The Nintendo Switch game library is off to a very highly-praised start – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been making almost every man/woman/cat alive positively burst with glee and we've been loving games such as Snipperclips and Fast RMX here at Nintendo Life HQ. But unfortunately amongst the gems there have to be some pebbles – the kind of pebbles that fail to skim beautifully across the surface of the water, but rather the kind that sink right to the bottom of the ocean, never to be seen again.
Vroom in the night sky - we're not sure why capitalisation is ignored in the game title - is a pebble (we really hope you didn't skip that first paragraph or this will make no sense at all). From the moment you turn it on things seem pretty bad; the awful translation from Japanese to English (which is a consistent issue throughout the game) greets you with "Are you the first time to play this game?". With Vroom in the night sky being developed by a small independent team in Japan who were likely on a very small budget, we were willing to forgive this in part, but the issues continued.
As it was our first time playing we were offered a tutorial – but whether we chose 'Yes' or 'No', 'No' was selected for us. After a few moments of confusion, a trip to the game's settings showed that the 'B' button is used to make selections, with the 'A' button being used to go back or select 'No'. When you get stuck into the game's levels this starts to make a bit more sense, but this was a minor and early indication of flawed communication and design in this title.
Once you're all set up and ready to go you are informed that you are a "Magical Girl", with the task of flying through magical worlds on a "magical bike" which uses "magical gasoline". It's pretty magical. Your goal is to enter each level and collect every Keystar – the number of which varies slightly from course to course – before flying through a hoop. Completing a level earns you stardust (more of which can be picked up as you fly through each course) which in turn can be spent on new bikes and other vehicles. Different vehicles offer slightly altered speeds and handling, which are essential for completing the game's achievements and can unlock later levels, of which there are eight in total. Unfortunately, the levels themselves are pretty unattractive, dominated by ugly polygons that are rather bland and repetitive, meaning that each new place you visit doesn't fill you with the wonder that the characters suggest throughout.
Flying your bike is very simple, with the 'B' button being your accelerator (hence why the menu control scheme makes slightly more sense after a while), 'A' being your brake and the left control stick being used for direction. Pressing 'A' and turning at the same time can sometimes pull off handbrake-turns that generate more points – almost like a drift-time accumulator in driving games – which is also essential for some achievements. You do have a limited supply of petrol, however this takes an incredibly long time to run out – so long that we never went down to any lower than 90% in any level – and can be refilled whenever you like anyway by driving through a beam of light in the centre of the stage, making the whole thing rather pointless.
Eventually in each level a rival appears, declaring that she will steal all of the stardust for herself. Whilst you'd think that this would give you some incentive to rush around and try to beat her to it, in actuality the stardust eventually regenerates anyway so you can just wait to collect it if you're bothered enough. This is ironically where the most "magical" part of the game comes to light, however, as once your rival appears a conversation sparks up between the characters resulting in some highly entertaining translation errors. Sometimes they can be small, cute mistakes where it is easy enough to decipher what was meant to be said, but other times they leave you wondering what on Earth could possibly be going on. Errors should not be the most entertaining part of a game, but in this case we'll take what we can.
Vroom in the night sky offers so little content and such poor communication that it is hard to think of any reasons to recommend this to anyone. Technically the game works – there are no major bugs or glitches, levels and items unlock as you'd expect and pressing accelerate makes your bike go forwards – but that doesn't make it enjoyable.
Steer clear of this one and save your hard-earned cash for other titles that deserve your attention.