Excuse the pun, but Balloon Chair Death Match feels like it’s flying under the radar for a lot of people. Granted everyone’s weary of Early Access releases, but this unqiue take on the VR shooter is more than worth your time. If you’ve been waiting for the full release to jump in then today’s your lucky day.
Balloon Chair Death Match leaves Early Access today and adds a suite of new features in the process. For those that don’t know, this is a first-person shooter that does exactly what it says on the tin. You sit in a chair in the real world, with balloons attached to it in the virtual one, and then fly around a map with one hand, firing off weapons at opponent’s balloons with the other. It’s a great take on the VR locomotion issue and an entirely charming concept all in itself.
When I first played the game back in 2016 it had its core concepts down but lacked a lot of the content you’d expect from a shooter, especially one in development at a team like Climax Studios. That’s no longer that case, though; Climax has spent the last eight or so months making new weapons, adding in new modes and even fine-tuning the controls to make it comfortable for everyone.
Navigation, for example, can now be handled with the analog stick on Touch or trackpad on Vive. Previously you’d grab the stick on the left side of the chair and tilt the controller to move. You can still do that if you want, and it does feel more realistic, but I had a much easier time moving around maps with the more tried-and-true controls scheme.
My favorite additions have to be the weapons, though. You’ll need a lot of practise to be effective with the game’s standard pistol, but pick ups in each match balance that our perfectly. Wide-spreading shotguns can take out multiple balloons at once and nail guns and laser beams allow for rapid and constant fire without the aiming requirements. Easily the best, though, is the Pigeon Launcher, which feels like Balloon Chair’s tribute to Worms. It shoots out robotic homing pigeons that explode on impact.
Game modes have been expanded upon, too. Previously the game offered a single map to play death match and some single-player challenges on. Now those challenges have been expanded into an entire campaign that Climax seems quite proud of, and there’s a second city map to explore too. There’s also a new co-op survival mode in which up to four players can band together to fend off incoming waves of attackers — some of the best fun in the entire game — meaning the game has plenty for those that don’t like competitive multiplayer. If you do partake in online slaughter, though, a new mode on smaller maps can make matches much more manic and rapid than they have been before.
Added together, all these parts make Balloon Chair Death Match worth another look for anyone that passed it up the first time around. Flying around giant maps, thinking you’ve got the drop on someone’s stash of balloons, only to suddenly hear yours pop above you and plummet towards the ground is hugely entertaining.
The best part is you’ll be able to try before you buy if you act fast. Balloon Chair Death Match is going to be free for this first weekend, giving you the perfect opportunity to test it out first. Launch week will also include a 20% discount on the game.