Arcade 1993 Dos Dosbox Acumen Software Strategic scope

Simple but fun ballooning action

If you're a fan of the classic Balloon Fight, then this little shareware take on the formula should be right up your alley. The original is a wonderfully simple and addictive slice of old-school gaming, where players float around a series of single screens, popping balloons attached to a variety of enemies while avoiding spikes, fire and other assorted traps, and the game has the same kind of appeal as the equally brilliant Bubble Bobble. This version adds in two different game styles to bring some variety to proceedings and both are pretty entertaining, if simplistic, stuff so if you like Rainbow Islands and Parasol Stars, this should prove entertaining. The first mode adds in scrolling action to the formula, requiring the player to navigate their way through levels filled with stars to avoid and pink balloons to collect. There's something a little lacking about this mode and it's not as fun as it should be, thanks to a lack of imagination in the level design and it does get samey pretty quickly. The second mode is a two player affair, where you control a sort of air gun and must use it to blow falling balloons on to your opponent's side of the screen, where they will pop and rack you up some points. This one is similar to the likes of Pang and Bust a Move and is pretty fun stuff, with gameplay that is again straightforward but which gets pleasingly manic at times and makes for some good two-player action. Where the game falls down is in its visuals, which are disappointingly bland and lacking the character which makes the aforementioned games so great, even after all these years. Check this out by all means, just don't expect anything quite in the same league as the other titles already mentioned.

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