Day 475: Balloon Guard

Posted: 2012/02/28 in Indie Games

An anonymous commenter suggested this review, and it got me intrigued. “Balloon Guard” introduces something I’m not sure I’ve seen in a platformer before: an object that you can’t pick up, but nonetheless must shepherd all the way to the end of each level. The game’s description suggests that the game requires a fondness for balloons, but I question that given you’re going to pop your share of them throughout.

My all-time favourite platformer is Bonk’s Revenge for the TurboGrafx-16, and there were certain elements of the level design of this game that reminded me of Bonk’s second outing, and that’s a good thing. But having to bounce a balloon all the way to the end really puts a new spin on things. The balloon physics do take into account the angle you’re hitting it at in determining which direction it bounces at on. The game is more of a pure platforming challenge (little in the way of enemies or environmental hazards compared to some, this is definitely not “Aban Hawkins & the 1000 SPIKES” or any of the other super-hard, unlimited lives, tear-your-hair-out platfomers that seem to dominate the indie scene at the moment, and the game’s the better for it IMO. 240 Microsoft Points to get something quite different than what I’ve seen before.

Here’s what the developer (Matthew Kiep) has to say about the game:

“As a member of the Royal Balloon Guard, you must guide your character and the Balloon Princess through four chapters full of various of challanges. This game requires strategy, platforming skills, and a fondness of balloons.”

  1. David Loves Sandy says:

    I d/l the trial to this game about a week before you did this review and after a few minutes I passed on it and deleted that trial game. I was hoping for a game more like Circus Atari that I used to love playing on the Atari 2600. I guess it’s my love for ‘breakout’ type games that keeps me looking for them. After reading this review you have talked me into trying it once more and this time with an open mind as you have helped me find some great indie games that I would not have known about otherwise.

    On a side note I did just do a Google search for Circus Atari clone and found a game called Circus Linux! that is an updated version of it that you can d/l and play on your computer for free. The link to the page is if anyone else has my same affliction with this game.

    • Found those missing comments, they had both been auto-spammed (likely because of the link, as you say). I’ll try to adjust down the sensitivity of the auto-spammer, or see if I can add you to a trusted list or something. :)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hello all,

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to play and review the game for me! I hope you enjoyed it and I’m glad it brought back fond memories for you. I knew it was a game unlike the rest and I’m glad you thought so as well. I wanted to put a couple free download codes on here so a couple of people could try it out and spread the good word. Thanks again and here are a couple of codes:



  3. David Loves Sandy says:

    It sure does pay to be a faithful reader of Writings of Mass Deduction :)

  4. David Loves Sandy says:

    I try to leave a comment on this blog yesterday but it never when through. I thought maybe it was waiting for approval again so I thought nothing of it but now today I don’t see it. Steve you see it anywhere or did it get lost in world wide web? ;)

  5. I think it got lost in the web, David. All comments are auto-approved now, none are held for moderation.

    And thank you for the free codes for our readers! May I suggest the two people who get the game for free thank the developer by posting reader comments here about the game. :)

    • David Loves Sandy says:

      I will once I give it a good play and give it an honest review.

    • David Loves Sandy says:

      It just did it again….maybe it was because I am trying to include a web address. I’m going to say what I said one more time this time without the addy.

      I had d/l this trial about a week before you posted this review and didn’t give it much of a try because I was expecting something else. I was hoping for an Atari Circus type game because of my affliction for breakout type games and I loved playing that game on my Atari 2600 back in the day.

      So I did a Google search for an Atari Circus clone and came across a game for the PC called Circus Linux that is very similar and is available for free but you have to do your own Google search for it because I don’t think it will let me post it here.

  6. David Loves Sandy says:

    Previously posted (lost in the web) I had stated that I had d/l this trial game about a week before you had done your review and hadn’t given it much try because of my own expectations. I was hoping for an Atari Circus clone. Kinda my own addiction to breakout type games.

    So I did a Google search for Atari Circus clone and came across something called Circus Linux for the PC at the web address and thought I would share for anyone else interested in this sort of thing.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Just checking back in, was wondering if anyone had a chance to download the game with those codes I posted a few days ago.

    Thanks to all that have downloaded up to this point and here are a couple more codes in case anyone else wants to give it a try. Please post any feedback on here is you don’t mind.



    And thanks again Steve for getting the word out there with this review.

    • David Loves Sandy says:

      I got the second code from the first 2 you posted and I haven’t had much chance to play but the first time I played it I got to the level 1-3 and for some reason I had trouble getting out of that level. I only gave it one play through but so far I like the concept of the game a lot. I have played lots of games and never had I played one with this concept. The controls are tight and the graphics are…well…funny if you ask me. Heck the story line is pretty funny too. I will update after I get a chance to really attack the game more.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sounds good , and thanks for taking the time with it. The end stages get a little tough haha.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Another satisfied customer…

    • A suggestion: post with an email address and a pen name (so it doesn’t say “Anonymous”) and add the URL for your website so you can get clickthroughs from people reading your comment. Which I think you did in your early comments?

      But while some sites get weird about self-promotion, I’m happy with it as long as its tasteful. Indie games deserve as much (tasteful) promotion as they can get. :)

      • Anonymous says:

        Oops. Sorry. I posted both links (the original Balloon Guard vid and the Rage Quit). I know Matt, but I have nothing to do with Rage Quit. If you think the Rage Quit is inappropriate, then please take it down. I just thought anyone who tried the game may think it funny.

  10. Anonymous says:

    There is a new an update available for Balloon Guard to try and make the opening levels more interesting while lowering the difficulty ramp just a bit. The original game levels are still included in an “extras” menu.

    If you get a chance to check it out, I’d love to know what you think.

    • Thanks for the heads-up on the update, looking forward to hearing how people react to the changes. It’s always great to see a developer providing after-sale support and updates for their game.

    • David Loves Sandy says:

      Great thanks for the info I will be getting to it shortly and I’ll let you know if the change was welcomed.

    • David Loves Sandy says:

      Update will not d/l to my xbox for some reason. I have tried it several times and have had to try to re d/l the game with no success.

      • Anonymous says:

        David, I was able to delete my copy and download it again OK. I’m not sure what else to try. Hopefully it’s a server issue and will be corrected in time. Thanks for giving it a try in any case!

  11. Anonymous says:

    That’s not good news. I’ll try deleting the game tonight and then download it again to make sure it works here. Hopefully it is something temporary.

    • David Loves Sandy says:

      I was able to d/l it today….maybe just a glitch the other….Will update with my opinion on the new levels.

  12. Mike says:

    Balloon Guard was just released from 3 month price jail.

    Matt lowered the price to 80 msp.

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