3DS

North America

NightSky

by Neal Ronaghan - October 22, 2012, 9:54 am PDT
Total comments: 15

6

Worth the three-year wait?

NightSky, Nicalis’ third eShop release from developer Nifflas, feels like a tech demo showing off a new 2D physics engine. It’s a gorgeous, atmospheric tech demo, but feels like a smattering of ideas that don’t form anything too cohesive. The game seems haphazardly organized, with some concepts introduced once and barely used in any interesting manner.

You control a ball in the moody world, or, at times, a button, or some platforms—the game switches the object you direct from one vignette to the next, as you try to reach the end of 10 stages. Sometimes, with the ball, you can go fast or slow at the press of a button, and on several occasions you can change gravity. However, it’s not consistent; what you can do changes from area to area.

NightSky is beautiful, though, and its subtle 3D effect does wonders to suck you into the world, as does Chris Schlarb’s ambient music. The gameplay just lacks substance, and feels like a polished vertical slice of a more intriguing and expansive game. Some of the mechanics introduced, especially when you control weird vehicular contraptions, or the gravity starts switching, are engaging and challenging, but most puzzles are best solved by launching off a ramp at varying speeds to land on a platform. That’s not clever or interesting—it’s just trial and error.

The game includes a harder difficulty, dubbed Alternative Mode, which dispenses with tutorial pleasantries and presents a more challenging and interesting experience using the same level backdrops but changes the geography and layouts. Alternative Mode avoids most of the frustrations of the normal setting, but still retains its trial-and-error heavy escapades.

The wait for NightSky on a Nintendo platform has been long, and, unfortunately, may not have been worth it. While the graphical and aural presentation is worth celebrating, the actual gameplay comes up short, feeling like the primitive form of a much better game.

Summary

Pros
  • Great ambient music
  • Unique second playthrough
  • Wonderful atmosphere
Cons
  • Half-baked gameplay
  • Uninteresting puzzles

Talkback

Pixelated PixiesOctober 22, 2012

Great review.

I agree with everything you've said. Like you I found the actual gameplay to be severely lacking when I played it on Steam. This was a game I had been keeping an eye on for quite some time and had been waiting to see come to a Nintendo platform. I eventually broke down, however, and bought it on Steam as I was very curious about the game. Ultimately though I found the game to be unsatisfying. You put it best when you say it feels haphazard.

I really enjoyed the acoustic soundtrack, but other than that I found Nightsky to be altogether too insubstantial and inconsistent.

Art_de_CatOctober 22, 2012

Kinda disappointing to hear after waiting so long that it is lacking so to speak.  Had been waiting for this since it was supposed to be on wiiware. Maybe if it is cheap enough i will still get it though.....

This was a definite buy for me before I read this review. Then I remembered I got the PC version in one of the Humble Indie Bundles and went and downloaded it and played it for about 20 minutes. After that, I think I'm still going to buy this. Yeah, it's simple, and I could see how it feels like it could have been expanded upon and made into a much deeper game, but I had fun with it despite that, and I think it'll be a nice thing to have to kill a few minutes every now and then.

Pixelated PixiesOctober 22, 2012

There is one review of this game from a certain website, who will remain nameless, that I read a few days ago and which is absolutely ridiculous. While I can totally appreciate where others like insanolord are coming from, to give this game a perfect 10/10 seems down right scandalous.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I have a hard time seeing how this would get a 10/10 as a game that you play by any grading rubric. If you were judging just the style? Maybe.

This game isn't bad. I actually agree with J.P.'s conclusion, and having read my review and playing it on PC, I might have reached the same conclusion. It's just that it feels disjointed, and that makes it lackluster and boring for me. I enjoyed parts of my time playing it, but it wasn't long-lasting, and I fell asleep during it in an anti-Endless Ocean manner. Falling asleep while playing Endless Ocean late at night is a testament to how soothing it is. Falling asleep during a physics-based platformer seems preposterous.

azekeOctober 23, 2012

Played it years ago on PC.

It was kinda eh back then, i see nothing really had changed with transition.

It's too easy and you just breeze through screens so fast, atmosphere is lost on you. It's kinda neat though, visuals and ambiance. Of course once you unlock hard difficulty it gets more interesting, but i think by that time the game already lost me.

And there was something about hiring some semi-famous (cave story guy?) for this game's story, only to discover that it's extremely thin. Even Mario games have more substantial story than that.

I would have cared back then three (or two? i forgot) years ago, but Nicalis is just so outrageously slow with releases i can't feel nothing but slight annoyance.

acccOctober 25, 2012

It's an extremely well-made game. I don't think this review is unfair -- if the reviewer is someone who only enjoys games that feature a constant stream of in-your-face action, then he's probably not going to enjoy the soothing, atmospheric, slower-paced experience that this game provides -- but to suggest that it would be "preposterous" for somebody who likes these types of games to give it a 10/10 shows a lack of understanding of/respect for other peoples' opinions.

Quote from: accc

It's an extremely well-made game. I don't think this review is unfair -- if the reviewer is someone who only enjoys games that feature a constant stream of in-your-face action, then he's probably not going to enjoy the soothing, atmospheric, slower-paced experience that this game provides -- but to suggest that it would be "preposterous" for somebody who likes these types of games to give it a 10/10 shows a lack of understanding of/respect for other peoples' opinions.

I didn't say that. I said it'd be preposterous to fall asleep during a physics-based platformer. I said I don't see how it could get a 10/10, but that's not me saying that person is wrong or anything. It's just me saying I disagree, which is also what that person would say if they read my review.

Also, considering my review highlights how the atmosphere was my favorite part, I'm not sure how you can say I only enjoy in-your-face action games.

Did you read the review?

acccOctober 25, 2012

Quote from: NWR_Neal

Quote from: accc

It's an extremely well-made game. I don't think this review is unfair -- if the reviewer is someone who only enjoys games that feature a constant stream of in-your-face action, then he's probably not going to enjoy the soothing, atmospheric, slower-paced experience that this game provides -- but to suggest that it would be "preposterous" for somebody who likes these types of games to give it a 10/10 shows a lack of understanding of/respect for other peoples' opinions.

I didn't say that. I said it'd be preposterous to fall asleep during a physics-based platformer. I said I don't see how it could get a 10/10, but that's not me saying that person is wrong or anything. It's just me saying I disagree, which is also what that person would say if they read my review.

Also, considering my review highlights how the atmosphere was my favorite part, I'm not sure how you can say I only enjoy in-your-face action games.

Did you read the review?

I didn't say that you only enjoy in-your-face action games, I said that somebody who does probably isn't going to like this game. Considering your review highlights how the laid-back gameplay taking a back seat to the atmosphere was your main criticism, the only conclusion I can draw is that these types of games simply don't appeal to you.

Did YOU read the review? Did you read my comment?

PS what's your opinion of Knytt Stories?

I have yet to play Knytt Stories, but most of what I've heard/seen looks interesting.

Sorry, still sore about you linking my use of the word preposterous to something I didn't say.

NightSky is a game that, to me, lacks the substance to have the style make up for it. It's a laid-back game, but that's not why I dislike it. I dislike it because its disjointed. I dislike it because it feels like a tech demo and not a full game. I don't dislike it because its laid back.

Does that clear up your assertion?

Fatty_The_HuttOctober 25, 2012

@accc: In fairness, I think Neal has amply demonstrated a fondness for a great many varied styles of gameplay. Your posts imply he is narrow in his appreciations. This is not in any way true, which you will come to understand if you take time to read some of Neal's many, many reviews. I don't always agree with him but he knows his stuff.

I am disappointed that NightSky is $9.99. I want it to be $2 less but I'll likely buy it anyway.

Pixelated PixiesOctober 26, 2012

I have to agree with Neal.

Nightsky is a very stylish game, but it lacks the substance to make up for the style. It's stylish game with a great soundtrack, but the puzzles and gameplay are largely forgettable.

azekeOctober 26, 2012

Quote from: NWR_Neal

I have yet to play Knytt Stories, but most of what I've heard/seen looks interesting.

Oh, Knytt stories. Great game. There is also another game by the same guy called "Withtin the Deep forest" -- i liked it better back then because it gave you all abilities at once from the beginning.

I think it also exist as homebrew on DS...

LittleIrvesOctober 27, 2012

Within a Deep Forest is an awesome game.
As for NightSky, haven't played it yet but have looked forward to it for a long time. The asking price might be a bit too much, but I feel compelled to give it a whirl.
Let's average out the two reviews ...  10 + 6 / 2 = 8. A good score!

After spending some time with this, I think I like it. It's not challenging at all, and sometimes it's frustrating if you look at it from the perspective of what the game could have been if they'd taken the same mechanics and made more of a game with them, but I'm enjoying my time with it nonetheless. The asking price is a bit steep for what you get, but that rarely stops me.

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Genre Puzzle
Developer Nicalis
Players1

Worldwide Releases

na: NightSky
Release Oct 25, 2012
PublisherNicalis
RatingEveryone

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