A kid named Dustin goes into a coma after being hit by an ice cream truck. His injuries are serious and there is virtually no hope of him waking up.
His dog sleeps by his side, dreaming of strange and mysterious lands filled with canine wonders. It is Balthazar - Dustin's best friend andA kid named Dustin goes into a coma after being hit by an ice cream truck. His injuries are serious and there is virtually no hope of him waking up.
His dog sleeps by his side, dreaming of strange and mysterious lands filled with canine wonders. It is Balthazar - Dustin's best friend and there is no way in the world he will move even an inch away from his owner.… Expand
Positive: 0 out of
Mixed: 0 out of
Negative: 0 out of
Positive: 0 out of 1
Mixed: 0 out of 1
Negative: 1 out of 1
Feb 21, 2020Balthazar’s Dream
My experience with Balthazar’s Dream has been a nightmare. What seemed to be a cute action platformer about a dogBalthazar’s Dream
My experience with Balthazar’s Dream has been a nightmare. What seemed to be a cute action platformer about a dog rescuing his best friend quickly became a flea infestation of bad controls, mechanics, and level design.
Individual scores below are based off a top score of 20 for each category.
Gameplay (8) – Balthazar’s Dream claims to be a challenging puzzle platformer. The game is difficult for sure, but not because of difficult puzzles or tough platforming. This title relies heavily on its fear mechanic where if Balthazar is close to an enemy for too long, directional controls will be reversed and at peak fear any jump action is amplified to get across large gaps. I like the idea of this mechanic, but it was poorly implemented as you can’t control when a super jump becomes available with fear buildup being inconsistent. This led to the platforming being challenging only because there is no way to get good timing for jumps, and Balthazar would repeatedly swan dive off ledges. In many cases, I ended up using poor level design where I jumped on walls or other objects in the level as platforms that clearly were not designed to be such. Gameplay was also made more challenging by a plethora of bugs like getting one hit killed by a single flea when it takes three of them at once to kill Balthazar. The most disappointing thing is that this game provides great variety in enemies to avoid and environmental hazards, but almost all of these had at least one bug associated with it. The puzzles are also more of a game of chance as seen in the first level having to score a basket with Balthazar launching a ball at random and hoping it bounces just right to land in the basket. A quick search on twitter shows that this part of the first level is where many give up on the game.
Audio (12) – Outside of some issues with audio clipping caused by the fear mechanic, the soundtrack is the best aspect of Balthazar’s Dream. Each chapter has a different track that suits the levels well. My favorite is in Chapter 6 where a heart-pounding rhythm plays as you race against a descending ceiling. Unfortunately, I will never find out if the final levels get even better musically. There is no voice over in this title with the story being told through balloon chat and animal sounds.
Performance (5) – This game could have easily been called Murphy’s Law as everything that could go wrong in my playthrough did. During my two hours of gameplay I had multiple crashes, framerate drops, audio clipping, and eventually a game-breaking bug. Even after resetting the game multiple times I am stuck in an eternal loop of spawning and dying right away so I will never get past level six. I also recommend never pausing the game. If you need to take a break just put the screen to sleep. For me, pausing would lead to a reset of the game as I could not get out of the pause screen.
Visual (11) – The trailer for Balthazar’s Dream is what first got me excited for this title outside of the sale price point with cutesy pixel graphics. The visual design begins quite poorly in the first level but gets better as the game progresses into deeper and darker dreams. Balthazar’s dreams are nicely varied seeing him go from a home, to a forest, and even into outer space. Enemy and environmental hazard designs are also quite appropriate for what a dog would fear like cats and vacuums.
Budget (6) – Balthazar’s Dream retails for $8, but I was able to get it on a big sale for only $0.80. At full price I can not recommend this game to anyone based off the short run time and high chance of not being able to complete the game anyway. There is no replay value in this game unless if you want to run it through with all the five choosable dogs as there are no secrets or collectibles. Even on sale, I have a hard time recommending this title unless you enjoy the challenge of completing a poorly designed game.
I really wanted to enjoy and be able to recommend Balthazar’s Dream. I gave up on it three times and would return to it the next day because I feel there is something special that can be had here. The game has good bones, but needs a major overhaul patch for bugs and to polish core mechanics before I give it a second chance.
Critical Score: 42
Personal Score: 40
Final Answer: 41… Expand