This is one of the trickiest reviews I’ve ever had to write. It’s tricky because Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star is unlike anything I’ve ever played before, so I do not have many terms of reference or points of context in relation to other games. It’s tricky because the game deals with some heavy subjects; relationships with emotional abuse, trauma, and obsession. It’s also tricky because – essentially – this is a game about a guy called Nuki, dating a star that’s fallen from the sky; a star who might supernova at any moment. It’s a work of genius, but at the same time, it’s a difficult game to play. 

Inspired in part by the amateur theatre practitioner Robert Wilson, this gives you an idea of the creative mind behind this game. It’s a one-person vision and that vision is imaginative, troubling, and highly original. 

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The story focuses on Nuki who lives in his city flat, high up in an apartment block with a great view of the stars. He loves everything to do with the astral bodies and loves a childhood book called The Milky Way Prince. When a star falls from the sky and becomes a person called Sune, they end up going on a date to a trendy bar and then the two of them get together and begin a very intense relationship. Sune starts to spiral out of control as the months go by, leaving Nuki to try to hold on to the relationship even though it’s hurting him by doing so. 

Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star’s story, writing, and concept are definitely adult in their themes and the delivery of the narrative. So too is the way it tackles emotional abuse and psychological relationships. It’s a deep, tangled story that delves into the truth, the strange, and the conceptual. It’s completely original in its story design and like I said at the start, unlike anything I’ve ever played before. I’ll admit that there have been times when I’ve felt very uncomfortable, working through its four-hour running time, like I was a voyeur watching a relationship unravel before my very eyes. The intimacy is intense – as are the situations it portrays. 

The gameplay is very simple, very much like playing a visual novel game where you are just making decisions on a dialogue tree. Each chapter starts in the flat of Nuki as he stares out of the huge windows at the sky and the changes regarding the falling star are effecting. Then each chapter concludes with a date or meeting with Sune. You then can examine your flat by moving around the room, check on your pet starfish, read the fairytale, and compose some music on your synth. There is even a section where you go into the bathroom and decide if you’re going to shave or put on cologne. When you are ready you go out to meet Sune. 

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What takes place over this meeting – at least gameplay-wise – is nothing more than just making choices in dialogue trees. This affects the conversation and the outcome of the meeting but overall doesn’t affect the conclusion of the story so much. After a while, the game can feel slow at times and it might grate if you are not used to these types. I also think some scenes outstay their welcome a bit and could well have done with some editing down.

Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star is stunning from start to finish. Each location and level design is like an art piece with an amazing colour scheme, wonderful composition, and lighting effects. Mostly it is static but has small animations inside it that work brilliantly. The experimentation with visual design within a game is something that always should be applauded and it’s amazing to see this type of work sit on the Xbox Store alongside the big hitters. 

The same can be said of the soundtrack and the effects. Both are great works that operate perfectly with the narrative and the gameplay. There is a moment in the game where Sune is levitating, turning in the air, and there is a creaking sound that enhances the horrific situation. It’s stuff like that which also shows how good the sound design is. 

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You know those experimental and diverse games that should be played by everyone? Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star is one of those. Granted, not all will like it and some might find the material triggering and too upsetting, whilst others may not get on with the visual novel approach, but all should agree that this is visually brilliant with an interesting narrative that is unlike anything else; an important piece of art in a game. 

Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star is available from the Xbox Store

This is one of the trickiest reviews I've ever had to write. It's tricky because Milky Way Prince - The Vampire Star is unlike anything I've ever played before, so I do not have many terms of reference or points of context in relation to other games. It's tricky because the game deals with some heavy subjects; relationships with emotional abuse, trauma, and obsession. It's also tricky because - essentially - this is a game about a guy called Nuki, dating a star that's fallen from the sky; a star who might supernova at any moment. It's a work of…

Pros:

  • Artistic vision
  • Visuals amazing
  • Interesting narrative

Cons:

  • Needs an edit
  • Could be too traumatic for some

Info:

  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Fantastico Studio
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Switch, PC
  • Version reviewed - Xbox Series X
  • Release date - 21 June 2022
  • Launch price from - £12.49
TXH Score

4/5

Pros:

  • Artistic vision
  • Visuals amazing
  • Interesting narrative

Cons:

  • Needs an edit
  • Could be too traumatic for some

Info:

  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Fantastico Studio
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Switch, PC
  • Version reviewed - Xbox Series X
  • Release date - 21 June 2022
  • Launch price from - £12.49

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