(WiiWare)

My Starry Night (WiiWare)

Game Review

My Starry Night Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

Star quality

Hudson's My Starry Night (or My Planetarium in North America) is very much the celestial cousin to their earlier WiiWare effort My Aquarium. It’s surprisingly informative, moderately entertaining and at a low enough price that it might entice you to take a trip through the heavens.

The game contains three modes: Observation, Celestial Guidebook and Planetarium Tour, with the first two interweaving neatly. Observation essentially presents you with a view of the stars as seen from Earth, and you can zoom in and out and pan around, taking it all in. You’re able to toggle lines joining the stars in constellations, their names and overlaid pictures of what they represent, and clicking on any name, star or constellation will bring up some brief information showing you its right ascension and declination.

There’s a surprising number of ways you can customise your view of the heavens. You can alter the magnitude required before a star will show up, letting you ramp up or dial down the number of visible stars, view the sky from a different city in the world – which accurately alters the sky above you – and change the time of day, atmospheric conditions and more. You can add up to 1,000 shooting stars every hour, accelerate the passage of time and generally experience a bit more depth than you’d probably expect.

Anything you spot in Observation mode is linked to the Celestial Guidebook, which provides more information about objects in the night sky. Here you can discover which stars make up each constellation and the mythology behind their namesake, useful if you don’t know your Ophiuchus from your Orpheus. Each name in the Celestial Guidebook is a link to that object’s page, making it surprisingly addictive to flick through the pages seeing how everything connects, but unfortunately it’s not so easy returning to the main menu, leaving you to skip backwards through the pages you’ve just seen if you want to look up something new.

The guidebook itself is available separately, letting you pick out any object without having to find it in the sky first, and with 365 different celestial objects to find you’ll be glad you can skip to the ones you’re interested in. There’s also a very helpful terminology guide to teach you the difference between a cluster and a nebula.

The last gameplay mode is the automated Planetarium Tour, which takes you through 11 different tours ranging from the signs of the Zodiac to the history of constellations. Although they're not all fully voiced, most featuring subtitles, they’re all sufficiently interesting to be worth clicking on and sitting through, and help to bring the first two modes together.

There’s a reasonable range of classical tunes to accompany your voyage through the stars, although we would have liked the ability to play files from an SD card. The presentation isn’t bad either, with clear menus and a good range of tweakable options to fiddle around with.

Conclusion

Like My Aquarium before it, My Starry Night isn’t for everyone. There’s precious little to do other than click on and read about stars, but the heavens are naturally intriguing and you could find yourself sucked in rather more than you expected. It’s not going to set the world alight but if you have even a passing interest in exploring the stars, and have always been frustrated by light pollution and cheap telescopes, this is well worth a shot.

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User Comments (20)

kurtasbestos

#2

kurtasbestos said:

Clicking around Wikipedia more or less at random reading about celestial objects is one of my favorite ways to accomplish nothing while I'm at work. I'm definitely going to download this, but the real challenge will be to see if I can convince my coworkers that I NEED to have a Wii and a TV at my desk for productivity.

turtlelink

#3

turtlelink said:

Now if they added planets and other galaxys around the universe, i would totally buy this!

fishman100

#6

fishman100 said:

I'm into astronomy, so maybe i'll look into this (sorry, another bad pun) and see what i can find (yet another terrible pun).

RantingThespian

#7

RantingThespian said:

I have had it for a few days now. I really do enjoy it! There really is a lot to look at here. It's very relaxing, and very informative. I also just like to scroll around the sky, and just look at stars, planets, nebulae, and constellations.

Really, if you are a star gazer, or into astronomy, I recommend it.

MeloMan

#8

MeloMan said:

I can imagine having a few folk over for a social gathering, while the constellations spin around on my TV. Plus I'm a space-fiend anyway, so this purchase is a shoe in for me.

GammaGames

#9

GammaGames said:

@ turtlelink, you can't see planets from other solar systems, if thats what you want. If you mean planets from OUR solar system, then they should have done that in the first place.

Maxsh

#15

Maxsh said:

I was hoping it would be good, Hudson haven't been as much of a shining star as they used to be. I hear the game is pretty atmospheric, but I'm not sure I'd end up playing it if I actually got it. It'd probably just be a waste of space.

</spacepuns>

Sean_Aaron

#17

Sean_Aaron said:

I'm glad the review justified the purchase I made yesterday before reading it! Definitely looks like fun. Shame about the SD card support, but you can always switch your sound system to your audio playback device of choice. I think I'll give this some time tomorrow night.

ueI

#18

ueI said:

@Majora: Does that mean Stellarium is better than this since you recommend it? Or are they completely different, because you said you love this? I don't mind if the program is in Spanish, so you don't have to worry about that.

Majora

#19

Majora said:

@uel
Stellarium is, for me, better than Celestia: simplistic, but more beauty and more friendly. My Starry Night is, for me, between Celestia and Stellarium. Not as beauty and overall refined than Stellarium, not as deep as Celestia, but with a lot more features than Stellarium. Planetarium Tour in My Starry Night is a relax astronomy and mythology class. And because I love Greek mythology, My Starry Night is the perfect companion to Stellarium: one in my PC, the other one in my Wii seated in the sofa. The only really bad with My Starry Night is music and sound. The first time I put it, I go to configuration menu to turn off both (only volume in voice for tours in Planetarium Mode). Stars looks better in silence.

My english is very, very bad. But I expect you can understand my reasons.

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