Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Racing & Action
Release Date: 3rd of March, 2017
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Made with the NintendoWare Bezel engine and developed by the small Poisoft team, Vroom in the Night Sky is a racing action video game developed for the Nintendo Switch and released in both Europe and Japan on the 3rd of March. Only upon its release, the game was meet with criticism that so far as outright abusing it. Abuse such as labelling it “the worst game on Switch.”
Well that may have been the case when the game initially released, but as well as releasing in North America this week (the 5th of April), Vroom in the Night Sky also received a new update for all regions that added more content to the game. But regardless of it being a “terrible game,” in light of its free update and the recent release, here at Miketendo64 we are giving Vroom in the Night Sky a chance to redeem itself in the form of our latest Nintendo Switch review. So let’s begin!
The premise of Vroom in the Night Sky is a simple one, you are a Magical Girl, (a Witch) astride a Magical Bike, which runs on Magical Gasoline, but you never have to worry about it running out, because although it does, you can of course refill it on every level and the amount of time it takes for it to run out, you could most likely complete the entire game. But you’re a Magical Girl, on a Magical Bike in a somewhat Magical World, who spends most of her time flying around the night sky, going vroom! Well her bike does, but if you couldn’t tell, it is a very “Magical” heavy title, which does make it something of a shame that with all its magical prowess, it is unable to cast an enchantment that would captivate the player’s attention in the way that Poisoft would have liked.
Although there is a bit more to the game’s premise than that as it’s not just fling round levels randomly, but there are things to collect such as “Stardusts” and before you go thinking “Stardusts” is a typo, it is yes, but not on my part. The English translation for this game is nowhere near as it could be, and some of the translations are horrendously bad and you can’t understand a word, whereas other times it’s simply fractured, but you can easily understand the gist. Poor English aside, collecting these “Stardusts” is something you will want to make a habit out of, since they can be used to buy new vehicles from the game’s Shop, i.e. more powerful and faster scooters to motorcycles with supreme handling. Just know though, the number of “Stardusts” does vary per level and there are 8 levels in all available in Stage Select, with 7 of them needing to be unlocked, but more on that later.
Only “Stardusts” is not the only thing that requires collecting on each level as there are Starkeys as well, (the number of which also varies per level) and you will need to collect them all if you wish to open the Magical (yep, there’s that word again), Gate and fly through it to complete the level, but getting them all is not necessarily straight forward. Why? Well depending on how long you take to complete a level, a rival Magical Girl will show up and she collect both “Stardusts” and Starkeys in an attempt to screw you over, but that’s not a problem if you have advanced enough in the game to have earned the right to use Magical Rockets. With this you can just blast the dastardly Magical Girl and take back the Keystones she took and then carry on collecting every bit of “Stardusts” before opting to finish the level.
The only thing wrong with that though, is it is actually more rewarding to hastily gather up every Starkey there is and ignore that “Stardusts” as you finish the level as fast as you possibly can, as this actually earns you far more “Stardusts” than you’d be able to collect in a single collect them all playthrough, whilst doing a ton of stunts to boost your collected tally of “Stardusts.” And now because I’ve put this odd long enough, it’s time I got this next bit underway. It shames me to say it, but there is another reason as to why you might want to hurry through the levels as fast as you can and if you’ve been looking at the photos included in this review, the reason should be somewhat apparent.
I have nothing against the graphics for this game, as graphics aren’t everything to me, but for some gamers, right away the graphics are a deal breaker, but that’s not the worst of it. The worst bit is despite some of them having the potential to be something far more and me enjoying the sky level (it’s the only level played in the day time with a ton of planes everywhere) and the City level, the levels did feel empty. Granted they were most likely to be the way that they are so that they could be easy to navigate, allowing players to get every bit of “Stardusts” available, but it feels as though something a little more could have been done with them and the game’s blandness isn’t aren’t the only big issue.
What I feel lets this game down the most, is actually the controls. For me, using B for Accelerate is not a good choice, especially when the A button feels as if it would have been the better choice and better to use, but instead A is used for Brake and while some controls can be swapped, such as for which button is to be used for Yes and No, Brake and Accelerate can not be swapped. However being as though it is a game playable on Switch, the game does make use of the Joy-Con controllers HD Rumble feature and just in case it’s not severe enough for you, there is actually an option to make it more so and it does add to the game.
In fact, because I have pointed out a few of the bad things about it, I think it’s fair to mention the good things about it. Like I said, the HD Rumble is good, as is the game’s music, which I would say is one of the game’s best features. Also there are plenty of vehicles to be used that far exceeds the two-wheeled variety as in-game achievements (called Memories) enable you to unlock other forms of transportation as well, which includes a park bench, a broomstick and even an airliner. Yes you read me correctly, one of the vehicles you can fly around on is a large aeroplane, which is also one of the fastest and best vehicles this game has to offer. Also while there may not be too much in the way of customisation, players can change the colour of most vehicles for a bit more variety.
Only completing Memories don’t just allow you to get new bonus vehicles, but they also allow you to unlock the last three stages the game has to offer and earn all-important “Stardusts” for buying even more vehicles from the shop. Also because I still have three more good points to cover, here they are. While most Switch games allow you to press the Home button and then change user, you can just change user whilst on the main menu screen of the game. Leaving the rival Magical Girl alive can be something of a benefit as her and protagonist Tsukie/Luna can have the most hilarious of conversations, which is made even more funny by the broken English in which they speak, but also, as far as Tutorials go, Vroom in the Night Sky has one of the quickest and easiest to do, which still makes plenty of sense, even with poor translated text.
In terms of content though, there really isn’t much there. Sure there are over 20 vehicles to own and ride and 20 achievements to be achieved, but you can literally complete the entire game well within a 6 hour period, but even if you do, I do feel as though the game does have just enough appeal to be something some players would still play even if they have completed it. Also given everything I have said up to this point, it only covers the game how it was when it originally released last month, because like I said, a new update has brought new content.
Sure the update didn’t improve graphics, control options or even bring in some text fixes, but it does give us the new Magicval Driving School mode, which is actually a pretty great addition to the overall game as it is, as it does as explain how to do the game’s manoeuvres, such as Magical Turning and Magical Thrilling. Plus with there being 10 lessons available in the Driving School and completing each one for the first time rewards you with an addition 100,000 “Stardusts,” it is automatically a great way to get the “Stardusts” you need to buy a much better vehicle, especially since the new update also makes the vehicles more affordable as well! So to say it simply, the update is a most welcome one and a sign that the devs are listening to player’s complaints.
Now I do of course understand why most reviewers have said what they did with regards to Vroom in the Night Sky, but I do refuse to label it as a “bad game.” It is not great and nor is it good, but it is not technically a bad game. There were some good ideas behind it and Vroom in the Night Sky would probably be much better off as a game for mobile devices, but sometimes you don’t want to watch a good film. You want to watch a horrendous one just because you feel like it and it’s the same with videogames. Sometimes you just want a game that is so very different from the typical thing you normally play and before you know it, hours have past and you’re still playing it. To me, Vroom in the Night Sky is that kind of game. It is the one you play purely because you can and because you feel like it.
However for what you have to pay and what you get for your money, it’s not worth it since there are a number of quality titles on Switch you can buy for the same price. Vroom in the Night Sky would have been better off being made available at a lower price, but you know what, I played it. I played it for a few hours and I’ll probably even play it again after I finish this review, but I do not hate it. One game I particularly hate is Codename S.T.E.A.M and if I had to choose between playing that or Vroom, I’m going to play Vroom, so with that though in mind, I know what I must do now.
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Vroom in the Night Sky is not a good game, one you could argue does not deserve a place on the Nintendo Switch, but despite Nintendo’s claims of ensuring the Switch only has quality indie titles, a game such as this was always going to make it on the system and I am partly glad it did. In a way it makes us appreciate the other games we have available to us even more so, but I do think we should show Poisoft some respect. Not everyone starts a game and sees it through to the end, but Poisoft stuck by their guns and did what they could with a small team and a small budget and if they brought another game to the Nintendo Switch, I can honestly say I would at least give it a try. So with all of that in mind, I feel Vroom in the Night Sky does as least deserve a 4/10, which by this game’s standards and to my knowledge, is the highest score Vroom in the Night Score has obtained to date. Sure some may bash me for scoring Vroom in the Night Sky as “high” as I have, but I see and understand the game for what it really is. I see and understand what went into it and I am at peace with my decision, so feel free to say what you’re going to say, because I have said my piece and I am into going to change it.
THE VERDICT: 4/10
*Review key provided by Poisoft