After being available on PCVR and Oculus Quest for a while, Little Witch Academia: VR Broom Racing is finally out for PlayStation VR.
I’ve seen a few episodes of Little Witch Academia and have always found the show entertaining and light-hearted to watch, even though it’s clearly aimed at a younger audience.
For that reason, when I got an opportunity to review a VR racing game from this beloved franchise, I was thoroughly excited to delve into its captivating world and see what the game would have to offer.
The story begins with you arriving at Luna Nova Magical Academy as a new guest student. You have enrolled at the school to participate in a series of magical activities to help get rid of excess magic overflowing from the mystical ley lines. The quickest way to expel this built-up magic is to jump on a broom and fly across the land, but to make things a bit more interesting, this is done by participating in races.
The races themselves are pretty simple. You fly your broom through numerous magical rings located throughout the track, and at various points, you will fly into teleporting rings that will transfer you to the next part of the course until you reach the finishing line. To move across the path, you’ll lean your head forward and tilt your DualShock controller in the direction you want to move. On the surface, this may sound strenuous, but it wasn’t too bad and felt pretty natural after a race or two. Although it did require me to do some tight turns on occasions, that involved me moving the DualShock controller pretty far in a particular direction.
Thankfully, if at any moment you go too far off the course, you will be instantly repositioned back onto the track and can continue the race from there. Initially, I was hesitant I would perhaps get dizzy or disoriented from the speed of the races, but this didn’t happen whatsoever, and the pace was reasonably balanced even after getting a faster broom when progressing further into the campaign.
During the race, you can obtain items that will enable you to cast spells to give you speed boosts, or you can slow down your opponents. Unfortunately, this did not make much of a difference to the race results. Instead, it felt like an underused feature that would have hugely benefitted by having a larger pool of spells to cast, as it would have made the dynamic of each race a bit more interesting.
Although not all your extracurricular activities will involve whizzing across the racetrack casting spells, you will also have to sweep up menacing ghosts that are terrorizing the region. It’s your job to ride your trusty broom across the track and purify these phantoms by shooting at them.
Regrettably, these ghost sections were the most awkward part of the game. When firing at ghosts, it would take a while to hit the target, and this was further not helped by having a long reload time between shots. This would lead to me breaking on the track, so I could project blasts towards the ghostly-beings without worrying about missing the target. Later down the line, you can buy crystal upgrades for your broom that will significantly help with aim and reload times, which will make the tedium of these stages more bearable.
After each stage, you’ll earn points that you can then spend at the shop back in the dorm. You can purchase fancy brooms and various crystals, which can be equipped to your broom to give you the upper hand in races. Of course, it won’t make your broom a nimbus 2000, but it will somewhat help complete certain race requirements, which will, in turn, give you more points to spend at the shop.
Throughout the campaign, you will encounter many iconic characters from the series. The character dialogues and exchanges feel very faithful to the show’s depictions of them. For instance, my favourite character Sucy is well-known for causing havoc with her obsession with experimenting with potions. Therefore, when your character meets Sucy experimenting with mushrooms, it got a massive chuckle out of me. Let alone the fact, I’ve only been at the school for five minutes, and fellow students are already getting me into trouble with mushrooms…
The cutscenes themselves are presented excellently and are often accompanied by a good healthy length. Sadly, you have to rewatch a cutscene if you want to go back to a prior stage, which is a bit annoying. Not only that, but the loading screens can take a while as well, which inadvertently takes you away from the important business of racing.
Minor complaints aside, my time flying around as a witch in VR was well spent. The races are straightforward, and the speed of the matches are also reasonably fast-paced that keeps the majority of the tracks engaging. In addition, the story itself is portrayed through appealing cutscenes, which is coupled with excellent dialogue exchanges between characters.
However, it’s important to stress that this game will probably not appeal to fans outside of the TV series due to the lack of competitive items during races and the tiresome ghost hunts. Overall, the student report card comes back mostly positive, having far more ups than downs, and any fan of the series will enjoy enrolling at this magical academy.
Little Witch Academia: VR Broom Racing PSVR Review
Overall - Very Good - 7/10
If you’re a fan of the TV series, there’s little reason to play truant from this one as Little Witch Academia: VR Broom Racing will keep you entertained with its fast-paced races, gorgeous cutscenes, and a delightful cast of characters.
- Fast-paced races will keep you engaged
- Characters are true to the source material
- Nice customisation and upgrade options
- The game could have benefitted from a larger pool of in-race items
- Ghost hunts are a pain until you can upgrade your broom
- Loading screens and rewatching cutscenes can take you away from the racing action
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS4. Reviewed using PSVR, PS4.