Take to the skies on a magical broom in the VR racing game based on the Little Witch Academia anime! Join the ranks of students at prestigious Luna Nova Witchcraft Academy to race through the skies and purify ghosts on a custom broom in more than a dozen missions, and experience original story sequences featuring voice actors from the hit anime series! Collect items, points, and tickets, and customize your broomstick to your heart’s content. Can you take first place in the ultimate challenge of the Stella Cup?
Reviewed on: Oculus Quest (Quest 2 Headset)
Also available for: PSVR (2021), Oculus Rift (2021), Steam VR (2021)
Cast: Erica Mendez, Stephanie Sheh, Rachelle Heger, Laura Post, Marianne Miller, Jen Alyx, Laura Stahl
Director/Scenario: Junichi Yamamoto
Original Story: Yoh Yoshinari
Lead Programmer: Kunihito Asanuma
Level Designer: Chris Morse
For fans of the Little Witch Academia anime, I’m sure there’s some delight to be had from interacting with the characters of the show in VR. However, if you’re like me and the idea of broomstick racing VR game is enticing enough, worry not. Although there is a functional story to house the races of the game in, there isn’t a need to have watched the anime. If anything, playing Little Witch Academia: VR Broom Racing has made me want to start watching the two-season anime.
There are 13 levels here (19 technically, but I’ll get to that) with a mix of straight races, or time trails where you’re casting spells at ghosts. Before each level and after there’s some mild story stuff with characters interacting in front of you. It’s like clicking through a visual novel, however, and not a fully-interactive experience you would desire from a VR game.
Riding and racing your broom is very simple. You hold out one hand slightly in front of you as if you’re holding the front of a broom underneath you and then simply turn it in the direction you want to move. There’s no button or action necessary to get accelerating once you’re moving, so you can focus entirely on the race. You’ll find boxes throughout the course like your typical kart-racer and activating with a wave of your other hand, which is holding your wand, will either give you a short speed burst or send a curse to one of your opponents.
Gotta go fast – gameplay captured by the author
The races aren’t particularly hard and as far as I could tell you simply needed to finish the race to move onto the next level. If you want to chase the 100% completion there are three bonus objectives each level for things like completing under a certain time, flying through each hoop in a level and finishing in the first place.
You receive in-game currency for completing a race and bonus points for the added objectives which you can then spend on new brooms or gems that provide increased stats. You can buy the fastest broom pretty easily before you’ve even finished the game which means you’re left with a lot of currency, and nothing to spend it on. Disappointingly there are no cosmetic items to buy for your broom or wand, the two things you see all-game. Weirdly there are some customisation choices for your character before you start the game, but you never see them again.
The thirteenth level in the game is the last one, but to see the credits you’ll have to play it seven times — once with each of the characters in the game as your partner. It’s a weird choice that’s made even weirder once you do roll credits. If you decide to replay that stage, you have to not only sit through the opening cutscene again but also the game’s credits sequence once you beat it. It’s a level you may want to replay as there’s no quick play option in the game. You can only replay each of the game’s ‘story’ missions and must sit through an attached cut-scene and character moments each time as you do.
The game may have been designed with the multiplayer to be your home once you beat the single-player missions, but as of writing this review, it’s a mode that’s still greyed out and wearing a “coming soon” sign. A disappointment that’ll leave most players shrugging and moving onto the next thing after they roll credits, instead of sticking around for some multiplayer fun.