Nintendo’s Switch has been out for just under a month now, and its library is still a little thin. Independent developers have helped bolster the figures over the past couple of weeks, with great games like Shovel Knight, Snake Pass and Snipperclips expanding the online store space. For the most part, one could consider Switch’s library as small but great – with the quality of the games outshining their quantity. Vroom in the Night Sky is the glaringly obvious exception to that rule.
It’s immediately evident what sort of experience you’ve latched yourself into from the moment you start the game up. Whether it’s the awful Japanese to English translations or the confusing swap of A and B button mapping, Vroom in the Night Sky’s opening is unwelcoming and off-putting. it’s doesn’t even matter if you’ve played the game before or not, with the on-screen prompt to launch into a tutorial session ignoring whatever input you give it. You’re immediately stuck on the main menu, wondering what sort of hellish experience awaits you beyond.
Thankfully, that experience is short. Vroom in the Night Sky’s only real redeeming quality is that it doesn’t really want you to stick around for long, offering only a handful of levels that never really progress beyond its first one. You take control of a magical witch who roams the skies on an equally magical motorcycle. The objective is to collect a series of Keystars – collectibles that just look like floating yellow stars in hoops – before racing through a final end platform to move on to the next stage. Simple and straight forward, with the potential for riveting time-based goals and increasingly challenging stages. Except that’s never the case.
Each stage might take place in a slightly different settings, but the goals never evolve beyond simple collection and navigation. Even when antagonists are introduced to try to inject some sort of challenged, they simple roam around the map and offer little to no adversity at all. Worse still is that you can dispatch them with a single attack, which does all the heavy lifting for you by automatically seeking out its opponent. That this attack can then be used to reach Keystars in the distance further reduced the actual input I needed to give the game, eventually allowing me to hardly move through stages while simultaneously completing them.
While the game does attempt to enforce some sort of resource management on you, I never once felt the need to limit my movements to reduce gasoline usage. There’s a meter clearly ticking down as I move, but never once did it even pass the 80% mark before a level was complete. There’s no real fail state that the game offers to try to illicit a sense of challenge on tis players, instead relying on its mediocre movement and mundane collection mechanics to try to keep you entertained.
There’s a store to purchase new motorcycles, along with some stat changes and abilities. But given the identically challenging stages, there’s never a need or motivation to do so. In fact, the only real motivation I felt playing through Vroom in the Night Sky was one urging me to finish. So that I could be done with this poorly put together package, and get back to the sorts of high-class experience that the eShop isn’t really lacking.