Balan Wonderworld released to no critic reviews, due to Square Enix’s reluctance to provide early review codes, much like Sega’s failed Sonic Boom.
It was to little surprise that Balan Wonderworld met such harsh criticism at launch, following a rather abysmal demo, but the game itself wasn’t the most disappointing aspect of its release. In a move similar to the launch of Sega’s failed Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, Balan Wonderworld publisher Square Enix prevented gamers from seeing how the title turned out ahead of time, not allowing critics access to early review copies. While it’s not against any rules to withhold early review copies, fans have come to expect early reviews for AAA games of seeming importance.
Coming from the esteemed Yuji Naka, Balan Wonderworld is the creator of Sonic, Nights, and Billy Hatcher’s return to AAA gaming. Its reveal early last year was met with excitement from nostalgic fans anticipating a triumphant return from the developer. As wonderful and mystifying as the trailers made Balan Wonderworld seem, the game itself only provides confusion, and the lack of reviews on Balan Wonderworld’s release date added to that feeling.
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In 2014, Sonic Boom’s release was met with a similar confusion. Although Sonic Boom wasn’t prefaced with a Wonderworld-like demo showcasing all of its flaws, fans were weary of the upcoming game due to Sonic’s lackluster track record with 3D platformers. It seems Sega was aware of Sonic Boom’s less-than-acceptable quality, as it chose to withhold review copies, preventing critics from potentially informing the decisions of day-one buyers.
Balan Wonderworld Is Following In Sonic Boom’s Bad Footsteps
Many trusted gaming outlets concluded Balan Wonderworld is a sub-par 3D platformer, and the game received few favorable critic reviews. Yet, Balan Wonderworld may have been able to avoid such harsh criticism if it hadn’t waited until the day of release to offer codes. When developers or publishers know their products aren’t high-quality, they often seemingly attempt to secure day-one sales before allowing critics to unveil their games’ horrible secrets – something that seemed to be Square Enix’s approach with Balan Wonderworld, too.
Much like Sonic Boom, Balan Wonderworld missed the mark in more ways than one. It didn’t take long for unassuming buyers to take to social media to share their own opinions on the game. Perhaps these consumers could have avoided spending their money, had there been early reviews available. Hopefully, the number of displeased Balan Wonderworld players has deterred others from facing the same fate.
Next: Balan Wonderworld Review: A Far Cry From A Wonderland
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