>by: Aron Deppert
Hello Kitty World (which was released in the US as Balloon Kid for the GameBoy) was released in 1992 for the Famicom as a joint effort between Sanrio and Character Soft. In localizing it as Balloon Kid, there were no major changes outside of changing the protagonist from Hello Kitty and colorizing/improving the graphics.
Hello Kitty World’s title screen
In the Famicom version, you play Hello Kitty, who for some reason has two balloons tied to her butt. The balloons give Hello Kitty enough weightlessness so that by simply flapping her arms, she can soar through the air. You flap your arms by tapping A and use the control pad to collect balloons placed throughout the level, all the while avoiding the vast amount of enemies that want nothing more than to pop your butt balloons. When a balloon has been ruptured, you can land somewhere safe and inflate new ones by tapping down on the control pad repeatedly. It’s important to keep balloons inflated, because otherwise you won’t be able to clear some of the larger gaps that you need to reach the end of each level. Many of the enemies (mostly birds) fly in the air, but there are grounded enemies that can make trouble for you. The most bothersome ground enemies were the weird campfire thingies that hopped viciously at my Hello Kitty, trying to singe her little whiskers.
99 red love balloons…
Each level has an entrance to a bonus area (the door is marked with a Strawberry) where you can collect more balloons that float out of pipes that look like they were hijacked from the Mushroom Kingdom. Since I can’t read Japanese, I have a hard time telling you what the balloons you collect do, other than contribute to your score at the end of every level. Also, 1-ups float out of the pipe if you can collect all the balloons without letting one hit the ceiling. The 1-ups were very valuable to me, because I found myself watching Hello Kitty’s balloonless butt fall to her death quite often. Luckily, the game seems to have a sort of unannounced checkpoint system in place so you don’t have to start over at the beginning of the level each time you die.
The boss battles were quite easy, and only involved bouncing on some crazed, indistinguishable animal’s head three times. You can’t be holding balloons when you jump though, or you won’t be heavy enough to do any damage. The graphics were very bright and colorful. Some of the enemies seem out of scale compared to Hello Kitty – they’re so small they make her seem like a giant. The backgrounds while flat and not very detailed, are cute and appropriate for this type of title.
The music was catchy, cheerful, but repetitive. The song you hear when you watch the cut scene after completing a level is particularly triumphant-sounding. The controls were pretty straight-forward: use the directional pad to move, A to fly, B to release your balloons (which is necessary to make it through some portions of the levels). When you’re on the ground, A makes you jump.
Overall, Hello Kitty world would be great to play in an arcade for ten minutes, but I can’t see why anyone would ever want to own it at home. Each level was essentially the same, only with more enemies and a faster scrolling speed. Hello Kitty World is nothing more than a quick time-waster at best.
I dug this up off of my personal blog. It was originally written in 2007, and I revised and refreshed it to make it better for my current skill level.
Image Credit: Screenshots