Trying every PS-Plus Extra game: Balan Wonderworld

in Hive Gaming2 months ago

If you have never heard of this game go ahead and get in line behind me. I was really surprised when the Square-Enix logo popped up on the screen because I find it a bit strange whenever they make anything that doesn't make it into the adverts of basically everything. I don't know if they just didn't have much faith in this one or what but I had never even so much as heard it mentioned, let alone ever talked to anyone that ever played it.


This is an adventure game of sorts and when I started playing it I immediately thought back to something like Mario 64 although the game obviously has better graphics than that.

This game is extremely easy and that could be just fine with some players but probably not with others. There is very little in the way of challenge and after 2 hours of playing it the only time I died was when I rolled a giant rock over on top of myself. This doesn't mean the game is bad per se, it just isn't going to appeal to a lot of people because there is virtually no challenge whatsoever there.

As usual in a Squenix game there are a ton of cutscenes but I can't really tell you very much about them because I didn't watch all of any of them. I'm not a fan of cutscenes but thankfully all of the ones I encountered in this game were able to be skipped, and I did precisely that.


You are on a floating island and around you are floating numbers, each of which have a number of doors that appear under them. Normally it will be only 1 or 2 of them followed by a boss level. Just like in many games similar to this one you jump around the various levels collecting various crystals that will come in handy later. They seem of relative unimportance when you first see them but as it turns out they are the entire point of the game.


In each of the levels you will encounter various costumes or characters that if you switch to one of these other costumes you will gain abilities that only that particular character has. Certain ones can jump further, others like the mini-dragon can shoot fire, and others have long limbs to reach crystals that otherwise would be beyond your reach.

The crystals don't seem to have much of a point until you later figure out what the entire point of the game is. Back on your island there are a bunch of creatures running around and you need to feed them crystals so that they will grow and also in order to build more of this contraption in the middle where it is one of those little marble roller coasters that you may remember from your dentist's waiting room as a kid.

This tower is called the "Tower of Tims" and even thought it seems of little consequence when you first start playing it is actually very rewarding to see it develop over time and to see your little creatures sliding down it over and over again. This progresses a counter of sorts that will unlock other things on the Island of Tim and even though I only played for a couple of hours, it was still pretty rewarding.


The only thing that kind of chased me away from this game was that it wasn't at all challenging. I'm not the kind of person that enjoys super difficult games but I do want some level of difficulty and while this game may have a few difficult bits later on, I never encountered anything that could be considered even remotely challenging. Also, I had to grind a few of the levels multiple times because it wasn't clear what the crystals were even for... maybe this was explained in a cutscene that I skipped.

I think that most people will find this game to be quite good looking but I believe that your interest will wane rather quickly just like mine did because it is entirely too easy. I think this would be a fun game to present to your non gaming friends if they just happened to stop by.

Recommended for a bit but I don't think most will stay interested beyond an hour or two

Games I have already tried in my journey to play at least 1-hour of every PS-Plus Extra game

  • Gravity Rush 2 (action adventure game with fast movement in every direction. It has RPG elements and a pretty decent story. Make it past the first hour and the game really opens up. Recommended)
  • Oddworld: Soulstorm (2D+ platformer with great graphics, sound, and voice-acting. Unfortunately it is plagued with a lot of repetition. Recommended for a few hours)
  • Bee Simulator (sort of like a flying FPS game but with no combat. It's graphically impressive and filled with tidbits of knowledge about bees... unfortunately it is repetitive as hell and gets boring fast. Not recommended)
  • Prison Architect (a prison management simulator game similar to SimCity. It's a great game but just like most simulation games, it just isn't very playable using a controller. Not recommended on PS4)
  • Hotline Miami 2 (a top-down shooter with gruesome violence and terrible AI. Would be great for speedrunners and hardcore gamers. Casuals like me are going to quickly tire with it)
  • Battle Chasers: Nightwar (turn based RPG of medium-length that does a good job of teaching you how to play in the first hour. It's pretty old-school and I happen to like that... recommended)
  • Chorus (3rd person open-world space fighting game. It's graphically impressive but combat is too repetitive to really hold your interest for the entire story. Still recommended though.)
  • Portal Knights (a very well made survival action builder game similar to Minecraft. I really enjoyed this and look forward to playing it more. Recommended)
  • Saints Row: The Third (clever and funny FPS game that intentionally puts you in impossible and absurd situations. It's innovative and humorous but ultimately quite dated and got repetitive and boring pretty quick. Not recommended)
  • Balan Wonderworld (A rather beautiful 3D(ish) platformer that is extremely easy but still engaging enough to hold your attention for a few hours. Recommended for casual gamers)

All other games I have already reviewed (there are a lot of them)


Last night I tried some of the latest new PS Plus Extra games.

Tchia, Rage 2, and Immortals Fenyx Rising. I played the first two for about an hour each. Then Immortals got me hooked for like 5 or 6 hours. That game is so much freaking fun! You need to try it. Reminds me of Zelda mixed with Assassin’s creed and then set in a Greek mythology world with tons of humor.

thanks for the info! i'll have to check that out because it sounds like it is exactly something in my wheelhouse.... unless it is rogue-like, which i tend to not enjoy.

I watched the trailer for Tchia and I found it a bit "meh" and am unlikely to play it.

Immortals is literally so much fun. I am about to play it some more right now actually.

well if it holds your interest for more than a few days it almost has to be good in my book.

15 hours in and it’s still fun 🤩

From the images you show us it seems that the game looks good, it has nice graphics, but if the game is that simple as you say I think it would not be worth playing it.

it's child-like in its simplicity so yeah.... i wouldn't really recommend it for anyone who is even semi-serious about gaming .