Night Sky (Hands-On) (Nintendo 3DS) Preview

By Mike Mason 04.10.2009

Review for Night Sky (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Night Sky is hypnotic and addictive. It's a 2D ball-rolling game, an accurate description that does not sound nearly as exciting as the game actually is. It's one of those rare games that absorbs you before you even realise how much you're enjoying it.

The point of the game is simply to travel across the land. Any obstacles you come across can be overcome with a combination of your limited powers; how you balance the ball, the velocity at which you're travelling, when you choose to apply traction, the way the gravity is pulling. The concept at the heart of it is extremely straightforward, which is probably what makes it all so compelling - once I began playing I was there for the rest of the day. Alright, so that was only another half hour, but bear in mind that I didn't test Lost Winds 2 so that I could keep playing this.

The style of Night Sky is another part of its appeal. Against a backdrop of night sky pastel, your 'character', any environment and obstacles are displayed in stark black silhouette. Only the occasional white appears to outline separate parts of objects or eyes on blob creatures, and your central orb possesses a core that lights up in different colours to signify which power you are currently using, if any. It complements the to-the-point gameplay superbly, as does the use of the remote in NES configuration. Currently movement is on the d-pad, but in the final game motion - Excite Truck-style - is planned as an additional option.

To get you into the game, early sections involve you doing nothing more than holding the 2 button to raise your speed and bombing it over ramps so that you can land safely on the other side of gaps. Additional powers are carefully layered as time goes on, so just a few screens later you will begin to use your 'brakes' (the 1 button) to ease your way up hills or stop other unwanted descents. Gravity will come into play on certain screens next; hold the 2 button to switch the gravitational pull of the screen to come from the ceiling, which tugs you upside down so that you might get around problematic floors, your movement controls reversing in the process. It is not a mistake to write that the 2 button is used for more than one function; the abilities available to you vary from screen-to-screen. You are rarely explicitly told which you can use at any one time - though in the demo an on-screen controller layout told you which buttons themselves were usable on each screen - but it is very easy to gauge by quickly tapping the buttons to see what colour you light up: red is brake, blue is speed, purple is gravity.

Screenshot for Night Sky (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Later still, you will be asked to use the A button to activate things essential to progression such as cannons, which shoot out vital blocks to pile up or bounce off other elements, or lifts to open access to different areas of the screen. This is where the puzzle elements come in; you have to carefully manipulate movable objects to either plug gaps for you to roll over or as impromptu ramps to boost yourself to higher ground. The final element that I saw was the addition of vehicles. Pop the ball into the middle of the carriage and you become a gear in the machine, turning the wheels manually. Naturally, you have to spin backwards to make them turn forwards and vice versa. Mix this with gravity and your controls are reversed twice, which makes them exactly the same as standard but somehow feels far more clever.

Nicalis made sure to point out that the music was a big element missing from our playtest due to the noise of the room at Nintendo's event. So I stuck my head up against the screen and had a quick listen to some very sober, atmospheric chimes that sound as though they will fit in nicely with the rest of the game.

Screenshot for Night Sky (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Final Thoughts

Night Sky looks to have struck a nice balance between simplicity and complexity. Though it's easy to grasp, there is a huge potential for ridiculously difficult puzzles later on; considering this was a demo build, there were still a couple of slightly taxing moments, and it would be disappointing to see this not expanded further. This is exactly what downloadable games should be all about.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


This really looked like it would be right up my street, but by that time I'd been awake for something like 40 hours straight and my eyes were f* I missed out on trying it, sadly Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Do we know a price yet?

Nicalis is toying with that at the moment. It wants as many people to play the game as possible, so won't rule out an 800-1,000 price-point...on the other hand, it has seen just how well World of Goo has managed to do for a whopping 1,500 Points.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Hm, I just realized what a weird name 'Night Sky' is for a game like this.

It was originally just called 'Night Game', which would have been even stranger Smilie

Nicalis also has Cave Story and La Mulana on the way for WiiWare, so it's definitely a company to keep a close eye on. The guy Mike and I got to chat with at the event was quite a character - really nice chap and very funny!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses
Guest 13.10.2009#6

Nifflas should have just given it a Swedish title like Knytt, sounds better in my opinion. But anyhow, this will be the reason for me to get a Wii if it will not be released for PC that is. I'm sure this will be a beautiful game and by that I'm not just or even talking about the graphics.


Comments are currently disabled

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Azuardo, Ofisil

There are 2 members online at the moment.