REVIEW: Kira Kira Star Night DX

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

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Kira Kira Star Night DX | Box
Title Kira Kira Star Night DX
Developer Riki
Publisher Columbus Circle
Release Date October 3rd
Genre Music platformer
Platform Famicom
Age Rating N/A
Official Website

Nope, this is not a retro review, but rather a new 2016 release. Kira Kira Star Night DX is a new indie Famicom game, released on a physical Famicom cart that captures the look and feel of those old Famicom cassettes really well. They even made a cute little manual for it. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s far from it.

Kira Kira Star Night DX | Cart

Welcome to the family!

Part of the reason this review took me so long to write is because it took me three systems to get this thing to work. It wouldn’t work on my RetroN 5 and it would not work on the Retro Freak I bought not too long ago, despite the Play-Asia page stating that it is recommended to play this game on it. Finally, I borrowed my friend’s RetroN 5 and it worked, but the system still did not recognize it. Even worse, the PCB seems very thick in comparison to my other famicom carts. When I put it into the Retro Freak it had a very tight fit, to the point I was worried if the game would break the pins in the connector. This is NOT okay!

Kira Kira Star Night DX | Title

When you start up the game you are greeted to a rather nicely animated little girl named Fami-chan. There really isn’t much story in the game. You can check the website for a more detailed plot summary but honestly, it wasn’t even in the main game. To be fair, a lot of games of that era were like this too, so maybe that was the point. The game looks great, with plenty of parallax scrolling, very well detailed backgrounds and a cute Fami-chan sprite that is also very well animated. The music is also very catchy and probably the closest we will come to having chiptuned J-pop on an 8-bit console. It all adds up to a game that is very colorful and great on the eyes. The problem is the gameplay is very bare bones. The goal is simple: the level is constantly scrolling to the right and you have to collect a certain amount of falling stars before the time limit runs out. You can perform both a low jump and a high jump. Do this for nine levels and you will get to the credits! There are no enemies or obstacles for you to avoid in any of the levels. This leads to an incredibly short game as I started at 9:56 and was at the credits by 10:57.

While it was not uncommon for games of this era to be short, I felt many of those games accomplished more in spite of their brevity. Kira Kira Star Night DX however does not. Other than a basic combo system that rewards you more points for not missing a star, jumping for stars is literally the only thing you are doing for the entire game. The only replay value this game offers is a slightly higher difficulty level and an unlockable debug mode via a code that lets you listen to the music and select stages among a couple other bonus options. The code is revealed to you at the end of the credits and you need to enter it on the title screen each time you want to access the menu, so be sure to write it down.Kira Kira Star Night DX | Screenshot 2There is nothing wrong with a game that decides to be simple and, for what it’s worth, the game is playable and even kind of fun for a couple minutes thanks to the great music and visuals. However, this cartridge costs over $40! That’s INSANE for a game without much depth like this one and even worse, has trouble working on the suggested hardware! Apparently it isn’t even that I got a “bad” copy of the game, as I read some users were experiencing and reporting similar issues. While I certainly respect the developers for creating a new Famicom game and releasing it in 2016, this is the kind of release that I can’t imagine appealing to many people outside of the most hardcore of collectors.  There is also a PC CD-ROM version of the game that contains a self-executing NES emulator with the ROM, but I can’t find any links to purchase that version. The sad part is, this kind of release likely didn’t get a huge print run, and it’s probable that these cartridges will become difficult to come by down the road, so if you are interested you should pick up a copy. Riki really should look into porting this to Steam or even mobile devices. I feel like this game would work better on those platforms but as is, I have a very hard time recommending Kira Kira Star Night DX. It taps into the nostalgia of having a new 8-bit console game, but ultimately leaves you wanting more and underwhelmed.

Review Score

Review copy provided by Play-Asia. If you would like to snag a copy for yourself please use the affiliate link below:

About Justin Guillou

Justin joined Operation Rainfall to share his passion and knowledge for some of the more obscure video games out there.