**This review was written after playing through both the normal and alternative mode
Once you start the game, nothing else matters…until it ends.
This game first sparked my interest a couple months ago before the game’s release. After hearing of the game and learning that this would be the first atmospheric centered game on the 3DS with picture proof showing off its scenery and gameplay, I couldn’t help, but add this game the wishlist on my 3DS. Before actually playing the game, I had not actually known what this game would amount to. Was it at strategy puzzle game where I had to ultimately figure out a way to complete the stage or course? I sure had hoped it would be. What you actually get is something slightly different, inquisitively and just about satisfyingly different. This fact actually ends up working to the games advantage in some areas in hurting it in others. Let’s find out what exactly this game is shall we?
What is this game supposed to be?
In short: An “action-puzzle physics platforming game with unique challenges.”
The developers (Nicalis) say that it is “a two dimensional physics platform game.” The goal of the game is to maneuver a sphere through 10 worlds filled with “unique challenges and new surprises”
This isn’t just a game that is supposed to show of a nice physics engine; it’s also supposed to be “an action-puzzle game that offers an ambient gameplay experience unlike any other on 3DS with cerebral challenges that fill uniquely designed picturesque worlds. Each of these worlds is broken into different areas in which the player must maneuver a sphere by using realistic physics to advance. There are no enemies, no bosses, and no violence in NightSky.”
What did this game turn out to be?
In short: An atmospheric action-puzzle physics platforming game with unique challenges of sometimes epic proportions that could leave you searching for more.
NightSky is a 2D side-scrolling action-puzzle physics based platforming game where you maneuver a sphere across 10 uniquely designed worlds. This game has two skill levels: Normal and Alternative. Generally, Normal mode is preconceived to be for beginners and Alternative mode is preconceived to be for advanced players (As the game even states), but make no mistake, the developers designed this game in such a way that you’d be missing out on a valuable experience if you didn’t play through both skill levels (Preferably Normal mode first). Normal mode focuses on capturing your attention and holding it with its atmospheric music and scenic worlds. Each level of each word has its own unique scenery therefore causing you to literally stop and admire it along your journey. As far as the gameplay for this mode goes, you’ll be greeted with somewhat easy puzzles where, most of the time, you’ll be exercising your common sense. Considering all that was described above, after about ten minutes of game time, NightSky actually manages to mesmerize you. To put it into words, NightSky in Normal mode is like a digital spa.
However, completing normal mode is like leaving the spa with your towel on still soaked from the hot tub, it leaves you hanging (And wanting more), but this is where Alternative mode becomes more pertinent. Alternative mode features the same levels played in Normal mode that have been made significantly more challenging. It focuses on challenging puzzle gameplay where your creativity and problem solving skills will be put to the test and if that sounds intimidating to you, I’ll assure you that the rewards of figuring out how to complete even just 1 level are epic. Not fully getting the picture? Allow me to put this into perspective for you. In Normal mode World 2-1, all I had to do to complete the level was to push a large circle into a ditch so I could get to the next level without falling into that ditch had the sphere not been there. Alternative mode of World 2-1 had me using my knowledge of simple machines to figure out that I had to ride on that same large circle without falling off in order to get to the next level. In Normal mode, the average time it took me to complete a level was about 10 seconds to a minute. The average time for Alternative mode was about a minute to 3 minutes or more.
What they don’t tell you
In short: It lacks content.
The game is a little low on content and replayablitiy is sadly not as high as one would expect. In the moment, the game is a soothing blast, but once you beat all the worlds, the game doesn’t give you many reasons to come back. The game is fun within itself, but there are no scores and no times to beat. This fact just sounds depressing within itself. The ability to beat your fastest level or world completion time could have added to the challenge and could have given the game a higher replayability. The developers could have even gotten more creative and designed a point system based on how fast you complete a level where at the end of a world, you’re given a sum of your level scores. Or like in VectorRacing, they could have added an online ranking system where your scores/times are compared with other people who own this game. Nonetheless, it shouldn’t stop you from experiencing this game given the current facts.
In short: I recommend you give this game a chance with confidence.
NightSky is definitely a game developed by creative minds and I definitely think this game earns its spot as one of the best games in the eShop, but does the price justify the value? I think it’s safe to say that the price just barely justifies the value. $9.99 for a digital spa with uniquely and ingeniously challenging gameplay that leaves you hanging twice is kind of hard to pinpoint a justification on, but one thing I can guarantee is a good time.