Hot Air Jr.

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Rating: 4.3/5 (53 votes)

DoraHot Air JrNormally when someone says you're "full of hot air", them's fightin' words. I say normally, because if they're talking about Nitrome's Hot Air series, it's actually a compliment because they mean to say you're full of vibrant whimsy, colour, and fun. Hot Air Jr. is the latest installment in the rubbery action avoidance adventure series about a relentlessly cheerful balloon adrift in a relentlessly dangerous world. This time, you're chasing after the evil giant spiky villain who has absconded with the family balloon dog. You have no choice but to journey across a wide variety of hazardous levels, featuring everything from malicious fans to enormous swords, in search of the pilfered pooch.

To play, click and hold on the screen to start your propeller cursor whirling, which you can then use to direct our blue hero around the screen and (hopefully) safely around hazards. Your goal is to collect the stars in each level and make it to the landing pad at the end without being popped, stomped, thwomped, or otherwise deflated... which is harder than you might think, since all manner of malicious baddies are out to make life difficult to you, with the scenery itself often being hazardous to boot. Take it slow and steady, plot your course, and make sure you activate any checkpoints you see scattered throughout the levels! Since you can only withstand a single hit, checkpoints will save you from having to restart the entire stage over if disaster strikes. Each level is unique and accessed from a central hub where you can take care of other important business... like the latest in unlockable balloon fashion!

While Hot Air Jr. represents another gorgeous chapter in Nitrome's long history of top-notch releases, it's also a fantastic and welcome example of a developer opening their ears to feedback from the most important people... their fans. For a lot of people, checkpoints are the difference between ragequitting and another try, making Hot Air Jr. much more accessible and less frustrating. More than that, however, it just feels better. Control is tighter and altogether more responsive compared to the originals, allowing you to be able to really soak in the clever stage designs and quirks that make the game great. That said, you shouldn't expect the game to be easy, since even with the checkpoints and more responsive controls you'll still need steady hands and quick reflexes, as well as a keen eye to spot patterns in the stages. If you're looking for a challenge with a lot of style and variety, and have the patience to master it, however, Hot Air Jr. is a great way to spend your afternoon soaring among the not-particularly-relaxing clouds.

Play Hot Air Jr.


Does the first level have to be that difficult? I keep getting smash at the last second.


I know, but it still rubs the basket, if only they had their 3 heart system, but they ARE Nitrome, right.


So many Nitrome games seem to be based on giving you an indirect, imprecise control method as we have here and then tasking you with very tricky stages. One of the levels here is a forced speed run, the very last they actually take the controls off you altogether for seconds at a time.

When playing you spend all the time thinking that if only they gave you direct control in the first place it wouldn't be so hard. The end result is that the "gameplay" feels pretty cheap.

Even with my griping I still managed to get all 17 stars.

Solatoral June 29, 2012 4:00 AM

Agreed. I was so happy this came out (haven't been fan of so many nitrome games so far, so a classicwith another sequel is welcoming). But sometimes the controls can be very finnicky and the levels are a little too hard too quickly.

But I did have to complete it completely, as is my habit. :)

benjabby June 29, 2012 9:36 AM

I dont know about anyone else but i felt it was very short? even with the extra challenge of collecting all the stars

LightWarriorK June 29, 2012 2:28 PM

Yes, compared to Hot Air and Hot Air 2, this was an exceptionally short, but sweet, game.

The series has come a long way since what, 2005? Still, I could have used another 50 levels or so. 17 just isn't enough for a game of this quality.


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