Ballooner Game

Ballooner: Save your Purple Buddies!

The developers at Cool Games have created a cute and relaxing physics puzzle game that will surely tickle your brain - Ballooner! In this game, you take on twenty-four fun-filled stages as you strive to rescue all those cute purple balloons in order to give them the freedom to float up into the heavens. Smash glass, blow stuff up with explosives, and rearrange the layout of the land in order to see your mission through - not one purple balloon must be left behind.

Balloons in Wonderland

The graphics in this game are quite good for a physics type puzzle game; the visuals are simple in style and the color treatment is cool to the eyes. There are no bold colors or any distracting effects. It feels and looks like a child’s colouring book with its fluffy clouds and countryside setting. The blurring of the background gives depth to the game’s visuals and the tone they have applied to create the game’s textures suits the game quite nicely.

The cartoonish look of the balloons is also nice to look at. They have a single fanged tooth protruding from their smiling mouths – which we really adore. The blinking animation also gives the balloons more character and makes them look alive.

The stage clear menu also deserves a bit of credit for adding in fun facts about balloons, their history, and other interesting trivia related to these helium filled characters (even about the flight they took when they first came to being). It is not only fun, but it is also educational for kids and adults alike.

Home on the Range

The music used in the game is appealing to the ears and creates a country-like mood setting that is relaxing to hear. The music is pretty good for this surprisingly short game; from the single ukulele playing in the main menu screen, to the traditional six string guitar (with accompanying claps) that plays for the rest of the game.

Sound Effects are clearly distinguishable but will not distract you from the game. There are multiple sound effects in the game, such as the TNT explosion made by the yellow balloon, the crashing and shattering sounds of breaking glass, and the popping sounds made by the evil red balloons; each one provides a simple yet effective audio cue during the game.

Fizz plus Icks equals FUN

Ballooner’s game mechanics are simple and the objectives are straightforward. Basically, you free the purple balloons by destroying the obstacles in their path. Do not let them get popped by those spiky green balls or allow them to get stuck somewhere in the nooks and crannies of the walls or get accidentally caught in the explosion of the yellow TNT balloons. 

There are other balloons in the game aside from the purple ones that you have to save. There is the green neutral balloon that you do not actually have to liberate, but you can use them to bump other balloons to freedom, the red vampire-like balloons that you have to pop, the crazy eyed blue balloon, and the explosive yellow TNT balloon, which is perfect for clearing out groups of red Balloons or pushing heavy obstacles like crates and metal wheels out of the way.

Since Ballooner is a game that involves actual physics, players have to pay attention to how the balloons and obstacles react to their actions. How far will a crate go if you blow up a yellow TNT balloon near it? What angle should you fire a cactus ball so that it hits that red balloon on the far right corner of the screen? Aside from learning the answers to these, you also have to figure out which obstacles are helpful and which are not - mainly because some of them can help you free other balloons. Knowing when to destroy each type of balloon, when to keep them intact, when to use them as walls to get to those hard to reach places or when to ignore them, can often help you get through the game’s stages.

Patterns are recognizable in a game such as this, where there is a certain order as to which obstacle must be destroyed first, which balloon to free and whatnot. The game gives you a few helpful hints as to what a certain object does with the help of that giant yellow arrow that flashes at the start of a stage.

Also, as an added challenge to the game, the amount of points you receive in each stage that you manage to clear depends on how fast you are in clearing the stage. You start off with 999 points at the beginning of each stage. You can see the timer on the bottom of the screen, which quickly counts down as you play the game. The faster you set those balloons free, the higher your end score will be. In Ballooner, it is all about how fast you can think of a solution and how fast you can put it into action.

Ballooner only has twenty-four stages and most of the stages are not that difficult to get through. There are some that might be a bit challenging; like in stage 21, where you have to time the exact moment you release the TNT balloon to avoid it being whacked away by the windmill-like obstacle above it. The timing has to be done properly for it to arrive at the side of the red balloon at the top left corner of the screen. Once you manage to do that, you have to do the same thing all over again with the crazy blue balloon at the lower right. This is so that you can push the purple balloon at the top right to its freedom. All the while, as you work on keeping that windmill from slapping the blue balloon off-course.

While not as frantic as the previous example, stage 10 will require you to move quickly and to carefully time the explosions of three TNT balloons so that you can send the metal wheel zooming pass through the screen in a zigzag movement to free the lone purple balloon at the bottom of the screen. If that is not enough, you also have to release the red balloon at the left side of the screen and guide it as it floats up to where the first TNT balloon is. This is the only way you will be able to pop that evil balloon that blocks your way to victory.

Floating high in the Sky

All in all, Ballooner is a fairly well-made game; despite the simplicity of the game’s design and its short lifespan - having only twenty-four stages, which will certainly leave players hanging and craving for more. The important thing is that at the end of the game you will still feel satisfied with clearing all of these stages. And once you do, it is likely that you will get that itch to go through it all over again, just to get a chance of getting a higher score than the one you had before.

This game is a fun way to spend the afternoon challenging your mental aptitude and hand-eye coordination. At the same time, you also get some interesting and fun facts about balloons, flying, and other related topics – there are definitely some interesting things packed in this little bundle of balloon goodness.