There’s been concern among some gamers that Nintendo is perhaps a little too controlling when it comes to deciding which indie games are suitable for inclusion on the eShop.
The fear is that Nintendo is so keen to ensure the Switch is a success, it may focus heavily on established, critically acclaimed indie developers to the detriment of other less established ones.
Vroom In The Night Sky is here to put those fears to rest, because it’s a barrel of old arse.
It’s the work of Poisoft, a little indie studio from the Japanese city of Fukuoka, and it’s about riding a magical flying motorbike.
Specifically, you’re a ‘Magical Girl’, whose job it is to collect ‘stardusts’ floating in the night sky. The game doesn’t explain why you’re doing this, but that’s the least of your worries in this one.
The aim in each of the eight stages is simple: collect all the gold stars dotted around the sparse environment then fly through the goal to complete the level.
There’s no challenge here whatsoever, because there’s literally no way (that I could see) of failing. There’s no timer, you’ve got no health bar and though you have a fuel meter, when that runs out you just run along the ground until you find the glowing section that recharges it.
After about a minute into the stage, your rival turns up. She threatens to steal the stardusts and gold stars but even then, the items she collects regenerate so she’s about as effective as a dildo shaped like Bart Simpson’s head.
What you have, then, is a game you can finish in about 20 minutes, and completely rinse 100% – unlocking all the vehicles and earning all the achievement-style ‘memories’ – in about two hours.
Here’s the thing though. Part of me likes this game. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a completely illogical part of me, the part that loves ineptitude enough that I made a website dedicated to bad movies.
I’m a sucker for shite, and Vroom In The Night Sky is packing bin bags full of it. And not just the normal black ones, but the big green garden ones you can get with pullstrings on them.
The game itself is bad enough, but in case you haven’t already noticed, the dialogue is a new level of incompetence.
To be fair to Poisoft, you can’t really expect a tiny Japanese studio to be able to afford proper English translation.
At the same time though, I reckon I could make more sensible sentences by making a bowl of alphabet soup and horsing it off a wall.
As you’ll see by the screenshots in this review, the game’s attempt at English feels like the sort of thing you’d get if you ran some Japanese text through Google Translate and translated it into English, then changed it back to Japanese, then did this a couple more times.
“Are you the first time to play this game?” you’re asked when you start it up for the first time. And it only gets better from there.
Like I say, I like this. It’s shoddy as fuck but I think it’s charming. I like when it’s clear what they’re trying to say but just can’t quite manage it (“look at under the tree!”).
I even like it when what they’re saying reads like complete gibberish: the instruction for the ‘Magical heavy braking’ move says: “Magical heavy braking occurs with the L stick (left/right) and A button in the state that the speed is out.”
I especially like the Shop section where you buy new bikes with the stardusts you’ve collected. Each of the bike’s descriptions are terrible, and any time you buy one it’s marked with a beautiful “BUYED!!” stamp.
There’s also nonsensical chatter constantly going on in the bottom of the screen between your Magical Girl and a weird fairy thing that turns up without explanation to give you help, as if having to drive into the big fucking gold stars wasn’t already obvious enough.
“Wood only,” your character says, disappointed that the level consists solely of trees. “Because it’s forest here, it’s ordinary,” the fairy replies. Fucking dynamite patter, mate.
My favourite thing about the game, though, is the unlockables. If you try to beat the ‘achievements’ the game sets and complete the levels within certain times or with certain scores, you start unlocking some odd vehicles.
No longer restricting you to bikes, the game suddenly decides it has no qualms in completely breaking itself by giving you a flying car, a flying bench(!) or even a bloody jumbo jet, destroying your stage clear times and making the game even easier than it already was.
Let me be clear. Vroom In The Night Sky is fucking terrible. I like it, but that’s only because I like things that are so bad they’re funny. If you’re looking for a genuinely accomplished game, get as far away from this one as possible because it’s almost embarrassing that the Switch has it in its launch line-up.
While I got a kick out of its pure shiteness, I couldn’t possibly recommend this game to anyone out of a sense of duty. Rest assured, unless you’re a glutton for punishment like me, you’ll be sorry you ‘buyed’ it.
Vroom In The Night Sky is available now on the Japanese and European Switch eShop for £7.99.
This review was not based on a review code, I purchased it myself with funds provided by my lovely Patreon followers. If you enjoyed this review and want to help me write them more frequently, please consider donating to my Patreon account.
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Fantastically funny review! You are fast becoming my favourite reviewer and your Switch launch coverage has been nothing short of ace. God knows how you’re finding any time for Zelda. This game looked awful when I first saw it and your review confirmed my fears. With Snipperclips and FAST RMX currently available I don’t see this doing good business.
I knew the game was shite as soon as the look of the level design gave me Superman 64 vibes
I don’t own a Switch but…I know I must play this game.
I feel like we’re kindred souls, because after reading your review I really freaking want this game. I have this strange fascination with it. Like I know it objectively looks pretty bad but I can’t help but feel curiously drawn to it.