Ever since the Wii U was announced in 2011, Nintendo has made a point to show off at least one game for the console that shows of their disconnection with the gaming enthusiast community. At E3 2011, it was Measure Up, a game where you use the Wii U's capacity for HD graphics to... draw lines on a white screen. At E3 2012 it was Panoramaview, a "game" where you look at people, and also, at things. There are definitely people that would love these Wii U applications. It's just that very few of them work in the videogame press.
At Thursday's Wii U event in New York City, the game that didn't seem to gel with the crowd was Nintendo Land: Balloon Trip Breeze. Thankfully, it wasn't shunned to the same degree that Panoramaview and Measure Up were. Part of that is because Balloon Trip Breeze has beautiful, LittleBigPlanet style graphics (which sadly aren't entirely clear in this video) and shares ties to one of Nintendo's oldest arcade titles.
The problem is, even old jerks like myself have trouble getting really excited about Balloon Fight. It's a great little game, with the emphasis on little. There are shades of 3D Classics: Urban Champion here. Balloon Trip Breeze is another example of the bare bones re-activation of a series that Nintendo is clearly excited about, but the rest of the human race may not care about. Nintendo must think that enthusiasm for Balloon Fight will be contagious, but it takes enthusiasm and new ideas to get consumers today to really take interest.
You wont find too many new ideas in Balloon Trip Breeze. It feels like a direct sequel to the original game's campaign mode. The only difference I saw were a few new pick-ups, the HD graphics, and the use of touch-screen controls. For those who have never played Balloon Fight: Balloon Trip, it's simple side-scrolling, flight-based obstacle-course game. The goal is to grab as many pick-ups as you can without getting taken out by an enemy or an obstacle. That's pretty much it. It's good clean fun, but sitting next to ZombiU, Pikmin Adventure, Metroid Blast, and CoD: Black Ops II, it's not exactly attention grabbing.
Balloon Trip Breeze feels like a great $.99 iOS game, which would be fine if the game didn't require use of the TV and the Wii U GamePad screens. It's hard to think of a time when Balloon Trip Breeze is going to be the best possible way for me to use both of those displays. that said, if Balloon Trip Breeze ends up having "off TV" play and a good amount of content, I'll have a good time trying to beat it the next time my TV gets monopolized by other members of the family for a Porky's movie marathon.
Damn you, Porky's.