If a game had to be reviewed with a single word that rhymed with its title, Ballooned! could easily and accurately be reviewed as "jejune".
PixelCUBE Studios's side-scrolling shooter is an enjoyable passing diversion, but it never really delivers a challenge in terms of gameplay or difficulty past figuring out how best to grind for the coins required to purchase new weapons and costumes.
This is not to suggest that Ballooned! is a bad game by any stretch of the imagination. The controls are responsive, the game has a good amount of polish about it, and it's a perfectly acceptable way to waste a few minutes - but an engrossing game it is not.
Pop and lock
You take control of Toby, a portly 10-year-old locked in a toy store with a jet pack, a dart gun, and an insatiable desire to pop balloons.
Luckily for you, said toy store is full of balloons. It's up to you to steer the hovering Toby along so that he can pop them and collect the coins that they drop.
The horizontal progression of the game is fixed and you can adjust Toby’s vertical and (relative) horizontal position on the screen as it scrolls past. At best, this makes Ballooned! something of a primitive on-rails shooter without the rails. It does require two hands to play, which may turn off the truly casual in the casual gaming crowd.
Toby's flight time is limited by the amount of battery charge in his jetpack. When the charge runs out, Toby's jetpack will begin to smoke and flash (as all things do when their batteries run low) and your run through the level comes to an end.
A raving mad balloonatic
Fortunately, most levels are generous with the number of batteries available to recharge your jetpack, and should you run out of charge on a particularly lucrative run you can pay a fixed number of coins to continue where you left off.
The closest Ballooned! comes to strategy is introducing different balloons of different colours (and toughness) as well as a few upgradable weapons to stand in for your trusty dart gun.
Some weapons attack more slowly but are quite powerful, while others provide a scattershot effect, making them suitable for dispatching a large number of weak, green balloons.
Lost in the breeze
PixelCUBE describes Balloned! as, "A fun epic adventure that you'll never forget!". The only word in that sentence that we fully agree with is "fun". It's not epic, nor an adventure particularly, and you'll forget it fairly quickly after you put it down.
If you're looking for a cheerful game to play for a few minutes as you shut your brain off, Ballooned! will deliver, but there are far better equivalents on the App Store.