The game contains three modes, all of which are comparable to Balloon Trip from Balloon Fight, featuring leftward-scrolling stages. For all modes, the player plays as Alice, with the exception of player two in Vs. Play being Samm. The stages are also taller than the Game Boy screen, with the camera automatically following the player vertically.
The game begins with a scene of Jim floating away, tangled up in several Balloons. Alice then needs to travel through all eight stages, following the trail of Balloons he left behind. Every second stage features a boss fight. When the player clears all eight stages, they then rescue Jim and the credits roll.
- Main article: Vs. Play
This mode can only be played when two players connect their Game Boys with a link cable and two copies of the game. One player plays as Alice and the other plays as Samm. The first player to three points wins, and a player earns one point when the other falls into the water. If both players survive until the end of the stage, the first to reach the ending sign will get a point.
- Main article: Balloon Trip
This mode is a recreation of the Balloon Trip mode in the NES game.
The plot is described on page three of the manual and implied in the starting cutscene of Single Play. According to the manual, Alice and Jim enjoyed playing with Balloons, and would often fill the sky with them. One day, Jim filled all his Balloons and tied them together to make a rainbow, but then a gust of wind carried him away with it. Alice then set out to go find him, following a trail of Balloons that Jim released behind himself.
On page 9 of the manual, describing the Vs. Play mode, it states that Balloon Fights are popular in Pencilvania, and that Alice and Samm like to have friendly competitions to see who is the better pilot.
The manual also gives a brief description of Balloon Trip mode on page 10. According to the manual, Alice decided to test her piloting skills by flying over the ocean on a stormy day.
- Directional Pad
- Left/Right - Walking, steering
- Down - Pump up Balloon
- If the player is missing one or both Balloons, they can press down four times to inflate another.
- Up is unused, as the player can't control the camera vertically like they could in Vs. Balloon Fight.
- A Button - Fly
- Holding down the button will automatically continue flying.
- B Button - Drop Balloons
- A + B + Start + Select - Resets the game
This game was released in North America on October 5th, 1990 at an MSRP of $19.99, and then released in Europe on January 31st, 1991. Although the original version of this game was never released in Japan, it did receive two Japan-exclusive remakes. The first of which was Hello Kitty World on the Famicom, which replaced all of the characters with Sanrio characters, such as Alice becoming Hello Kitty. Later, on July 31st, 2000, a full color remake of this game was released as Balloon Fight GB. This game has fully colored graphics when played on the Game Boy Color, along with other improvements.
Later, this game would be rereleased in its original form on the 3DS Virtual Console. This port would also only be released in North America and Europe, with Japan instead receiving a port of Balloon Fight GB.
While jumping, while you are still ascending, you can momentarily release and then hold the jump button again, causing a slight stutter in your movement. It doesn't seem that this can increase your jump height.
- Stages 3 and 5 (Sea A and Sea B respectively) appear to be based off of the NES game, as they feature Balloon Birds, as well as Clouds and Sparks.
- This game references several other Nintendo games, such as with the music in the Forest stage being very similar to the music in the forest stage of Gumshoe on the NES. There are also unused graphics for an enemy which appears to be an Eggplant Man from Wrecking Crew.
- Some of the sound effects and music from Balloon Kid were later used in the Game Boy Camera, most notably the second boss theme.
- Balloon Kid was briefly discussed in the official Nintendo Player's Guide for the Game Boy on page 138, as well as having the game's box art hidden on the covers of the book.
- Early in development, the game was initially going to be named "Balloon Kids." The original title screen can be seen in one of the videos that Game Boy Kiosks would play in stores, and some of the graphics for the "s" still remain in the game, although they are unused.
- Interestingly, the kiosk video refers to the game as Balloon Kid despite the old title screen being shown.
|Balloon Fighting Games||Vs. Balloon Fight (Arcade) - Balloon Fight (NES)|
|Remakes||PC-8801 - Sharp X1 - Sharp MZ-1500 - Tingle's Balloon Fight DS (DS)|
|Ports||Playchoice-10 - Sharp Zaurus - Balloon Fight-e (GBA) - Famicom Mini: Balloon Fight (GBA) - Wii Virtual Console - Balloon Fight (3DS) - Wii U Virtual Console - Nintendo Switch Online - Arcade Archives VS. BALLOON FIGHT (Switch)|
|Balloon Trip Games||Balloon Fight (Game & Watch) - Balloon Kid (GB) - Balloon Trip Breeze (Wii U)|
|Remakes||Hello Kitty World (Famicom) - Balloon Fight GB (GBC)|
|Ports||Balloon Fight GB (3DS) - Balloon Kid (3DS)|