Title: Little Witch Academia: VR Broom Racing
Release Date: October 13, 2020
Reviewed On: Oculus Quest 2
Genre: VR Racing
I’m really not sure what VR gamers look for in their VR games outside of immersion, but I’m the type to get motion sick when the action picks up. Now, as a fan of Little Witch Academia, I was looking forward to hanging out and racing with this charming cast of magical witches in Little Witch Academia: VR Broom Racing, but I was not as eager to fly around on a broom only to have my face in a bucket minutes later. Luckily, that didn’t happen, but at the cost of some limited grand moments.
Little Witch Academia: VR Broom Racing has players assume a new student who is lending a hand in dispelling a large magical presence in the region. To contain the magical energy, the witches must fly their brooms in excess and use up the built-up magic. To make it a bit more fun, they’ve turned the whole event into a tournament.
Throughout the game, players will head out on 12 missions and then take on the cup. The story segments will take place across missions, but this is downplayed a bit as there are no stakes on the line or antagonist pulling strings. It’s very light-hearted in that regard and can be completely skipped if you wish. However, that would mean you miss the game’s awesome voice over Japanese and English audio with the original cast. It sounds great and they each playoff their already established personalities in a witty manner.
The racing itself requires you to assume that you have a broom between your legs and a wand in your hand. You are expected to really sell this idea because if you try to cheese it, I assure you, you will get sick. During racing, you will zoom through rings and collect items that provide you with a boost or a curse. However, those are really the only items available, which was strange for a game based in a world of magic. What sucks is that the cursed item even works on those who are in the last place, which I felt was a little unfair. I just hope this is fixed when online gameplay is patched in.
The race occurs in segments where you’ll ride into multiple portals that take you to the next segment. They never get overly complicated, but you should play the game on a spinning chair because you’re required to make sharp turns at times. The racing itself is fun if you allow yourself to get into it. The characters make some repetitive interactions throughout the race, but they don’t last long enough for it to get annoying. It’s just so cute in a simplistic way.
Any roadblocks that you hit can be fixed by purchasing brooms and customizing them with crystals that can be purchased. You’ll gain funds for these items after races and even more by completing optional objectives. The customization is basic but does make a huge difference in races, and navigating the menus is exceptionally user friendly.
The entire gameloop is pretty much talking to characters and then racing. However, you can get a little closer to characters by racing with them multiple times to unlock affinity with them. It’s great fan service for those who have favorite characters. Still, the races themselves are so easy at times that it’s tough to feel like you accomplished something.
Little Witch Academia: VR Broom Racing has character models that match these beloved characters perfectly. The race environments, on the other hand, aren’t anything to write home about. This isn’t a huge deal, though, because you barely spend that much time in each segment, and you’re probably too focused on getting through the rings to notice what’s going on around you.
The sense of immersion itself has been downplayed in a way as much of the game takes place right in front of you. There’s little interaction with the world or characters outside of them talking to you, and you answer some questions. The racing itself provides some sense of it, but I never felt like I was action flying through the air. However, I didn’t get sick, which I am so grateful to the developer for.
Little Witch Academia: VR Broom Racing is a great experience for fans of the series as it doesn’t over-promise what it is, a Broom Racing VR game with Little Witch Academia characters. You know exactly what you’re getting yourself into, and there’s a decent customization system added for good measure. It’s a simple experience that doesn’t push itself too hard but does enough to be fun for a few laps around Luna Nova Magical Academy.
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