I’m going to make a confession: My body isn’t ready for Breath of the Wild. At least not yet. I need some relatively smaller titles at my disposal before I boot up the cartridge. Thankfully, the Nintendo Switch’s region-free play is so awesome that it allows the player to view and download from different regional versions of the eShop. Wouldn’t you know it, there happens to be a few more games already out in European and Japanese territories that we Americans don’t officially have yet. One of these games is a Japanese indie title named Vroom in the Night Sky.
There isn’t as much of a story in this game as there is an attempt at having character. The protagonist would converse with the flying creature that flies with her and the rival girl that sometimes appears in each level. Here’s the problem: This game has the most broken English I’ve seen in quite some time! Small conversations are abundant between these characters, but they would almost always come out in either fragmented or nonsensical clusters of words. This extends to the descriptions of levels and bike upgrades.
Vroom in the Night Sky is at least colorful and spacious. Other than that, though, the visuals often look very unfinished. The worlds alone make the game look like it’s a prototype that had maybe two months of development time. The lack of texture on grounds clash with the fully detailed (yet they don’t emote) character models and the fully functional, equally detailed HUD. The sky level might be more visually pleasing since it’s the only one to take place in broad daylight, but at the same time, it’s incredibly stupefying watching planes twirl in place/fly backwards.
Easily the most competent category in Vroom in the Night Sky, the sound department checks out perfectly fine. The music is catchy and varied, and the sound effects are tantalizing and memorable. To my surprise, the game also sports the Switch’s “HD Rumble” feature, so along with hearing the bike roar, players could feel the controllers vibrating as if they really are on the flying bike.
This game features magical girls riding on flying bikes. How the heck could it not be fun? Well, the entirety of Vroom in the Night Sky focuses on a single, boring premise: Fly through rings. If the player flies through all of the rings in the level and goes to the goal, the level’s done. Nothing can stop the player from doing so, and there’s only little over a handful of levels total. There’s a limited amount of gas in the bike, but for it to run out all the way you’d have to spend maybe a dozen minutes screwing around in the level! There’s this other girl that may sometimes appear on the level to act as a rival, but she does absolutely nothing. She’s only there for the player to strike down and collect Stardust. Stardust can be collected by accomplishing certain tasks or by finding shards floating like Mario coins. What do you do with the Stardust? It’s in-game currency. That’s where the bike shop comes in.
Naturally, the shop is there so players could purchase better, faster bikes with Stardust. The bike the player starts out with has loose handling and moves slow. Anyone could eventually adjust to the crappier bikes, but there’s one big issue with how the game handles the upgrades. There are a couple of the bikes that have to be purchased in order to unlock the last couple levels of the game. The prices for those bikes are immensely steep! So guess what has to be done? GRINDING. Players would have to grind as much Stardust as possible and replay the same level (or different levels, but the process would be slower that way) over and over and over and over and over and over again!
But you know what? It’s probably just up to the player anyway. After all, Vroom in the Night Sky doesn’t give any sort of congratulation, reward, or even the smallest notification for beating all of the levels. It’s all a waste of time.
Frankly, I just don’t believe Vroom in the Night Sky was ready for launch. Just about everything important to its functionality is borderline pre-alpha-esque in execution. The gameplay is as bare as it could possibly be, the graphics don’t feel finished, and the need to grind for Stardust in an already repetitive bore is a design choice I’ll never understand. I don’t recommend this at all for European and Japanese audiences, and I will certainly say the same for if this game manages to make it to American markets.