Developer: Petite Games
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Price: $4.99 / £4.99
Reviewed by Phil Myth
Midnight Deluxe is the latest bitesize, budget game to grace the Switch. There's an increasing number of titles that appear to be the sort of fare usually at home on mobile showing up on the system, and they're often of questionable quality and/or value. That said, the previous game in this series, 36 Fragments of Midnight, was a fun and addictive little platformer, so how does the follow up stack up?
Midnight Deluxe is more of a straight up puzzler than it's predecessor, which essentially sees you playing crazy golf with the eponymous white square. By holding A and tilting the joystick, you can adjust the angle and power of Midnight's trajectory. Alternatively, in handheld mode, you can also drag your finger across the Switch's touchscreen. They're simple controls, but they work how they're supposed to.
There are 70 stages in the game, and each one has the same goal: get Midnight into the shining hole in as few moves as possible. Blocking your way are numerous obstacles, including spikes, lasers, and buzzsaws. There's actually an impressive variety of challenges to overcome throughout the game, and it's rare that any of the stages feel familiar.
There's straightforward, hit Midnight towards the goal fare, as well as some light platforming style levels, and even some where you've got to react quickly less Midnight perishes. A handful of stages also add rudimentary puzzle elements, with switches to be hit or moving parts that need to be triggered to unlock the goal. This variety helps keep things interesting as you play through, which is kind of crucial given that player input is so rudimentary.
Each stage rewards you with 1, 2 or 3 stars, depending on how many moves it took you to complete. This offers some incentive to replay each level in an attempt to earn all 3 stars. Fortunately, if you mess up in the process, a simple tap of the X button will reset the level instantaneously. This is incredibly handy as many levels require a precise angle to make it through an obstacle. It's usually immediately obvious if you're going to make it or not, so being able to reset at the press of a button lessens the frustration when you mess up.
Learning from your mistakes
Frustration does set in from time to time though. As nothing tracks the angle of your previous effort, you can find yourself throwing Midnight into spikes relentlessly, trying to find the correct trajectory. More often than not, when you do hit upon the sweet spot, it's down to sheer luck more than any sort of precision on your part, eliminating any sort of satisfaction you might feel from pulling off the correct shot.
Every move is trial and error, but without a means of tracking your errors, it's pot luck as to where you place the next trial. Still though, those moments when you successfully pull off a hole in one can induce a smug grin or two.
Visually the game is identical to the previous title, with the silhouetted terrain softly lit by Midnight's ethereal glow. It's a basic but undeniably pretty art style. This aesthetic is complemented nicely by a dreamy piano motif in the background, setting the whole vibe of the game off nicely.
Much like it's predecessor, Midnight Deluxe doesn't do a whole lot, but what it does do, it does well. There's a wide variety of challenges to overcome, and the genre-standard 3 star scoring system offers some incentive to play through the stages again. Without a way of tracking your previous efforts, it can be a little frustrating at times, but there's just enough charm here to see the game through.
Pros & Cons
+ Pretty presentation
+ Wide variety in the levels
+ Quick resets
- Frustrating trial and error
- Often more luck than skill