The first thing you'll notice when you start up NightSky is the title screen. It really says a lot about the game; you'll be able to hear a very quiet piece of peaceful music against a starry night sky backdrop. You'll have the option between Normal mode and Alternative mode; Normal has a helpful tutorial whilst Alternative features more complex puzzles (more on them later). NightSky starts off with a tiny amount of story, and while it isn't particularly needed, it does add significantly to the game.
The gameplay is deceptively simple. You control a sphere and you can roll around the silhouetted landscape using the Control Pad. Using left and right controls not the direction of the sphere, but the rotation, which is useful to know, especially for later puzzles. As you progress through the first area, you'll be told about special abilities this sphere can use, such as using the Y button to move faster.
The B button slows the sphere down so it doesn't move as much, and the X button resets the area so you can try again. At some points, the Y button doesn't speed up the sphere, but switches gravity. The sphere will float upwards, and controls are switched around when you're on the ceiling All of these abilities are very well done, they aren't overused. You see, sometimes, the sphere can't use its abilities. Sometimes you can't use B to stop, or Y to speed up. When they are used, they're used to solve puzzles of varying difficulty.
NightSky does an amazing job with the puzzles. The game starts off simple; it might make you push a box into a hole to create a way across the hole. It'll make this more challenging by getting rid of the Y button's speed up function; you can't crash into the box at full speed and send it flying. Later puzzles are more complex, and the A button is used. The A button will destroy certain blocks, allowing balls, planks, among other things, to fall. The complexity comes in pressing A in the right order; do you need to destroy that block first, or the other one? Other puzzles have timing involved, especially when there are moving platforms and the like. You'll need to be able to move the sphere just at the right moment to get past a certain obstacle.
Sometimes the sphere will get start the level inside a vehicle, such as a small car or flying machine. Controls might change slightly whilst inside a vehicle; for example, left and right are switched when in a car. The screenshot at the start of this review shows the sphere inside a small three-wheeled car. Flying machines and other similar contraptions are certainly interesting, you'll need to be able to find out how to control them perfectly in order to progress.
Speaking of progressing, to 100% complete the game and clear the final area, you'll need to collect secret hidden stars. The game features a star in the corner of the bottom screen, which appears when there is a star in the area you're currently in. They're hidden in small alcoves, and most require you to do something different with the puzzle; something you wouldn't normally do. To collect every star, try thinking outside the box. Once you collect every star, the final section of the game unlocks.
Then there's the music. It's the kind of music which is so quiet and calming that if there's pretty much anything else going on around you, you probably won't hear it. But that's the point. It's meant to be quiet. It's perfect for such a peaceful game. A lot of people get annoyed at games when they have to do things over and over again. I'm used to be one of those people, but NightSky changed me. It's so relaxing and peaceful, with simple controls and calming music that I wouldn't care if I had to do the exact same section five hundred times.
Not to mention it's stunning to look at. The background will feature a different fantastic looking area with each section of the game you're playing. One area has a lovely looking sunset backdrop, whilst another has the starry night sky itself. They're all equally brilliant, and compliment the black silhouetted foreground superbly. Some areas are played during the rain, and this makes for an especially nice feeling; seeing the rain in the background and hearing the pitter-patter sounds.
Being a 3DS eShop title, NightSky does use 3D, albiet very subtly, which isn't a bad thing. The background sits a ways away from the foreground, giving you a calming sense of depth to the entire experience. Of course, this means the game takes place pretty much exclusively on the top screen. The bottom screen displays a small overview of the planet you're on, and the name of the place you're in, but that's as far as it goes. These two points might seem negative, but there's no need for the game to be more 3D than it is already, or feature gameplay on the touch screen.
Right, I think I've said all there is to say about NightSky, and there aren't any negatives as far as I can see. The only downside I can possibly think of is the length of the title; it is slightly short. However, with two different modes and plenty of secret stars to find, there's plenty to do in NightSky. And what more could you ask for? NightSky features astounding visuals and great sounds, not to mention the relaxing gameplay. I recommend you pick up and play this stunningly peaceful title as soon as possible. You definitely won't be sorry! +Daniel Godfrey
9/10 - An amazingly calming game, and another very impressive game by Nicalis. If you want a game with a deep experience and a relaxing style, NightSky is very much the game for you.