Ever since the initial announcement back in the summer of 2020, Balan Wonderworld has had a bit of hype around it. It’s from the creators of Sonic the Hedgehog for one, but then with the power of Square Enix behind it, the deliverance of a wonderfully creative and exciting world, AND the opportunity to work some magic with numerous technicolored dreamcoats, those hype meters went into overdrive. Now though it’s time for us players to really experience everything that has been created as Balan Wonderworld releases on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch and PC.
Balan Wonderworld sees the return of Yuji Naka to the gaming limelight, with a game that is as wondrous and wicked as nothing ever seen before. It throws us into the world of the Balan Theatre, a show led by the titular Balan as they help two stars to utilise special abilities and costumes as they traverse the imaginary land of Wonderworld.
Totally fantastical and utterly bizarre is all we can really take from the premise and ideas found in Balan Wonderworld, yet as our hands-on with the demo showed, this will only really work if all things come together as one.
We’ve got high hopes though. In fact, the 80+ different costumes that are promised pretty much point to this being an adventure that will have a ton of charm and character, and with that Balan dude rocking and rolling along in the background, pushing the story and experience with it, there should be much to like here.
Our full review of Balan Wonderworld on Xbox will be along in the days coming, but if you’re looking to see what Yuji Naka has been able to create, and how the power of Square Enix is able to shape it, then we think a visit to a digital download store should be your best course of action. You’ll find Balan Wonderworld present and correct this very minute on the Xbox Store for £49.99. You’ll also find it on similar outlets for PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch and PC. For a game that promises much, that seems about right.
■Welcome to a wondrous all-action show, the likes of which has never been seen before! BALAN WONDERWORLD is a wondrous action platformer game themed around the Balan Theatre. Led by the enigmatic maestro named Balan, the stars of the show Emma and Leo will use special abilities from a multitude of characterful costumes as they adventure in the bizarre and imaginary land of Wonderworld. Here memories and vistas from the real world mix with the things that people hold dear. Twelve different tales await our stars in the Wonderworld, each with their own unique quirks. They will explore all corners of these labyrinthine stages, filled with a myriad of tricks and traps, to get to the heart of each story. ■Wonderworld exists in people’s hearts and imagination The setting for this tale is the fantastic, bizarre land of Wonderworld; a place where people’s happy and positive memories mix with their restless worries and negativity. Leo and Emma are led into Wonderworld by the mysterious clown Balan and set off on a journey to find what is important to them. Before they can return to the real world, they must first restore the lost balance in their hearts… ■Over 80 different costumes open up all the action you could want! The stars of the show can use powers from the inhabitants of Wonderworld by wearing their colourful costumes, with over 80 different ones to try on! Bash your enemies, walk in the air, freeze time or manipulate all kinds of objects… the possibilities are endless when you pick up a new costume. ■Two Legendary Creators Reunite! Come one, come all and enjoy the pinnacle of Square Enix storytelling in an all-action world of wonder created by the legendary Naka Yuji. For the first time in 20 years Naka Yuji and Oshima Naoto join forces forming the BALAN COMPANY team; founded around, bringing together action game development, video and music production professionals from both inside and outside of the company.