i’d played and quite enjoyed the classic balloon fight a while back, and at that time i’d already set my sights on playing through the only sequel the game ever got, which was balloon kid for the original game boy.
i have a big soft spot for early game boy games, which, being black and white and on a tiny screen, feel even more primitive than the original NES games. although not a classic for the ages, balloon kid is a nice alternative to the usual generic platformer. it doesn’t deviate much from the ballon trip mode of the original and your main goal is still to avoid hazards by using the game’s unique flying mechanics, although occasionally as the protagonist, alice, you’ll have to drop your balloons in order to do a bit of basic platforming or simplistic boss fighting.
i agree with this review at nintendojo that it’ll probably take you at least a few playthroughs before you get to the end of the game (which features a somewhat twisted epilogue), perhaps a bit more if you never played balloon fight. but finishing each stage perfectly by nabbing every single balloon would be much, much trickier. the last stage was a lot of fun due to the increased difficulty, and it made me think that a follow-up game, while not likely, would be more than welcome. the graphics are basic but have character, although the controls felt fractionally looser to me than the original, especially when comparing to the balloon trip mode that was included to complement the main modes of both games, but not enough to detract at all. all in all this is a thoroughly amiable game and due to its mechanics is more unique than the average generic platformer, and an enjoyable way to while away a few hours, especially for fans of the original balloon fight.
– balloon kid didn’t get a lot of attention when it came out, but it was mentioned in nintendo power v. 16 (i’ve archived a scan here). it also received a blurb in the game boy nintendo player’s guide (scan archived here).
– official japanese site of the GBC remake including screenshots and unique official artwork. apparently along with color the game included a save function, map screen, and stage select screen.
– comparison of balloon kid and its reskin hello kitty world at youtube
– entry at wikipedia
– in IGN’s “smash it up!” character-prediction feature that lucas m. thompson wrote for IGN in the weeks leading up to the release of brawl, he claimed that balloon fighter was included in beta versions of smash bros. melee, but i find it hard to believe such information would have been leaked and he doesn’t cite a source. he mentioned both balloon fighter and alice as suggestions for the series. it would be pretty friggin’ awesome if either of them actually made it into future installments of the series, although coming up with a moveset that worked would be quite a challenge.