Luigi's Balloon World First Impressions

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by: Hairball

When the Luigi's Balloon World update for Super Mario Odyssey was pushed out by Nintendo just after midnight last Thursday in a surprise announcement, I was pretty excited, but unfortunately I had to go to work the next morning so I haven't been able to play it yet.

A free DLC update is a great sign from Nintendo, they are indeed catching up with the times by providing a new feature to a game. And perhaps this opens the door to new DLC levels or kingdoms. It'll be interesting to see if they'll extend this concept further for Super Mario Odyssey, but time will tell...

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I finally got a chance to try it out last weekend. It appears the download had been automatically downloaded to my Switch, I just had to close my current game and restart, so this is a fairly smooth experience that I've also seen with other games.

Once I started SMO again, I was notified that a new mode is available. Luigi is in most of the kingdoms in a fairly prominent area, simply talk to him and you can start the mini-game. I went right over to Metro Kingdom first as that's what the initial screenshots showed, but that was unnecessary.

Within the new mini-game there are two modes: Find it and Hide it. It's self explanatory, you either go out to find a balloon, or hide one. Each time you play it will cost at least 10 coins depending on the selected balloon, and you win coins if you successful find a balloon. You will earn coins when someone tries to find your hidden balloons. In addition there's a star ranking as you proceed through this mini-game.

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There are 30 seconds to find or hide a balloon, however the timer can be increased by obtaining coins which adds to the challenge - every 3 coins adds one second to the timer. When you are hiding a balloon extra coins give you more time, but also adding a challenge as the player finding the balloon will need to find coins as well. Conversely, when finding a balloon, additional coins buy you extra time to search. But as coins are all over the place, and one can take many different routes, there can be quite a bit of permutations.

Initially, when finding a balloon there's an arrow showing you the direction along with the distance away. The arrow disappear after a few seconds, unless you stop and stay stationary, however the distance will update as you move along.

Naturally, this type of mini-game is going to require skill and precision in order to reach the areas you want to get to, and yes - you can also use the capture ability to aid your trek. This might be a good time to practice your speedrunning skills, you might need it! Once we see more advanced hiding tricks, it'll be important to be able to consistently roll, do long jumps and cappy jumps to get to places fast!

I haven't seen the new costumes yet, though the two filters are a nice little addition. The coin filter is pretty nice as it lets you create some bling, and the image is cropped in the shape of a Mushroom Kingdom coin. The neon filter, well that makes the screenshot look like an 80s disco, so I guess it can be forgotten.

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Overall, Luigi's Balloon World is a nice little add on, it is fun, adds a few challenges, and it's easy to pick up and play which is perfect for a hybrid system like the Nintendo Switch.