Best of ND 2013: Top Ten: Forgotten Nintendo Franchises That Need Sequels

You don’t need an ocarina for this trip to the past!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 12/24/2013 15:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

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8) Balloon Fight

Last Title: Balloon Kid (Game Boy, 1990)

As the opening act for Nintendo’s 30 years, 30 cents anniversary sale on the Wii U Virtual Console, as well as an attraction (in spirit) in Nintendo Land, it’s not like Balloon Fight hasn’t been paying fans any visits. The problem is, this fun, simple concept hasn’t been taken advantage of much in the past 20 years. The original NES Balloon Fight was a 2D action platformer, where the player controlled the iconic Balloon Fighter as he flew around the screen via three balloons tied to his body. The player made the Balloon Fighter fly by rapidly tapping the button to control his ascent and descent, all while careening him into enemies to pop their balloons before they popped his. A second mode of play was Balloon Trip, where the Balloon Fighter avoided obstacles while the screen autoscrolled and forced the player forward.

Balloon Fight’s last appearance was in the Game Boy pseudo-sequel Balloon Kid, which employed similar play-style to Balloon Trip mode for the game’s duration. It had solid aesthetics and fleshed out the other half of the Balloon Fight formula in a subtle but great way. It’s time Balloon Fight found its way back on the heels of its current resurgence. An eShop release, either for 3DS or Wii U, would be able to keep costs down on the retail side, allowing more people to give the game a shot. The series could benefit from a New Super Mario Bros.-style multiplayer element, with that frenetic sort of “help vs. hurt” state of mind taking place in the forced-scrolling environment of Balloon Trip mode. Single player might benefit from having power-ups thrown in to add some variety to the proceedings. There’s a lot of potential here, because Balloon Fight has that timeless, easy-to-learn, hard-to-master type of gameplay of the Mario Bros. games.

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