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Balloon Quest

The same team of students from the University of Applied Sciences in Salzburg, that created the impressive and free indie game Of Light and Shadow is developing Balloon Quest, possibly one of the most charming games ever, capable of making even the coldest person to feel sympathetic for the duo of main characters.

This is the story of a little boy and his sister, a sweet girl that sadly is unable to walk. However, she dreams of going outside and finding the great magician in a mountaintop that can grant them all their wishes. The only way for them to go is for the boy to attach her to a balloon and carry her in his back.

Everything in Balloon Quest seems to be made to create an emotional response from the player. The harsh reality is transformed by the little girl’s imagination, turning a harmless carpet into a pool filled with sharks and even the door to the street becomes a monster that must be vanquished. It reminds us of our time as children and all the pretending that we did. The way that this theme fits to the gameplay is incredible, turning what could be a gimmick into a fully-realized game.

The original concept had a pair of characters, with one of them moving horizontally (the boy) and other vertically (the girl). By letting the girl go, she floats to high places and picks up bonuses, weapons and other things. We can pop the balloon any time to bring her back (luckily she seems to have an endless amount of ballons) but we have to catch her before she falls on the ground, something she will only be able to do a few times. We also can’t move away from her, since she’ll become too scared.

The result is a beautiful 2.5D platformer with fantastic graphics, smooth animation, striking imagination and technically accomplished in all aspects, including the voice work and beautiful music. The downside is that it’s not yet complete, with only two playable levels, but it deserves to be seen by everyone.

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