Midnight (Wii U) Review

By Aria DiMezzo 13.05.2015

Review for Midnight on Wii U

If it sounds familiar to use a touch screen to set the trajectory and speed of an object, which then catapults across the level toward a specific target, it's probably because it is: that's Angry Birds. That another company would borrow this basic formula isn't surprising or necessarily bad, but when that formula is borrowed and all of the elements that made Angry Birds fun are removed, the experience becomes very similar to driving a vehicle with four flat tires—or with no tires at all. That experience is Midnight, of which Cubed3 reviews for Wii U.

Like Adventure on the 2600, the hero of the game is a little square against barren backgrounds and a limited music score. Unlike Adventure, and much more like Angry Birds, there are no conventional controls in this game; instead, the touch screen is used to draw a line, and the square then catapults across the level and, hopefully, toward the goal. This line can be drawn anywhere, which is interesting, though it takes a while to get used to, but it is extremely difficult to draw the correct angle and length (because the length of the line determines the square's speed when it is launched) without using the square as a starting point.

Screenshot for Midnight on Wii U

The controls are unfairly precise, particularly on such a small screen, and a stylus is absolutely required. For the first half a dozen levels, Midnight is pretty forgiving, but beyond that requires pinpoint accuracy, because there will be traps à la Super Meat Boy surrounding the goal. On the last two-thirds of Midnight, getting to the goal at all is a feat worth celebrating, but completing each stage will earn stars: making the fewest possible moves will earn three stars, making one or two extra moves will earn two, and making too many will earn only one. The screen that awards these stars is lifted straight from Angry Birds, though Petite Games did at least recolour it.

Considering that Angry Birds is available on the Nintendo Wii U eShop, only the much lower price tag justifies Midnight's existence. Truth be told, Midnight is a game that shouldn't exist. It isn't played by doing anything cool, like blowing up pigs or smashing houses; instead, it is played by launching a plain white square across the stage to a glowing spot.

Screenshot for Midnight on Wii U

Midnight's potential is ruined by extreme difficulty and the frustration it causes. Though Angry Birds becomes very difficult halfway through, it had the bonus of allowing the player to see the arc of the last trajectory. Midnight has no such feature, so when a stage is replayed following a death, there is no way to see what was done on the previous attempt and to then alter it slightly. Considering how precise the angles and line lengths have to be, starting one-third of the way through the game, a faded line showing the last attempt would at least cut down on the number of times each stage had to be replayed just to get one star, much less two or three.

There are plenty of traps to kill the square-shaped hero, and hitting any of them, or going beyond the level's edge, will cause the level to restart. As long as the square stays within the confines of the level and doesn't hit any traps, it is possible to just continue trying from wherever the square lands, though one star is practically guaranteed by doing that. Besides that, though, is that, halfway through the game, failing to land in the correct spot almost always means death. Death is accompanied by a brutally jarring piano chord that created a kind of game out of frantically tapping the redo button before the grating noise could play again.

Screenshot for Midnight on Wii U

Drawing straight lines to launch an object along a curved trajectory doesn't make Midnight any easier, but the physics usually do their part to provide predictable behaviour for the square as it flies and bounces around. This is not always the case, however, and some levels are seemingly designed to cause as much frustration as possible, like level seventeen. It requires ricocheting the square off a series of walls in ridiculously precise ways, while repeating a given line doesn't always yield the same result.

The most critical aspects of extremely difficult games like Midnight and Super Meat Boy is that failure should feel like the result of player actions. While that is true in Super Meat Boy, Midnight fails to provide the tools necessary and a physics engine predictable enough to deliver that experience. The result is frustration, not because Midnight is difficult to play well, but because Midnight is just difficult to play.

Screenshot for Midnight on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

The description found for the score "3/10" says it best: Midnight is terribly executed, and it's a mystery why Petite Games even begun development. However, the description for "2/10" also mentions that it might be a "quick and dirty port." Midnight feels like a quick and dirty port of Angry Birds, reminiscent of the Atari 2600 port of Pac-Man. In fact, that is the best way to describe Midnight.

Developer

Vilmos Gyokeres

Publisher

Petite

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10 (1 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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