We’re all familiar with the term "going postal" right?
I think the main reason postal workers “snap” is because they are forced to perform such repetitious and monotonous tasks day in and day out creating an overwhelming feeling that ultimately sets them off, often times with deadly consequences.
I imagine it's something very similar to the feeling I got playing “Balloon Express”, having to deliver mail by hot air balloon over and over and over and ... ugh!
OK, so maybe it’s not as bad as all that, but it’s pretty darn close!
Picture it; you're floating over a lovely Irish countryside, clicking on houses delivering mail and packages to the friendly waving villagers. “Balloon Express” is very much like “Pizza Frenzy” in that you have an aerial view over buildings delivering people’s requests.
And what would any self-respecting casual game be nowadays without a hard-knock-life storyline to go along with it?
The story centers around a young girl named Amelia. We learn that Amelia's father is having some financial difficulties and will lose their house if he doesn't pay a certain amount of money to the bank by the end of the month (better known as a “mortgage”) Amelia can't just sit by and let that happen, so she puts their old hot air balloon to good use and starts up a delivery service.
The games mechanics couldn’t be simpler (one-handed gaming) all you really need are a pair of eyes and a hand on the mouse. As the balloon floats over the villages, you must check each house that comes into sight by clicking on the question mark that’s above their roofs. That in turn reveals the type of package they need delivered. To deliver it, select the matching package from your inventory and click the house again which will then shoot it down a rope to the lucky recipient.
Along the way, you will be rewarded with factoids about the different countries you hover over, such as Ireland and Egypt. Hey, bet you had no idea that the Vikings founded Dublin? Who knew?
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At the end of each level, you're rated for successful deliveries, mis-matched packages, and missed deliveries. If you meet your goal, guess what it's on to day 2 in Ireland! Doing the exact same thing, traveling over the exact same houses, and waving to the exact same people. Yippee!
There's not much diversion from one level to another so it quickly becomes mind-numbingly boring. Yeah sure, there are bonus items in the form of tips to be gained for speedy deliveries and some power-ups to help you out with the deliveries. You are also able to upgrade your hot-air balloon as well.
Upgrades include speed to make the balloon move quicker, extra rope (for delivering more than one package at a time) and increasing the delivery area (which pretty much just extends the rope) but so what! Why do I need all this, if there’s no action?
Wait, I might have spoken too soon here- there seems to be some obstacle coming our way! Finally some action. Yay!
Amelia has just heard that there are some storm clouds on the horizon and our balloon is heading right into them! The wind isn't blowing our way! Oh no, what are we going to do?!
Never mind, show’s over, nothing more to see here folks.
Sorry to burst your bubble..err.. balloon, but we got through the eye of the storm in about 3 minutes- tops. Yawn.
By day 11, we've left Ireland, and arrived in Egypt and for some odd reason the locals are greeting us with a cheerful "Shalom," making me think that perhaps we took a wrong turn somewhere and wound up in Israel instead. So now, the lovely green Irish landscape has turned into a nasty desert, the sand is kicking up obscuring the view causing us to miss deliveries right and left. Needless, to say I am not amused!
I have been pretty hard on “Balloon Express” up until now but I will give credit where credit is due and say that the graphics were done very well here.
Pay attention to the little things going on in the villages as you float by, you can see people waving, sheep grazing and other small details.
I enjoyed the sounds within the game as well; there was always pleasant music playing in the background appropriate for that particular country you happened to be traveling in.
They were both good here, so good in fact I will go as far as to say they kept “Balloon Express” afloat and saved it from being a total bust!
By day 19, the meaning of "going postal" became all too clear to me! It had now become a game that was not only boring and repetitive but left me deflated and feeling a little gassy.
It didn’t take long for me to decide to hang up my mailbag and blow before I got violent!
Just stamp all of my undelivered parcels "return to sender, address unknown."
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Posted by oxyjen on Apr 6, 2007
On April 6, 2007, mindchamber said:
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