So, this didn't plan out quite how I wanted. Originally, like a couple of you folks, I used random numbers to pick myself an awful game, and initially I was pleased with my choice. To my horror, it turned out to be only slightly below average! That's no good for a roasting! I was devastated.
- The original game:
I tried playing the random number game again, restricting it to under 40, and got Tennis
; but from the snippets on Metacritic, that just seemed to be lacking in features rather than bad
. At that point, I thought - sod it, go big or go home. I went big.
When I fired up this 17-Metascore delight, with a pint of 'gin liqueur' and tonic to ease the pain, I was greeted by chirpy jazzy music and a winged ball with eyes. 'Hi, I am a fairy "Cochin"!' it said. 'Are you the first time to play this game?' That's when I knew I was onto a winner. To be fair to the Vroom in the night sky
team, according to the 'Credit' there are five of them total, and it's clear that none of them were translators. The rest of my experience would suggest that they weren't graphic artists or games designers either.
I skipped the tutorial and plunged straight into this choice offering: by which I mean, I did what any sensible gamer does and went straight to Config. The game had been proudly talking up its HD Rumble capabilities on the eShop screen, so I turned it from 'Normal' to 'Violent'. I decided not to change the buttons so that B was 'OK' and A was 'NO' because I'm not an absolute monster.
Onto the stage select, then, since I didn't fancy 'learning driving technique' in the 'Driving School'. There are eight levels, although initially only 'Night Sky of the Lovely' is available. Picking the only motorcycle currently unlocked, the Magical Scooter 50 (and turning it pink because I'm a magical girl!), I finally got into the meat of the game, and what stunning meat it is.
I know the words 'looks like N64 visuals' get thrown around a lot, but in the trees' case that would be unfair to the N64. This looks like someone tried to use a PS1 to recreate some lumpy crap stuck to a lolly stick. Nonetheless, too many at once clearly exhausts the poor game, resulting in egregious pop-up and fade-in across the otherwise empty levels. Otherwise we have a flat green plane playing the role of 'grass', and a night sky background that phones it in more than a desperate priest calling a sex line. At least my girl Luna (or maybe Tsuki?) looks nice enough.
That's where the niceness ends. After a bit I realised that you press B to accelerate and A to brake, because somebody involved in this game was
an absolute monster. 'Accelerating' is putting is nicely, mind - your motorbike potters through the sky at an excruciating pace relative to course size. That timer on the shot above is almost representative: in the first level, it took me three minutes to drive through five gold tokens suspended in an empty sky. I've had faster walks through a crowded Sainsbury's while trying to social-distance.
The much-touted 'HD' Rumble does its best to compensate for the apparent lack of speed by roaring
the entire time. That's not HD Rumble folks. If your TV screen is flashing red and white until you get a seizure that doesn't make it 4k. It was a little better when I turned it down to Normal, but still hummed constantly, much like the game; and it didn't stop the constant engine noise from doing its best to blot out the music. Not that you're missing much, mind, because the same song plays on all of the first five levels. It's so forgettable I didn't realise until level 4.
The objective of the level is to drive your slow humming skybike into the gold tokens hanging in the air, opening the 'Magical Gate': driving through this ends Luna's suffering. No context is ever provided, and at least in the first three levels, there are no obstacles in the sky to make this more than 'point the bike, hold B, drink to forget'. In addition, as the ever-present Cochin says, 'There might be a stardusts.' These are grey crystals that maybe you're meant to hoover up as well, but you also seemed to get more 'stardusts' for finishing the levels quickly, and I wasn't up for working out the risk-reward dynamics on this dog turd of an experience. The collision detection seemed to have drunk more gin than I had: flying Luna's entire height below a token picked it up anyway. So that was nice.
(A side note: your bike runs on 'Magical Gasoline'. 'Magical Gasoline'.
Following on from 'Night Sky of the Lovely' was 'Night Sky of the Quiet Desert' (complete with polygonal skulls that, again, would make the N64 blush), and if you thought the above sounded exciting you ain't seen nothing yet. I was 4/10 tokens into the level when...
It's your rival Teruko-chan! She's here to steal the stardusts! OH MY GOOOOOOOD[/troll2]
As mentioned above, I wasn't really concentrating on the stardust. After I'd picked up my ten tokens without seeing her, though, I thought I'd go back and find out what she was up to. She was banging into a rock. Repeatedly. A couple of levels later I'd repeat the trick, to find her banging into a curb. A curb on a street. To repeat: your bikes can fly.
Teruko's appearance does open the way for even more wonderful dialogue. I've included some of the best moments below (also a snorter from the bike shop):
I say 'best', and while there's obviously some sarcasm there the dialogue (and bike descriptions) do have a weird charm to them, in an 'A WINNER IS YOU' kind of way. Like a dog that's shat all over the carpet rolling over for a belly rub, probably in its own shit. Trouble is, they repeat. They repeat a lot. Luna must have asked 'Who made magical bike?' at least ten times in playthrough. The factory level, which I only played once, saw the 'coff coff' exchange above repeat three times
. At this point the dog's bowels have exploded over two other rooms, the smell is unbearable, and the roll isn't cutting it any more.
I unlocked five of the eight levels through playing them one after the other, but the last three remained firmly locked to me. At this point, I thought I might as well try out the 'Driving School'. Turns out the game has a bit more depth than I'd given it credit for (at this point in the analogy, the dog's shat in the bathtub). You can fire missiles at your rival (no aiming required, natch), dash, do handbrake turns, or perform 'Magical Girl Turning' which... I'm still not sure what it is. Eventually I met the objective by chance, through hammering accelerate and wiggling the stick like a madman. Top design.
The stardust rewards from the 'lessons' allowed me to buy the second-fastest bike, which unlocked the later stages. At this point the game actually improved a bit: the boosted speed of the bike, combined with some actual different level music
, at least potty-trained the dog to some extent. None of that is an excuse for the last level, 'Night Sky of Chaos': the level 'designer' threw random bits of scenery from the other levels into a cityscape, doubled the number of star tokens, and sacked off for lunch. Of course I got nothing for clearing all the levels, because the entire game has 'sacked off for lunch' energy writ large all over it.
There's a part of me that worries that this isn't
just the low effort cop-out it looks like - that these five people maybe thought they really could make the game of their dreams, and this sorry excuse is it. That's a terrible thought. Better to assume that this is just laziness - the sort of laziness that leads people to use 'Magical Gasoline' sincerely.
Despite some occasionally amusing Engrish, this really is terrible. It's worse than that Troll 2
scene; it's almost definitely the worst game I've ever played. The best thing about it is that the Joy-Con, with 'HD Rumble' set to Violent and Luna vrooming through the night sky, could give someone one hell of an orgasm.