The more I see of Balan Wonderworld, the more intrigued and excited I get. Yuji Naka’s next big follow-up to the Sonic and Nights franchises looks to be a wacky and delightful platforming romp, especially if you’re a fan of the increasingly rare 3D platformer. Thankfully, we’ll have chance to see what the game is everything we dream of thanks to a free demo arriving January 28.
Balan Wonderworld tells the story of two kids, Emma and Cole, who are transported to the dreamlike Wonderworld by a mysterious maestro. The usually positive realm has been infected by the Negati, a foul entity born of negative emotions, and its up to the young heroes to rid Wonderworld of its bad influence. Doing so involves donning over 80 costumes, each of which bestows a unique ability. The lengthy demo gives players a sample of three of the game’s 12 worlds and can be played alone or in local co-op. Rather than send players through the first three worlds in order, the demo takes a more scattershot approach by offering a broader taste of Balan Wonderworld’s offerings.
World 1 takes place on a scenic farmstead born from the memories of a farmer’s despair. Players have access to Act 1 and 2 as well as a boss battle. Players can also don the Jumping Jack and Dainty Dragon costumes.
World 4 represents a boy’s love for the open sky, so the realm consists of floating islands and, for whatever reason, bicycle parts. Act 1 is available to play and features the Soaring Sheep and Aero Acrobat costumes.
Lastly, World 6 follows a young girl’s memories of meeting a kitten, with giant candy pieces and gear-driven buildings. Players have access to Act 1 as well as the Gear Prince and Pumpkin Puncher costumes.
Additionally, the demo features the Isle of Tims. This hub area is where players encounter Tims, cute critters with helpful abilities that can evolve by feeding them droplets harvested on the island.
Balan Wonderworld launches March 26 and the full game, along with the demo, will be available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. For more on the game, check out its opening cinematic and gameplay trailer.
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