Square Enix have announced the demos for Balan Wonderworld are being taken down in Japan, but not in the west.
While there has been no word from Square Enix’ English-speaking social media or website, nor the game’s western Twitter (the demo is still available on consoles and Steam in the west), the game’s Japanese Twitter stated “The trial version will be discontinued at 23:59 on 4/14 (Wed.). (Steam version is 4/15 (Thursday) AM 2:00)” (translation: Google Translate).
The costumes players can earn from the demo will be made available to players at a later date, with details revealed via the Twitter account. The game’s demo was poorly received, so much so that producer Noriyoshi Fujimoto stated a day one patch would address some of the issues raised.
More bad press came, as the day one patch was further updated to include a fix for a potentially epileptic seizure risking bug. Soon after, the game had poor reviews from critics. Across all platforms on Metacritic, the game’s Metascore (the aggregate of reviewer scores out of 100) is 50 or less; with a cross platform average of 41.6 [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].
In spite of this however, Metacritic user reviews are above 6 out of 10, with some platforms having it reach the 8s. On the other hand, there has been suspicion over the positive reviews being falsified or generated by bots. This was based on them featuring strange usernames and broken English.
These factors likely lead to claims that the game flopped, reportedly failing to break top 30 and even top 40 charts on launch. Chart-toppers during or near Balan Wonderworld‘s launch included Outriders, FIFA 21, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, and reportedly being outsold by titles that have available for over 100 weeks.
The removal of the demo may be an attempt to generate a sense of scarcity or interest for the game. On the other hand, it may also be an attempt to minimize the game’s bad reputation, if the demo is believed to be actively driving potential gamers away from it. Even so, with game reviews and gameplay footage available, it is hard to imagine removing the demo would hide away any information about it.
Balan Wonderworld is available now on Windows PC (via Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. You can expect our review soon.