Random Review Double Bill: Ballz & Yume Penguin Monogatari

IT’S CHRISTMAS!!! And 2016 was complete garbage in every way possible, I was going to list all the problems with this year but…most of you already have opinions on it. I’m quite scared of 2017, prepare for the apocalypse! Joking aside, at least we have Christmas and no one can take that away from us…unless that one person who worships a Carrot can ruin Christmas in one way or another, I wouldn’t be surprised. Anyway, how about two small reviews in one because I want to do something with them.

As I said in Rise of the Robots, the best graphics don’t always make a good game, whilst that game was just horrible, this one…in all honesty isn’t that horrible but it just doesn’t work and I’ll explain why. Ballz, developed by PF Magic and published by Accolade and was released in 1994.

So we have another fighting game where you play as different characters made out of balls and you fight opponents. You can punch, kick and jump, as well as different button combinations. You defeat many fighters, then some bosses, and finally the final boss The Jester. The gameplay is…passable, it can be flimsy and it’s difficult to move the way you want the fighter to, it’s…OK, but it’s not the best gameplay, especially when you’re making a fighting game, you have to connect when battling opponents and this game doesn’t really do it properly.

The graphics are the meat of the game, the ball physics of the characters are reminiscent of Vectorman but more jerky but still refined for the time. It uses pseudo-3D for their graphics and it looks pretty good. The backgrounds are 2D but when used in-game and the fact that you can walk around on the floor, is used to decent effect. But there were some sprite flickering, resurrected from the NES days, probably because of the large number of sprites being used. The music sucks, it’s also forgettable and trying to be too wacky for its own good.

Overall, Ballz is much better than Rise of the Robots, in fact, it’s a much more functional fighter than that piece of trash, but it’s not the best fighter out there. I do like the cartoony graphics though the characters do look a bit bland. But when you think about it? What was its purpose? I can understand Rise of the Robots because it was trying to make the best graphical fighter out there…in terms of graphics and failing, but then we have a game that is average at best but it’s a rather pointless fighter…ooh, but it did try to have attitude and that fails on that. You know what? Leave it to Capcom, SNK and Netherealm to make good fighting games.

You can get it on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, SNES and the 3DO.

Rating: 2.5/5

Konami is Konami and Konami is the worst nowadays but let’s go back to the good old days when they actually cared. And the game today is all about obesity…and considering the West is trying to stop weight-ism…yes, this is a thing, you know this couldn’t be released in America, and the reason why The Fat Controller in Thomas the Tank Engine had his name changed to Sir Topham Hatt….true story. Yume Penguin Monogatari (夢ペンギン物語, “Story of the Dream Penguin”), developed and produced by Konami and was released in 1991 in Japan only.

So Penguin Penta is fat and Penko is considering dumping him so Penko orders him to lose weight to win back her heart. But her new boyfriend Master Ginji is trying to stop him…by feeding him.

So you play as Penta, you go around…well, the game is unique in that instead having a life bar, you have a health bar where the lower the bar, the healthier you are; but the higher the bar, the more fat you are and you have a heart which is your set goal, if you end the level with Penta being fit enough, you can go to the next level, if not, Penko will dump you like the jerk she is. To lose weight in the game, you got to collect diet drinks that instantly drops your weight (I wish those existed), but be careful of enemies as they’ll feed you fruit and Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) to make you gain weight…and I thought those were healthy, maybe it’s something to eat in moderation?

Penta controls differently based on his weight, if he’s morbidly obese, he moves slower and belly flops everything, a slightly slimmer Penta and he moves quicker and can kick enemies, but a very slim Penta will move a lot faster and can shoot enemies with PE coming out of his mouth. Most levels can either be platform levels or a shooter or a mixture and both types are fun, in fact, the gameplay is nice to play though, but be careful of moving platforms because getting hit will make you fall on the floor and you’ll fall all the way down to where you started if you’re unlucky, but it’s not too bad.

The level design is colourful, highly bubbly and cartoony and the music is memorable and fun. The theme of how the game portrays obesity in the game and considering this is from back in the 90’s and the fact that people nowadays want equality in the world AND depending on where you come from AND the fact that it portrays obesity as something harshly negative, the theme is questionable for some but it’s up to interpretation.

So let’s start from the beginning, being fat, depending on how your body works or any illness isn’t good, is a bad thing. With that said, I’m not here to force you to lose weight, unlike a certain YouTuber way back when, but it’s OK to be of a certain body weight, but if you want to be big, then go for it, I’m not here to judge. But if you have a good reason for it, like a medical condition you can’t control, then don’t worry, this message isn’t for you.

In the game, you’re being dumped for being fat; making Penko an awful and unlikable video game character, who teaches girls that what makes a man isn’t his personality or how much of a good person he is, but AAAAAAAAAAABS. Oh, and SPOILER ALERT, when you do save her, she binge eats and gets fat too, probably based on the fact that that if a woman is fat, you’re the sexist pig if you dump her, BECAUSE THAT’S HOW THE WORLD WORKS APPARENTLY!!! You know, this game makes me totally understand why Japan has a low birth rate, it’s not worth it.

Overall, it’s another fun 8-bit game though its themes are again questionable, had this game been made today, the special snowflakes would be fuming, but at least it gives them a reason to hate Konami…so at least one thing both types of people can agree on. But the game is still fun and presents a good challenge, it’s a colourful and cute design is appealing to those who like that, even if it’s theme is anything but.

You can get it for the Famicom.



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