If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Learn more.

Let Down: Balloon In A Wasteland

Or, "I really, really, really, wish I could fly." This Kongregate game by the chap behind the sardonic Upgrade Complete has eschewed meta-commentary in favour of this charming survival horror/tower defence hybrid vignette. It brings the mind the kind of script treatment I imagine regularly lands on movie executives' desks. "A lone hot air balloonist crash lands in a mysterious desert. As night falls, sinister beasts come for him. Can he fix his balloon before the creatures devour him? Or will exhausation and hunger take him before he can find his way back to a place... called home? BALLOON IN A WASTELAND, coming to theatres Fall 2012."

It's a formula you're probably quite familiar - a Flash-bashed 2D shooter, in which you're rewarded with unlocks for hacking away at it for long enough. The difference is the pacing and purpose of it. An unlock isn't just a better thing, but a definite choice between a better weapon, a defensive turret or health recharge stations. Similarly, in the downtime between each wave of tarry, murderous horrors, you're torn between continuing fixing the balloon (for that's how to win the game), running off to restore your health so you can definitely survive the next round, building one of the structures you've just bought, laying traps, or having a powernap to restore your stamina, which imposes major damage penalties as it runs down. It is a game in which you have to shoot all the monsters, but it is also a game about choice.

It's also a game you're very unlikely to fail at, but that doesn't make it any less pleasing. Though my one really serious gripe is why he bothers fixing the balloon and building and buying things, when the shopkeepers turn up in vans? Just cadge a lift, you suicidal, balloon-obsessed fool.

Where? Here!

Oh, and when it says 'push' it means press your down button. Took me a little while to suss that.

Thanks to Jack aka TheBlackBandit for the tip.

Tagged With

About the Author

Alec Meer avatar

Alec Meer


Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

Join the Rock Paper Shotgun supporter program

Sign up today and get access to more articles like these, an ad-free reading experience, free gifts, and help us create more great writing about PC games.

See more information


We love having a friendly, positive and constructive community - you lot are great - and we want to keep it like that. Our main commenting rule is "be excellent to each other". Please see our code of conduct, where you can find out what "be excellent" means. TL;DR? Respect others, think before you post, and be prepared for puns.

More News

Latest Articles

We've been talking, and we think that you should wear clothes

Total coincidence, but we sell some clothes

Rock Paper Shotgun Merch