My love for golf began in my early life. I have never watched golf before or even attended it. No one in my family played it either. So this interest struck me without warning as I first played Mario Golf. It was during Christmas back in 2000. I got Mario Golf as a present and ended up playing it way too long that night. I recently discovered Golf Story for the Switch, and I enjoyed it ever since I first started it.
But wait, why do I keep on rambling about some golf games? Because in my opinion, Midnight Deluxe is somewhat like this. So I should love it! … Right?
You do not really have a big story in Midnight Deluxe. Actually, you got none. The moment I started that game, the title screen pops up while Gymnopedie No. 1 (we all know this piece too well) plays slightly in the background. Actually, the little square you take control of is a fairy called Midnight (didn’t see that coming!). That fairy has just one objective: to reach the set goal in a stage with a predetermined number of shots to land in the hole. And that’s it. As you start the game, a little tutorial pops up and introduces you to the gameplay. You are a little box… Sorry, a fairy, with a cute face. I said earlier that this is a “golf-like” game, so why a box? It’s so that box can stand where it belongs. But hey, at least the box is white like a golf ball!
While you try to shoot Midnight into the little glowing hole, each level will be accompanied by a calm piano piece playing along. The track is mostly faint and not rich in variation. In fact, the piano music just loops endlessly only changing when Midnight is sent to her death. Maybe that is why I found myself sometimes being annoyed by listening to the music and turned my volume down. It is not bad, not at all. But it’s nothing special either. It’s just something that remains in the background like music that plays along in a hotel lobby or during a very sad and depressing elevator ride. It plays over and over again no matter how often that door opens and closes.
This game has a dark colour scheme; everything is black and blue and sometimes a little grey, too. Except for little Midnight! Being a very bright white, she sets an accent between those eerie stages and the little accents drawn in the background. Or the mean eyes of creepy creatures hidden in the dark not attempting to make a move by themselves towards the protagonist.
Nothing spectacular happens in Midnight Deluxe. There is just a very edgy being that flies across the screen. In every stage, you can feel the love poured into the details by the developers regarding the level design. Some long grass will slightly flow in the wind, or big spider webs rest in the background hoping for that spider to be left hidden while you cross their paths.
For the Nintendo Switch port, developer Petite Games enhanced the graphics.
Midnight Deluxe is a port for the Nintendo Switch and contains both Midnight and Midnight 2. With a total of 70 stages, players will not run short on tasks after just a few minutes playing. Those who are familiar with the previous games might know that this port for Nintendo’s newest console offered 14 more stages than on the previous two titles combined. That’s a pretty generous addition.
The gameplay in this title is very simple. Midnight Deluxe allows the player to use either the touchscreen or the controller. If you decide to aim the little fairy with the analog sticks, you will need to press A to make her ready. Then you will need to use the left analog stick for your direction and determining how far our little hero should go. Finally, you press A again to fire her away!
To use the touchscreen is another good alternative. By simply placing your finger onto the screen, adjusting the direction with it as well and finally letting go, the player will have the same result as with the controller. Both methods work equally well, so if poor Midnight is shot straight to her doom, it really is only your fault. Obstacles like circular saws or enemies rolling after you mercilessly can lead this little fellow to certain death.
To stretch the golf comparison a little bit more, the stage has to be completed in as few shots as possible. Anyone just slightly familiar with golf knows what I am talking about. If you able to master the level with three stars onto your screen, then… Congratulations, you just passed it while taking the fewest shots possible!
Even though the game works well in both handheld and TV mode, I recommend playing in handheld mode and controlling the little box-fairy with the touch of your finger. It responds very well. I prefer it that way and found it somehow easier to control. If you find yourself rushing down into a saw or into the abyss, you can rescue Midnight by pressing X to immediately restart the level and save yourself from this depressing sight.
Believe me, I pressed X almost as often as A to shoot the box around the screen. The developers knew exactly why they implemented that function. Alternatively, you could push the + button to gain access to the menu and click on the option from there. Something that bothered me was not being able to record a video. After achieving the impossible, I would love to see that footage again (and brag a little, of course). You can take pictures at any occasion, though.
I had one issue with Midnight Deluxe after playing it for some time. The game froze. I could tap the screen or push every button multiple times, but nothing worked for me. I had to restart the game. Luckily it was just one time and didn’t ruin my experience, but it left a sour aftertaste.
Let’s be honest, I hated this game for the first 20 stages. It was a pain to play. Why? I have no answer for you. The controls are good and are highly sensitive. If you are just a bit off, Midnight will rush somewhere she does not belong. The audio is a little questionable. No sound effects like the whirring of the saws under you are to be found, and that might annoy you. Even Midnight herself floats through the air in silence.
I love old games and therefore a good challenge. I do not joke around when I tell you that Midnight Deluxe is a game with a good amount of difficulty. And somehow, I developed a love-hate relationship with my little fairy here. Awoken from its beauty slumber, my ambition kicked in somewhere around level 40. I could not give up on this game, was too stubborn to let those 30 remaining stages unbeaten. I wanted to see the ending and beat every single one of its stages.
And here we are, I did it. I felt satisfaction after beating the game. Although, truth to be told: if you hate this kind of game and cannot patiently try the same thing over and over again, stay away from this one. You will try to reach a platform several times (and by this, I mean more than twenty attempts). To proceed you have to do a tricky jump you never had done before. You will die then pick up at the starting point again. And again. And again.
* A review copy of this game was provided by Ratalaika Games.
70 level in total
Some parts are just frustrating
Video function not available
Nice, but slightly plain visuals