Ever since seeing Harry Potter, I thought it would be fun to fly on a broom going around Hogwartz to have the ultimate experience. Sure there have been shows and movies about the idea, but there really have not been that many games when it comes to witches and brooms and especially in Virtual Reality. Do does developer, UNIVRS. Inc show us what it’s like to race broom race around? Let’s find out with Little Witch Academia: VR Broom Racing for PlayStation VR.
For those who may not be aware, Little Witch Academia: VR Broom Racing is based on the Japanese show, Little Witch Academia. You play as a new guest at Luna Nova Magical Academy which recently had a sudden change with an unexpected overflow of previously scarce magic power. So along with practicing with Akko and the other students, to help get rid of this excess magic is to, of course, ride booms and fly. In other words racing. Now before you get started, make sure your DualShock 4 controller is completely charged as that is the only controller that can be used, find your favorite chair, and get ready for the racing.
As we are introduced to Akko who is very enthusiastic, is here to show you around as you get to learn how to fly on the broom. Keeping your head forward will start your broom which will glow blue, tilting the Dualshock 4 upwards will allow you to ascend, and tilting it downwards, will make you descend. If you feel that you need to put on the brakes some, hold down the L1 button making your broom grow red. I will say for the first time playing, it may take you just a few seconds to get used to everything. Luckily, the first time on the broom is just really to show how things work.
One thing you will notice when racing on the brooms is that they are not difficult and pretty easygoing. You will fly through the rings of magic that will allow you on to new parts of the track. Don’t worry if you get off course, as you will be right back on course to continue on as you should. Something that most players will be familiar with is the special items on the track that can be picked up for boost or causing the other opponents to slow down. The items really didn’t matter as much as I found I was either in first or second place each time. There are also ghosts on some of the tracks where you will need to fire at them, which sometimes worked, and sometimes the shots would be missed. You do receive a score after each race that is rated on your place, the time it took to complete the laps, and the percentage of rings that you went through along with stage rewards with Luna Points based on placement, rings acquired, and max combos used. These points are used to buy new items such as upgrading brooms.
For the times where you are not racing, you will be talking with the other students and I mean a lot of talking which happens in between races. Fans of the series that is on Netflix should find enjoyment in the total package from the communication between the characters such as Diana and Lotte, for example, to the actual broom racing. But what others who may not be familiar with the series, may find some enjoyment in is the racing and upgrading aspect of things. There is also a multiplayer portion of the game called “Free Flight Mode”, but I attempted a handful of times and just could not find anyone on.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. The animation for the game is good and comes through very nicely on PlayStation VR. Each character has their own personality that fans of the show will surely appreciate. When racing, the movement was not so fast that you could not make out anything and those who may be a little prone to motion sickness should know that there should not be any issues here. Listening to the sound is pleasant as you can hear the piano playing with different musical instruments that I found to be quite enjoyable. The voices are done by the original cast, which again, for fans of the show, should be in for a treat to play.
There are a few things that I would have loved to see. For one, it just feels like the tracks with the different objects are missing something. Maybe if additional powerups and spells could be added to give it some variety, it could help. Second, I know the multiplayer is free flight, and even though I didn’t get to personally experience it, it just seems like something more like different modes could be added. And finally, different control options. Imagine being able to use the Move controllers where you could hold one like a broom and use the other to shoot the ghosts or even use the 3dRudder for movement would be a welcomed addition to the mix.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to see if I can find anyone is on to finally check out Free Flight.