Played through Hello Kitty World [Famicom].
This game is a neat curiosity in its convoluted branding and localization. Its origins trace back to Balloon Fight, a staple of Nintendo’s original 1985 NES / Famicom lineup, which was heavily-inspired by Williams Electronics’ 1982 arcade hit Joust (but without the ostriches). Balloon Fight later spawned a 1990 Game Boy sequel - Balloon Kid, which was exclusive to North America and Europe at the time. Japan didn’t get a taste until 1992, when the game was ported back to the Famicom and rebranded with the Hello Kitty license.
I had loads of fun with Hello Kitty World, as I do with most Joust-esque “floating physics” games (Flappy Bird included). But what makes this rendition of the formula so much more enticing than its progenitors is the progression element. Rather than arcade-style point racking against single-screen enemy waves, Hello Kitty World presents 8 levels to traverse - complete with enemies, hazards, and 4 bosses. This title is deceptively difficult for a game featuring Sanrio’s cutesy mascot, but its introduction of a linear stage-system coaxed me to keep playing until I saw it through to the end.