Ballonius, from first-time CGDC participants Aaron Cox and Graham Jans, reminds me of that old Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, and Martin Short movie Innerspace, but only in a superficial "I feel like I'm floating around blood cells" sort of way, and certainly not in a "cheated out of precious moments of my life" way.
Control a ship in a miniature-yet-epic battle against undulating bubbles and their mindless minions. Using the [left] and [right] arrow keys to steer and [up] to thrust (Asteroids-style), you must weave in and out of the bubbles in a race against the clock. Collect energy from shifting beams that connect two bubbles while avoiding being caught within the bubbles themselves or being hit by their bug-like drones. You have one defense (besides agility), and that's the ability to hit [spacebar] and fold up into an impenetrable ball while maintaining your forward momentum. Collect enough energy to fill your meter and you progress to the next stage.
Analysis: Ballonius is a fantastic action game that I was drawn to immediately and just couldn't stop playing until I had finished all of its stages. Aaron and Graham have done an excellent job of structuring each level as a sort of mini-puzzle. The main challenge is to finish each stage in the shortest time possible, offering you unlimited chances to succeed, thereby allowing you full enjoyment of the game itself without the stress of worrying about losing outright. Since you can't really lose per se, you can be more aggressive with your gameplay and really go all out to complete each stage in the shortest possible time. It's a winning formula.
The developers also did a nice job of introducing new elements at a steady pace with each new stage. The difficulty increases in a smart and interesting way, rather than just throwing more and faster enemies at you as you progress. Each level offers a unique challenge that requires some thought, quick reflexes, and just a little bit of luck.