itself that has me concerned.
For one thing, the main game doesn’t look nearly as good as the cut scenes. Sure, graphics aren’t everything, but I would expect more from a game being released in 2021. The gameplay itself looks very easy and a bit lackluster, as well. I heard the demo includes worlds 1, 4, and 6. One reviewer said there was little difference in terms of difficulty, while another said world 4 was noticeably tougher, so…hard to say, really. I heard a lot of people saying your character moves far too slowly (despite how fast their legs are moving), something I think would bother me, as well. If there’s one thing that dampens how fun a game can be to play, it’s a slow character.
Furthermore, your character, just on their own, can only jump and run, nothing else. Yes, there are over 80 costumes that grant your character alternate abilities, but apparently some of these costumes even remove your jumping ability! If this game was a different genre, that would be one thing. But it’s a platformer, and one of the most important things is ensuring that your character is fun to control. And part of the fun often comes from the playable character having a variety of moves. Even in Super Mario Odyssey, Mario was fun to play as even when he wasn’t controlling enemies with Cappy.
Again, I can’t totally judge the game considering I’ve only watched the demo and read/listened to people’s thoughts on it. But from what I’ve heard so far, I’ve personally lost any interest in playing the game (especially for the full price of $60). Of course, that’s just my opinion. If you are interested in this game, you can still try out the free demo and see for yourself if it’s something you’ll want to get upon release (March 26, 2021). The demo is available on every modern console, including Steam.
Before I go, I’d like to ask, dear readers, what your thoughts are on this game. Did the initial trailer look interesting to you? What do you think of the demo, and has it changed your views on what the finished product will be like? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!