Sir Benfro's Brilliant Balloon for iPhone and iPad: The Life Aeronautic, Without Steve Zissou

By Bulent Yusuf on at

We're about to deploy a loaded word. The word is "whimsical". That means Sir Benfro's Brilliant Balloon isn't your standard gaming fare. Rather, it's a delicate journey through an imaginary world, spotting fantastical creatures from afar. Delightful music and graphics, yes. Pumping adrenaline, no.

Sir Benfro is an explorer from the Steve Zissou school, he likes to get up close and personal with nature, and he adopts some unconventional methods to ply his trade. One such method is his mode of transport, a white balloon powered by fireflies. Sir Benfro doesn't even have a basket, he's perfectly happy to cling to the string and dangle underneath.

The game uses one touch controls for navigation. Tap the screen to make the balloon float, take your finger off to make it descend. Frequent taps causes the balloon to slow down, whilst long presses make it gather speed. Players must navigate Sir Benfro through one of four worlds by dodging obstacles and collecting fireflies to stay afloat.

It sounds like nothing special in the telling, but the game is a challenge to play. What drives you forward are the sound and visuals, keen to see what new surprises Sir Benfro has in store. The fictional wildlife is psychedelically surreal, whilst the soundtrack's flute and guitar is punctuated by kids shouting with glee as you soar through each level. Utterly unique.


Sir Benfro's Brilliant Balloon is available now on the App Store (69p)