- Developed by: Nintendo and HAMSTER
- Published by: Nintendo
My interest in Arcade Archives: Mario Bros. is equal parts nostalgia and historical relevance. I’m sure I’ll have fun with it for a time, but finding someone else to play it with that’s willing to put up with its stiff controls and damnably hard difficulty curve will be few and far between. I’ll be able to trick my kids into a match or two, but getting killed by an enemy your partner inadvertently knocks back upright as you’re standing next to it is only funny a couple of times.
Whereas Mario Bros. will be a part of my library as a historical footnote, Vs. Balloon Fight will be that and the game my family will actually play.
I have an upcoming Backlogged NES post coming up on the original Balloon Fight so I’ll keep most of my thoughts on it contained there, but the gist of it is that it’s a blatant but ultimately better version of Midway’s Joust. What Vs. does is not as substantial at first blush, not unlike Vs. Super Mario Bros., but in the end makes for a different experience.
The conceit is the same: take your floaty protagonist and pop the balloons of flightless birds before they pop yours. The difference here is that they aren’t single screen affairs: levels are much more vertical this time. It’s a slight difference, to be sure, but one that makes for a thinly veiled excuse to dive back into it. I can’t gush enough at how also having the ability to play games with another person instantaneously on the Switch is such a boon.
If Nintendo’s willing to make this deep a cut in their gameography, I can’t wait to see what they have coming down the pipe.