Sunday, September 29, 2019

Sayonara Wild Hearts | Review

Sayonara Wild Hearts is an electric dream, a music video of vibrant colors and fluid movement. It is, in a word, an experience.

It is also a story about heartbreak and unashamed queer love.  About flying, driving, and surfing across a living rainbow of bisexual energy. Music thrives around your movements and button presses in sync with the electric pop beats. It is sometimes a rhythm game, sometimes a music video, but every time and all the time, it is fun.

The story is not overly complicated, and also does not hold you back from getting into the thick of the gameplay as soon as possible. From the remains of the main character's broken heart, she becomes The Fool, a fashionably dressed subspace traveler tracking down renegade tarot cards, with the hope of righting the balance of another world. That's all the story you need to remember until quite literally the last moments of the game, which ends with a succinct and satisfactory reminder of life after heartbreak.

To get there, however, it would be much faster to explain what you don't do in your quest to right these rogue Arcana. One of the biggest strengths of Sayonara Wild Hearts is the sheer variety of things that happen in each song. One minute you're leaping across the trees on the back of a majestic deer, and on the next you're fighting an all-girl gang of street toughs, complete with letterman jackets and coordinated attacks. The mystery of 'I wonder what this level will throw at me?' was only superseded by constant exclamations of how cool the total package was.

All the while, you're treated to a delightful pop soundtrack that plays in sync with the twists, flips, and explosions of color that happen as you move through the level. You can actually stream it in its entirety for free, but I recommend you play through the game first and hear them naturally. It is well worth it; Just as I was excited to see how the gameplay would switch things up, I was also excited to hear how the music would work in tandem with the level.

While the levels are large in spectacle, from a control standpoint, it's very accessible. You steer yourself and press the QTE button when the situation calls for it. Overall, it's a simple affair, but it works very well, because they don't distract from the gameplay and the soundtrack. You're able to comfortably move and strike when necessary while also being able to enjoy the deluxe dessert the game is serving you. And when the animations are this fluid and the music is this good, it's the strawberry cheesecake of indie games.

To put a fine point on how much I enjoyed this game, I bought this and Dragon Quest XI S at the same time. Despite DQ XI also being a good game, I had to finish this game. I had to see the next level. I had to hear the next song. I even plan on going back and trying for the Gold ranks, of which I received one on my first playthrough, because they require what is almost perfect precision of a level. But even without the secrets or the gold ranks, Sayonara Wild Hearts was a very fun game. You can play the entire thing in one sitting like a new album, or play your favorite songs before bed to relax. Regardless of how I do so, I don't plan on saying sayonara to Sayonara Wild Hearts any time soon. And yes, I've been saving that joke this entire time.

Should you play Sayonara Wild Hearts?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Absolutely, especially if you're purchasing it on the Switch. Sayonara Wild Hearts is the perfect travel game because it can be played in both short and long stretches. The soundtrack sounds crisp coming through high-quality speakers if you choose to play it while docked. It is the swiss army knife of video games- for any occasion or for any player. Even after finishing it and preparing to dive fully into Dragon Quest...I'm glad I found Sayonara Wild Hearts, and I hope more people find it as well.

When not figuring out which song she loves the most(Answer: It's the menu track), Noelle 'Lyneriaa' Raine can be found....IT DOESN'T MATTER WHERE SHE CAN BE FOUND. BUY THIS GAME.

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