It's fair to say Square Enix's Balan Wonderworld didn't get off to the best of starts with the reception to its demo earlier this year, and its full release pretty much went ignored this past week, with reviews nowhere to be found on release day.
We have got one critical review on Metacritic at the time of writing - a 4/10 from Video Games Chronicle - but the user score on Metacritic for Xbox Series X is currently sitting at a whopping 89 from 100+ reviews. So, what's going on?
As you can see above, the user reviews are littered with 10/10s. Some of them could very well be legitimate, but there are a lot of accounts that are posting reviews in unnatural and very broken English, and clicking on those accounts typically reveals that they're brand-new to the site and have only reviewed one game - Balan Wonderworld.
It's nothing new to see user review scores artificially boosted (or decreased) on Metacritic, but it's a shame when it happens. We'll have our review of Balan Wonderworld in the near future, and we're crossing our fingers that it's good.
Have you started playing Balan Wonderworld yet? What do you make of it? Tell us down below.
The opposite to review bombing 😂
Can't think of a name for it....
@UltimateOtaku91 Fraud... lol
@RustyBullet review bombing is fraud too though. Just not as frowned upon as when a company does it themselves.
I played the demo of this and it was terrible. Not sure which Sega team made this one, but it was very clunky for a Sega platformer...
Was probably never going to get this game,but what the hell happened, it looked promising and has turned out to be trash
This is the worst game of all time..
Played the demo
It looks like a Dreamcast game that was hastily ported to PS2 last minute. That's also not a compliment to the developers adhering to the very obvious influences from the Nights games
Somehow I find it hard to believe Square-Enix has a propaganda department that sits there feeding bad Google Translate reviews into Metacritic. I know they need to damage control this game, but I'm having a hard time this is happening at the publisher level. That leaves trolls or Arzest/Balan doing it.
Meanwhile on NL: "Balan Wonderworld - A Charmless, Confusing Fossil From The Creators Of Sonic" LOL - best review title I've ever read anywhere.
@Trmn8r depressingly this is a new team by Yuji Naka, the original creator of Sonic and Nights. Pretty sure it's the last game he'll ever make. Which is really sad. I wanted him to succeed. I don't know at all what happened here. He's certainly made much much much better games in the past.
Edit: At least he helped convince the movie people to fix the Sonic model back when he had credibility...
Ride to Hell redemption would like a word
I am curious how low of a budget this game got. Or is it really they yujis vision has not really caught up to the times
Add another swing and a miss for Square Enix. I still believe the failure of Avengers drove them to launch Outriders in gamepass day n date. They seem to be completely disconnected form...well reality. I'll play what they have in gamepass when i get the urge but they need to step up their QC and make games for gamers vs games for profits. I doubt that this game will make the cut for being allowed in gamepass unless they make a deal for other titles to come in.... like FFVII Remake in gamepass. Even then it feels wrong actually...
A lot of the reviews being from brand new accounts is indeed suss, but "unnatural and very broken English"? Mate, that's just the Internet. I've needed the f**king Enigma machine to decipher some of the user reviews I've read over the years.
This in my opinion User reviews both good or bad will always be a joke
@Carck "Very clunky for a former Sega team platformer" then
I just checked some of the positive reviewers have more than one review to their name-
another console's version of Balan Wonderland.
Metacritic is such a joke.
@NEStalgia Absolutely, as we've said here before all very sad that this is likely the swansong from the once great Yuji Naka
@Trmn8r Let me tell you about every 3D Sonic game ever made...
My money's on Nights fans.
@VenomousAlbino Don't rip on my Sonic Adventure 1 and 2. Anything after that is fair play (Sonic Heroes was decent).
Q) Have you started playing Balan Wonderworld yet?
A) Yep, been playing it since I got it on Friday and have played it throughout this weekend. I've almost completed the story and started receiving a ton of diamond achievements after getting to Act 6. If the 0.0% is to be believed, I appear one of the first people on the Xbox platforms to get over 50 costumes.
Q) What do you make of it?
A) I have really enjoyed my time with it. It's a relaxing game with comfortable controls, wonderful designs and environments I actually enjoy exploring (as a linear game fan; this is rare). It's a simple game but I found that to be quite a charming aspect and the enemy encounters have steadily improved.
That said, I certainly wouldn't give it a 10/10 like those reviews highlighted have given it. The sheer amount of Balan Bouts they throw at you in the latter half of the game already brings it down a score. I'd currently say a 7/10 or 8/10 but who knows what may happen in the last two acts + final boss battle.
@gingataisen What Nights fan could stand this game, though? Nights was amazing. This made my head hurt in mere minutes.
@Terrin This vision has nothing to do with the times. It was bad for Saturn & Dreamcast times, too....
I'm not at all surprised at how many people "reviewed" this either without playing it or off of the demo. It's not game of the year material by any means but I'd give it a solid 7.5/10 easily. It's extremely simple without being easy, rewards you for replaying levels (if you're into 100%ing anyway), and is rather charming all the way around. The big freakout over the 'strobbing lights' thing was a concern if you suffer from epilepcy but I'd think that's pretty obvious when it comes to many games out there now. Watching a YouTuber over-exaggerate how it almost killed him made me unsubscribe vs. hold it against the game. Now is it worth $60? Nope, but it's definitely a great $39.99 game in a winter/spring that doesn't have a whole lot to offer those of us with families who are bored of looter shooters.
@swedetrap I think a lot of us are judging it by the demo because...well...after playing that, who would pay money for the game? Has the content from the demo tremendously improved in the final retail version?
@NEStalgia The demo content was easily the worst content in the whole game for the most part. Square should consider rethinking their demo department as they made some very odd choices as to what to show and what not to. That said, I'd still put it above most of the recent, similar titles. I enjoy it quite a bit more than say Spyro or Yooka.
@swedetrap usually demos work to Square Enix’s advantage Trails of Mana, Oninaki, DQ11s, etc. Those are JRPGs with radically different combat from eachother. This is a platformer that wants you to double back.. maybe not a demo is a good idea in this case. I dunno.
I also have this and although it is far from perfect it feels like a.slowed down sonic adventure game, like Billy hatcher. It's a great game I would give it atleast a 7/10. 8 if the quick time events were less anoying
@Trmn8r Sonic Generations was quite fun, as well.
This kind of thing is very common on Metacritic, all the scores are 1's and 10's, fans "review bombing" or fans/publishers sending in the bots to push 10/10's.
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