A close-up look at BALAN WONDERWORLDDirector Yuji Naka gives you a detailed overview of the upcoming action platformer. Meet the characters, and enemies, see how co-op works… and what’s this about raising Tims?
Hello! My name is Yuji Naka and I am the Director for BALAN WONDERWORLD!
This new game is very special to me. It’s being made by an unbelievably talented group of developers, musicians and artists, including Character Designer: Naoto Ohshima. It’s the first time we’ve collaborated since we created Sonic the Hedgehog - so that’s been hugely exciting to me.
Under the name BALAN COMPANY, we’re working hard to create the best action game possible - I genuinely think BALAN WONDERWORLD will be something special that audiences will love.
Today, I want to show you why. I’ve put together a big preview of the game that shows you some of the characters, features and gameplay we’ve built into the game.
Remember - you’ll be able to see all this for yourself when BALAN WONDERWORLD releases on March 26, 2021 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch and Steam.
What is BALAN WONDERWORLD?
First let me introduce the game in case you haven’t seen it yet. BALAN WONDERWORLD is a new action platformer based around the wondrous Balan Theatre.
You’ll help two young heroes adventure in the bizarre and imaginary land of Wonderworld - a weird place where memories and vistas from the real world mix with the things that people hold dear.
You’ll explore 12 different stages, and explore labyrinthine stages filled with tricks, traps and enemies. As you explore, you’ll find more than 80 special costumes, which imbue your character with special abilities - everything from freezing time to walking on air.
Meet the cast of BALAN WONDERWORLD
We’ve filled Wonderworld with weird and wacky characters who’ll make your journey unforgettable. Let us show you some of our main players, including the two young heroes you’ll take control of: Leo and Emma.
Leo is 15 years old, and always tries to act cool. He’s a bit of a lone wolf - several years ago he had a big argument with his best friend, and since then he’s preferred to be alone.
Emma is a 15 year old girl who’s always quick with a smile. But that happy front masks insecurity - she’s always worried that people are nice to her face, but badmouth her when she’s not listening.
Meet Balan. This enigmatic maestro is Leo and Emma’s (and your!) guide to the whacky weirdness of Wonderworld. The consummate showman, his comical antics surprise audiences and leave them wanting more!
Finally, let us introduce you to someone a bit more… sinister. Lance traps visitors to Wonderworld inside their own hearts, creating monsters out of their own negativity.
A quick tour of Wonderworld
Wonderworld is divided into multiple regions, from the bright and cheerful Isle of Tims to twisted worlds borne from the land’s tormented inhabitants.
The Isle of Tims
This beautiful and vibrant area is influenced by positive emotions from people in the real world.
This is where Leo and Emma first arrive in Wonderworld, and it acts as the hub for their adventures. From here, they’ll be able to explore the 12 Worlds Inside Hearts, distorted and dangerous areas created by negativity and worry - I’ll share more on those areas in a bit.
You may be wondering: why is it called the Isle of Tims? Well, it’s because of these little things:
This is a Tim. These mysterious creatures are created from the happiness felt by people in the real world.
When human hearts lean towards positive emotions, more and more Tims are born. But if hearts become affected by negativity, there will be fewer Tims and Happiness Time will slowly grind to a halt.
And should Happiness Time end… that would be bad. Very bad - joyful memories and emotions will disappear from people completely.
Our heroes couldn’t ask for more reliable allies than the Tims. Or cuter - they come in all colors, have different personalities, and are happy to help Leo and Emma on their adventures if they accompany them into the worlds.
As you explore the 12 Worlds Inside Hearts, you’ll collect different drops, which you can give to the Tims. These drops will help them grow, change color and take on new attributes.
Different color Tims can do different things - for example, red Tims can attack enemies for you, while pink ones will find items.
So it’s in your interest to raise lots of differently colored Tims - make a veritable rainbow of Tims!
The 12 Worlds inside Hearts
During their adventure, Leo and Emma will explore worlds born from the hearts of 12 tormented Wonderworld inhabitants.
These weird worlds are filled with tricks, traps, enemies and challenges, and our heroes will have to rely on all kinds of abilities to overcome them.
Fortunately, there are more than 80 different costumes to find, which will give Leo and Emma the tools they need to traverse and survive these risky regions.
As you explore, you’ll collect drops, and discover Balan Statues, planted by your enigmatic guide. If you find enough, Balan may congratulate you and reward you with new doors in the world to open and explore.
Enemies and bosses
The 12 Worlds Inside Hearts are populated by shadowy creatures called the Negati.
These dangerous creatures are manifestations of the worry and weakness in the heart of the inhabitant whose heart is trapped. They’ll do whatever they can to stop Leo and Emma from completing their journey.
Inside each world, you’ll find the inhabitant themselves, possessed by the Negati.
They’ll put up a tough fight, and you’ll have to make smart use of costumes and abilities to defeat them, but if you do you’ll be able to free the inhabitants heart.
When you do so, it’s time for a celebration! Get down with a musical number - we can’t wait for you to see these!
Local co-op mode
What could be better than exploring a magical place like Wonderworld? How about doing it with a friend.
We wanted to make sure that BALAN WONDERWORLD supports local 2-player co-op. One player takes the role of Leo, while the other plays as Emma. By working together and combining abilities, you’ll be able to pull off some very interesting maneuvers - and maybe even open new paths.
To illustrate, I want to show you an example.
Co-op in action
First, let’s talk about our heroes’ costumes. In the following example, Leo is wearing the Pumpkin Puncher costume. It lets him shoot a Rocket Punch, and if he fires repeated shots, the range increases.
Emma is sporting the Air Cat costume. Its Floating Feline ability allows her to walk in mid-air for a short time.
As you can see in the above screenshot, our heroes’ path is blocked by an obstacle. Leo’s Rocket Punch would break it, but it’s out of range.
Unfortunately for Emma, her Air Cat costume isn’t enough to get over it either. So what will the two do?
It’s times like this it’s good to have friends. By working together, the two teenagers have everything they need to overcome this problem. But how?
By using her Floating Feline ability, Emma is able to carry her partner close enough for his Rocket Punch to be in range.
Using Rocket Punch, Leo smashes through the blockage, clearing the path! Trust me when I say, this is very satisfying.
Leo and Emma are now free and clear to continue on down the newly opened path. But what further challenges await ahead…?
Phew! That was quite a lot of information, right? And yet that’s only the smallest taste of what you can expect from BALAN WONDERWORLD, when it releases in March 26, 2021.
The game is available to pre-order now for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Switch and Steam.
We’ll have much more to show you in the future, and I’m excited for you to see it. For now though, please follow us on social media: