Nirvana Pilot Yume Review

One half visual novel, the offer a problematic racer, here's a Nirvana Pilot Yume review on the Switch.

Collecting dust on my digital shelf, Nirvana Pilot Yume was a title firmly in my wishlist for ages, where it wasn’t a case of finding the right price (it’s already cheap), but the time to play it.

If it were a new title I’d been sent for a review, then it would have taken priority, but I bought this a couple of weeks ago – interestingly because it was in a sale and I thought I might as well stop putting it off.

Nirvana Pilot Yume is quite a low-key title. It has some excellent screenshots that indicate that it’s a mash-up of a visual novel and action title, but how close to that is it? Pretty close. The dialogue scenes are of a visual novel basis, giving you opportunities to give an answer you feel appropriate and when you’re out there in your Ultra-ship, it’s so fast-paced that I’d be half-dead before I was ready.

Nirvana Pilot Yume Review

Piloting is like Kandagawa Jet Girls – shameless link – you have two people; the actual pilot and the ‘Eye’. You link up together to build a rather intimate bond, and let’s not play this down, intimate as in Mass Effect romance scenes intimate.

Nirvana Pilot Yume - Eye Eye
Aye Eye. Source: PR

Yeah, it’s a bit of a wankfest for youngsters just finding their bits, but for anyone with an ounce of maturity, it’s a romantic story that shows a bit of flesh.

Your character is the Eye, Mitur Aldaine, and he fuses with Yume so that they can become the ultimate racers. Mitur was the top Eye in the business, who comes out of retirement to help Yume reach her potential. His main role, however, as mentioned in the last paragraph, is to perv over the characters in the game and woo them.

Tracks To Make You Break (Intentional Spelling)

The tracks look like an 80s arcade racer. They’re mostly flat environments with numerous gaps to jump over by pressing the B button, and more pop up then a kids book, the obstacles come out of nowhere, and it’s often quite hard to steer away from if you’re going full speed.

Nirvana Pilot Yume then is one of those rare games that I made use of the brake button and it made a difference, but you equally have to keep up the momentum otherwise you can’t clear the jumps. However, it’s so unclear when to jump and steer as the pop-up is so terrible that the brake becomes superfluous.

Nirvana Pilot Yume - Event horizon
Event horizon. Source: PR

Each time you fail, you lose some syncing with the G.U.R.U. System which drops your connection with Yume and eventually kicks you out of the race. The screen glitches the further disconnected you become, making it even harder to continue. When fully desynched, it’s not game over and instead; you go back to the story without consequence.

Far From Nirvana

In some ways then, the Ultra-ship sections felt more like the bonus mini-game rather than the core part of it all, that goes to the story, which is… ok. Still, it gets a little bit overly complicated for no reasons, and the game does have a fair amount of grammatical errors that would warrant a ‘see me’ written in red at the top of the report card.

Nirvana Pilot Yume is quite a short game. It does have an arcade mode where you just play the action sequences without the visual novel element. It reminds me of Barrier X, only a little more forgiving.

Visually, it’s pretty cool. The flight sections are very lo-fi, but it has a filter effect that adds to the experience and feels very VHS retro wave. However, it’s the artwork that’s the highlight, and the characters look great and feel very 80s – in a good way.

When it boils down to presentation, the soundtrack is equally on par with the visuals, but don’t expect any sound effects in the game. I made my own sounds, mixing up a Mario jump with a classic wah wah waaaaaah when I fell off the face of existence.

Nirvana Pilot Yume - Arcade
Arcade mode. Source: PR

You know my stance on visual novels, and while Nirvana Pilot Yume wasn’t the worst I’ve played, it equally wasn’t one that made me change my mind about how I think about them. 

If there were a redeeming factor about the game, then it would be the racing sections, but alas, they’re so brutally hard and glitchy that they aren’t enjoyable. Though it wasn’t as extreme in speed as Barrier X, the latter was a very tight game with excellent handling – it was only the player at fault in that respect.

Not knowing when an obstacle would appear or being able to steer with plenty of warning is no fault of the player and perhaps Dev9k and RedDeerGames realised this, and that’s why they allowed the story to continue without the need to finish the race.