Friday, March 9

Review: Midnight Deluxe [Nintendo Switch eShop]


What I’ve found reviewing well over 200 indie games so far is that gaming in this space can be all about the unexpected. 36 Fragments of Midnight, for all of its visual appeal, was a bit of a mess mechanically and incredibly shallow. When I saw news on Midnight Deluxe, and got a glimpse of its very familiar visual look and feel, I let out a bit of sigh at what could be on its way. Much to my surprise, though I still wouldn’t consider Midnight Deluxe a revolution of any kind, the result is a sharp turn in a new direction while making use of the very attractive visuals of the original to make something different.


Perhaps a better name for the game, that would more clearly convey its style of play, would be Midnight Mini-Golf Deluxe. While it isn’t really a golf game per se the fact is that your goal is to transport your little square dude into a notch cut into a mound in the ground. Additionally, in order to do this you’ll be choosing an angle of attack as well as a level of power that will be used to propel yourself around the screen across 70 levels.

In order to make things a bit more interesting there are a pretty wide variety of obstacles and impediments that will try to make your life tougher. Whether it is the weird furry dudes falling towards the hole and forcing you to act quickly, buzzsaws, springy surfaces, narrow passages, or any combination of these and other elements there is a fair amount of variety to help keep things challenging. This does lend a more puzzle-like feel to some levels as you’ll need to figure out what sequence of tasks you’ll need to complete in order to even get to the hole, and the effort is appreciated.


All of this can be done with either the joycon or the touchscreen, but oddly I found it easier to get consistent results with the joycon since I could feel the amount of resistance pulling it back a certain amount. With no visible gauge or cues to help you understand your level power beyond the arrow extending out getting longer (or the angle for that matter) precision can be a real challenge. This is a bit of a pity since there are levels you’ll likely spend quite a bit of time dying on as you try to work out the precise angle and power you’ll need all while struggling to get a grasp of precisely what you have done to know precisely what you need to change.

All things considered for the pretty low asking price Midnight Deluxe isn’t too bad a game if this sort of experience is what you’re looking for. It will certainly take some time to get through all of the game’s 70 levels, and if you choose to go back and be efficient to earn 3 stars on every level (though I don’t see where that would be appealing), you could obviously extend its life further. Considering the previous iteration of Midnight on the Switch this is a far better implemented and polished, even if a bit bland.


Score: 6.5

Pros:
  • Attractive visuals
  • Low, low price
  • Implemented reasonably well with 70 varied levels to challenge yourself with

Cons:
  • The lack of anything aiding with precision in your aiming can make some levels frustrating
  • While there’s touchscreen support the lack of precise aiming makes the joycon resistance helpful enough to make it more practical to use
  • Though nothing is glaringly wrong with it, overall it is a bit bland to play