Game Title: Vroom in the Night Sky
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Download: 808 MB
Availability: Digital Download (Europe, Japan)
Battery Life: 3-4 Hours
Supported Modes: TV, Tabletop, Handheld
The Nintendo Switch line-up is a very large debate, no matter which region or country you’re referring to. Of course, you’ve got the heavy-hitting Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, JRPG opener in the West with I am Setsuna, the return of Bomberman, and a lot more. Across expected and unexpected games, it’s been a debate since the very start, considering how small it was.
In Japan and Europe, there was a very intriguing and quirky game starring Magical Girls and Motorcycles. The general opinion is that the game is awful on all levels, and that just meant that I had to get it and try it out. Thanks to the region-free nature of the Switch, I popped onto the UK eShop and bought it.
On this April Fools Day, let’s take a good look at the quirky world from the edge of a broomstick. Here’s my review a game made by only 6 people, Vroom in the Night Sky!
Vroom in the Night Sky is about a Magical Girl who flies through the night sky on magical motorcycles to collect Stardust. It is implied that Magical Girls are powered by this stardust material, and must race through the world to make sure they can get their fair share before other magical girls take it for themselves.
That’s pretty much where the story ends, too. You have that setup and that’s it. You get random dialogue during stages, mostly in terms of you making note of your environment to very silly remarks. You will see discussions about how comfortable of a lifestyle magical girls have, how you wish you could swim but can’t, and hoping that your fairy friend isn’t scared of heights after you pull him a couple hundred feet in the air.
It’s quite silly, and all of it is random. The other thing is that the translation is awful. Almost every sentence in the game doesn’t make sense and looks like the developers entered the script into Google Translate and didn’t refine or edit any of the translated text. Context like “The moon of tonight is my friend” or “Are you the first time play this game?” It’s so bad it’s just funny, like a lot of other aspects of the game.
Vroom in the Night Sky is, well…I’m not sure what kind of game it is. You fly around stages like you’re in a flight simulator and collect objects like old Nintendo 64 3D Platformers. There are also some light combat elements with fighting your rival. If I had to generalize it, an Action Flight game? It’s really not completely in those genres, and it’s practically a genre all on its own. Let’s call it a Magical Girl Flying Sim.
The main thing is that you go through stages to collect money and use said money to buy new vehicles to tackle each stage with. So you’ll be going through Gameplay and a Shop after you complete each stage. There are also a lot of achievements to gain to unlock new content. It’s worth noting that the way the achievements pop up, it looks EXACTLY like PS4 Trophies. Even the trophy images and colors for Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum are a straight up copy of trophies. (So anyone wanting Trophies in Switch games…well, here you go).
Once you get into a stage, the setup looks interesting enough. You start flying your vehicle around in a 3D Sandbox arena, set on collecting a number of Star-like objects littered around the stage, like a Go-and-Collect sort of game. Once you collect them all, go through a circular gate to complete the stage and convert your points into money to be used in the shop.
And that’s really all there is to the game. Collect items. End Stage. Buy Stuff. Collect Items in a different Stage. End Stage. Buy stuff again. Itimplicity really reminds me of the days of PS Mobile. Almost as if this game is more of a tech demo for something that could be expanded into a game, but is a game in and of itself.
There are 2 things about the game, though. First is other elements to gameplay. It seems very basic at first, but does have a few things you can do. You can accelerate and turn as well as shoot your fairy off like a magical laser beam that will zone in and collect stardust fragments for you. This is also used for attacking your rival once they show up and try to steal the stardust for herself. The big thing is that collecting stardust with your Beam Attacks gets you extra points for more money. Although using the Beam and the Speed Boost options uses up gas, so you may have to refuel at a Magical Gas Station in the level.
The other is unlocking content. The game has 8 stages and the first 5 unlock themselves when beating the previous stage. Once you get to 6, you must use the in-game Trophies to unlock new content. Tier 2 stages unlock only once you purchase a Tier 2 vehicle, and the same for Tier 3 and Tier 4. To buy them, you need money. This leaves you to doing either mass grinding in easy stages or doing achievements involving doing special maneuvers and beating time trial records.
This leads to the game being a huge grind. The most I’ve ever gotten in a single stage even with the fastest vehicles in the game are a little over 100,000 of the in-game currency. So, if you need a Tier 4 bike that costs 1.5 million cash, you’ll have to do those stages a lot. Especially towards the “Platinum Trophy” which involves buying every single vehicle, half of which are all over 1 million per vehicle. In the end, doing that will take a good couple hours of grinding and dozens of stage completions.
The other aspect of the grind is that the starting vehicles are extremely slow-moving. Considering this is a large sandbox game, it makes the game seem really boring. However, once you get some Tier 2 Vehicles, you can start doing the Time Trial achievements and unlock special vehicles. These are almost all gag vehicles they threw in to increase the confusion factor. These include, but are not limited to a magic car, bench, broomstick, and even an Airliner. Granted, some of these are the best vehicles in the game, but it is so odd (and hilarious) seeing a giant Magical Girl standing on a huge airliner.
I won’t lie. I was getting bored with the game until I unlocked the special vehicles, but once high speed became an option, I became addicted to completing everything. I didn’t put the game down from the moment I unlocked the Airplane until I had every vehicle bought, every stage mastered, and every achievement obtained. It really has charm once things speed up.
As far as difficulty goes, there isn’t any. This is meant to just be a quirky little casual game you can play when you just want to relax. You can take your time in each stage, and your rival poses no real threat in actually collecting the stardust before you can. While there is a difficulty curve in the handling difficulty and differences between vehicles, that’s pretty much the only thing remotely difficult about the entire game.
Now, if you want Play Time, you would have to factor a few things in. First off, there are 8 stages. A single run through a stage, even with a fair amount of time in hunting down shards and taking out your rival for bonus points, shouldn’t take you any longer than around 5 minutes or so. If you take into account all of those grinding plays for getting everything unlocked, you’re probably looking at around 3-5 hours, at the most. I would put at least an hour just on unlocking the vehicles that are 1 million cash and higher to buy. Not too long, but certainly not terrible for the price as you’re essentially buying the game for around $7.00. I consider it a fair trade-off (especially in comparison to Snake Pass that charges you three times that for less game content.
Controlling the game is a confusing point in and of itself. Unlike most Nintendo games that use A as the confirm option and B as the cancel option, Vroom in the Night Sky has a more PlayStation-like control scheme with A and B reversed. Although you can change this in settings, you cannot change this in gameplay, so you might as well just get used to it because you will be confused either way.
In gameplay, you move around with the Left Analog Stick and move the camera with the Right Analog Stick. All 4 triggers don’t do anything at all. Then you’ve got the face buttons. The B button lets you accelerate and A is for the brakes. Y lets you shoot your magical beam and X is used for giving yourself a speed boost in exchange for a fair portion of your gasoline, which is critical for the Time Trial achievements.
The major problem I have with this is the fact that you have to constantly hold down B to accelerate and when you want to constantly use your speed boost, you have to press X while B is still held down. This is an extremely awkward maneuver which could have easily been avoided by moving either option to the triggers, which do nothing at all in the game.
Visually, the game looks good, but it also looks bad. Vroom is one of the 3D games for the Switch that has flawless character model edges in and out of handheld mode, which is really nice for those wanting to take their magical broomsticks and motorcycles on the go. But the draw distance and details of environments really needs work. In the Ocean level, everything blurs into the blue of the ocean. Even mountains that are ABOVE the ocean. And some environments literally just look like blocks when they’re supposed to be buildings.
The rest of the presentation, though, I applaud the devs for. First of all, the music is nice and calm throughout the game, with a particularly epic final stage song that I would put up there as a legitimately great theme song for any kind of game. And the performance is flawless. The game runs at a perfect 60 fps and never drops or dips for anything.
Since this is a 3D Nintendo Switch game, I had pretty low expectations in terms of Battery Life, but the results I got from my tests were pretty decent. From 100% to 0% Battery power, here is how long you can play Vroom in the Night Sky:
• Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 05 minutes
• Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 20 minutes
• Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 36 minutes
• Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 52 minutes
This isn’t bad at all, though it stays between 3 and 4 hours no matter what your settings are. So, unless you want to chug out that extra half hour, you might as well just keep this at full screen brightness all the time.
In conclusion, Vroom in the Night Sky is a game I want to say is great because of its quirky charm that kept me hooked until I had everything done, but there are just so many things bad about the game. The translation, the initial grind and repetition, the control scheme, the draw distance and environment details, and the much-too-simplified game that makes it feel more like a technical demo. I’m sorry, Poisoft. I love this game, but there’s just so much wrong with it.