Bonito Days is a full game based on a popular minigame. Developer Studio Somewhere has combined the mechanics and action from Monkey Target of Super Monkey Ball fame with a little bit of NiGHTS into Dreams flair. As an added bonus, the soundtrack is inspired by city pop tunes of decades past. Finally, the use of adorable flying fish as characters rounds out this free-flying flight of fancy. In review, Bonito Days is one of the chillest games I’ve played on Nintendo Switch.
Bonito Days is a simple game. When you begin a stage, your character rolls around as a marble. Sometimes there’s an area to explore, and other times you’re just taken straight to a ramp, launching you out over the water. In this second section, you fly around, collecting points, modifiers, and power-ups before finally landing on a target. Your points are tallied up, and then it’s on to the next attempt. There are 20 stages in all, each with unique layouts and patterns of point-granting items.
There are only two modes: Cup and Free Play. Cup is a competition mode where players try to outscore each other to earn medals. Free Play is self-explanatory. While the game is clearly meant to be enjoyed by multiple people, it’s a relaxing solo experience as well.
I loved the feeling of flight in the game, and repeated exploration of the stages is the only way to do well. Having never played Super Monkey Ball before, I wasn’t particularly good at any of this at first, but as time went on my skills improved. The characters in Bonito Days are flying skipjack tuna and receive cute names at the beginning of every session, such as Kissy Lips, Creme de Menthe, and Punchline.
I also really appreciate that the game is all about the vibes. With the pastel cel-shaded graphics, the smooth city pop soundtrack, and the relaxing gameplay, Bonito Days is the kind of game that I can see myself taking in for a half hour at a time in between other things.
It’s not perfect, however. While I don’t mind the amount of content (especially for the price), some players may find it a bit skimpy. There’s also very little explanation in-game for some of the mechanics. The tutorial is only one screen that explains very basic things. I’m still not sure what some of the power-ups do or why my fish starts flailing and falling out of nowhere.
Finally, a note on the music: It’s all licensed from the Nash Music Library, which provides background music for media like video games. It has an extensive collection of songs that kinda sorta sound like city pop hits, but you won’t be hearing any Mariya Takeuchi or Anri here. While this didn’t bother me at all, (How many games have a rock or metal soundtrack, but nothing by famous artists?) it’s something that may strike a fan of the genre as odd, considering the advertising for the game.
A bonito ball with Bonito Days
Sometimes a minigame is so good, so pure, that it inspires someone to make something truly special. The folks at Studio Somewhere loved Monkey Target from Super Monkey Ball so much, they developed an entire game around it. With a little bit of NiGHTS into Dreams and a relaxing city pop soundtrack for good measure, Bonito Days is a great way to unwind after a long day. Some gamers may want more modes, but as it is, there’s nothing to get in the way of the gameplay. As an elevated minigame, it’s the perfect experience if you’re looking to enjoy some chill vibes while flying around the beach for a few rounds at a time.
A Nintendo Switch review code for Bonito Days was provided by the publisher.