What A Ballast: The Aurora Wager

To the air above
Hot-air balloons are just like zombies. Slow-moving, bloated, gassy, and every summer the people of Bath gather and watch them take off. The many ways they’re not like zombies are evident in The Aurora Wager, a free indie game built for the 7DRL competition. It’s not very roguelike, because a lot of those elements fell out of the basket as the game was hastily put together, but it is fun.

It’s a very Jim game. It revels in the being rather than the doing, though there is some doing. You’re in a race to get to the North Pole. You need to set-up your balloon, hooking up the gas tank, compass, and burner, and head up into the wind trails and hope they take you to where you need to be. It’s a tough thing game to conquer because you can’t control the winds, and you can easily run out of fuel on the way, though you can land on islands to pick up supplies. I confess I never made it to the North Pole, instead sacrificing my character to see just how committed the game was to letting me fall out of the basket. The answer is “verrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyy”.

It’s from the developer of Tim Stone’s favourite wingsuit game, so I think we can all agree that a world where both games exist, where wingsuited darts pass by our cumbersome balloons, is where the game should be heading.

Thanks for the email, Martijn.


  1. Archipelagos says:

    I read that title way too quickly and thought it was “The Aurora Wanger.” I need more sleep. That video was lovely thought, gotta say.

    • Ericston says:

      Playing it is lovely as well.

      • hanyhany114 says:

        Liam. although Carl`s st0rry is amazing… last friday I got a brand new Fiat Panda since getting a check for $7594 this month and more than ten grand last-munth. this is certainly the most comfortable job Ive ever done. I actually started nine months/ago and almost straight away started to bring in over $87, p/h. I follow this great link,, ,…, link to Fly38.COm

      • Sgt.Weber says:

        how do you download it

  2. db1331 says:

    Sounds like a load of hot air to me.

  3. Dana says:

    Wow, that’s a very neat concept that could be made into fully fledged survival/exploring game.

  4. Universal Quitter says:

    But without blunderbusses (blunderbussi?), how can we recreate the world’s greatest duel?

    • jrodman says:

      Oh how uncouth. Good sir, it is of course blunderbi.

      • fishyboy says:

        Pshaw! Typical drivel from a base street urchin putting on intellectual airs. The correct pluralization is blunderbodes.

  5. JohnS says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you S. A. Andrée’s Arctic Balloon Expedition of 1897:

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Tinus says:

      That’s one of the expeditions that is on our list to steal ideas from! Initially we were unaware of that particular expedition and just toyed with notes from R.F. Scott and similar sources.

      I remember Tim Stone wondering where all the Scott and Shackleton simulations are in one of his Flare Path articles. I really want to make something along those lines.

  6. FloorBelow says:

    On my first go I accidentally dropped my compass off the side when trying to affix it to a rail, and then fell off while trying to get a better view. I hadn’t gotten out of the first island yet.
    I am not a good balloonist.

  7. The-Fletch says:

    I’ve had a lot of fun with this since it was brought to my attention. Landing on islands feels a lot like luck at times but I guess that’s what ballooning is all about.

  8. JaminBob says:

    Many many more balloons take off from the larger, more interesting, and in every other way far superior neighbouring city of Bristol than from Bath. They merely land just east of Bath.

    Bloody Bath.

  9. tomeoftom says:

    YESSSSSS. Volo is the most fun I’ve had in ages, can’t wait to play this. EDIT: Okay, it’s gorgeous. So, so lovely. This is why sims always win.

  10. Geen says:

    I made it to an island, found a grapple, fired it at the ground after attaching it to my balloon, and couldn’t figure out how to unhook it from the ground. Quite fun, if confusing.

  11. Canisa says:

    There’s just one suggestion I’d like to make: Have the player’s flag start the game *outside* the balloon. That way at least one person will be the first to get to the North Pole only to realise they left their flag behind.

  12. KirbyEvan says:

    I actually made it to the north pole, braving an hour of constant altitude management while playing Bowie songs and trying to feel poignant (Space Oddity works great)

    But then my balloon was suspended by angry zigzaggy wind spirits!

    Seeing the black, mountainous silhouette of my destiny made manifest, I grabbed my flag, palms sweating, and jumped out of my balloon with the artifact in hand, yet I was not falling, I was literally being suspended in place just below my balloon in a glitch storm of doom before I quit after 10 minutes of disappointment. Although, it WAS hilarious cursing Zeus.

    I’m not going to try again, but jolly-ho to the experience before that, It’s a fantastic exploration roguelike, a genre I’m disappointed is very small