Note: As I post this, Balloons! has been reduced to £0.59 for the paid version. Get it while it lasts!
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to participate in the beta of Balloons! for iPhone. Since it's now available to buy, I thought I'd share my thoughts on the app here.
Balloons! is purely for entertainment, though it doesn't really fall into the category of games. The basic idea is that you pick a balloon and attach a message and/or photo to the label, and launch it into the air. The balloon will travel around the globe (electronically, of course) to be caught by other Balloons! users. When someone catches your balloon, they may attach their own message and photo and relaunch it into the sky for someone else to catch.
I've included a few screenshots below, and although you can see the level of polish Balloons! has, unfortunately you can't see the subtle animations that really bring the app to life. The official website has a video that might give you a better idea of how it looks.
The Balloons! menu screen.
When you launch a balloon, you get to choose how it looks from a selection ranging from normal round balloons to heart and bear-shaped balloons.
Catching a balloon is easy. You can catch balloons from all over the world, though realistically, they have to have been travelling for some time to get from one side of the globe to the other!
The Balloon Tracker allows you to see all balloons you've launched, along with the messages and photos that have been attached to them. This is only available in the paid version.
If you click on a balloon in the Balloon Tracker, you get to see the original message/photo, along with any other messages added to it.
Paid vs Free
Like most apps on the App Store, there's a free version and a paid version of Balloons! With the exception of ads, the only difference is the "Balloon Tracker", which lets you see all balloons you've launched, and the messages that have been added to them. It's well worth paying for this additional feature, or you'll be left wondering whether anyone has caught and added messages to your balloons!