Title: Sayonara Wildhearts
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Genre: Fantasy, Music, Adventure, Action, Arcade
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 19/9/19
Repairing Broken Hearts
Sayonara Wildhearts is the latest release from Swedish Developer Simogo, formed in Malmö in 2010. They are best known for immersive, narrative-driven mobile gaming hits Year Walk, Device 6 and The Sailors Dream.
The game follows the journey of a young woman, burdened with a broken heart and attempting to repair the balance of the universe, through the harmonious joy of pop music.
Each Level a Uniquely Created POP Track
The game transports the player through 22 Tracks (levels, although each one is a uniquely created pop track), with each track a fast-paced on-rails experience. The player collects heart pieces through each stage before a final battle at the end of each level with Little Death or one of her cronies, with the aim to recapture the harmonies of the universe contained in their hearts.
Each level is beautifully crafted, encouraging the player to respond their movements to the harmonies of the beautiful musical score. It’s incredibly fast-paced and can be challenging at times, however, should you die/fail, you are immediately returned to a checkpoint just a moment ago, so the action never really breaks rhythm (here come the music puns).
The level designs have a wonderful style of Tron-like neon, stunning character design (drawing influence from The Crazy 88 in Kill Bill) and unmistakeable 80’s and 90’s vibes that are a spectacle to behold and bring you into the fray.
Paying Homage To Arcade Classics
There are a variety of arcade-like levels to play, starting with a Temple Run like sprawl collecting goodies, hoping you don’t crash into a pillar, followed by a game of Snake (from the Nokia Days!), spiralling off to an arcade-style driving game similar to Outrun.
There is even a sequence similar to that time in Metal Gear Solid where you awkwardly navigate the remote-controlled rocket launcher; the whole game is layered with an abundance of button bashing and quick-time events and rewards the player for having the best response time and for recognising the patterns in movement.
There are some beautiful quirks to the game that catches you by surprise, with the whole story narrated by Queen Latifah, she does a brilliant job of taking you on an unreservedly cheesy journey and Pop! It reminds the player of the power music has to repair and reconnect people with themselves and the world around them.
In terms of replay value, there is plenty, with each track ranking your performance Bronze, Silver or Gold, I regularly earned Bronze or Silver, and can recognise it will take a lot of practice to get anywhere near platinum for this game. There is also the opportunity to open Album Arcade and a Top Secret Extra for achieving gold on every track.
Alas, the story wraps itself up in just over an hour (well in fact, the length of a 22 track album), which feels really short, however despite its simplicity, its really a spectacle to behold, and one of those games you could irk as much enjoyment from listening to the soundtrack and watching someone else play it too, and all for the price of buying a music album.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Sayonara Wild Hearts from the Nintendo eShop on the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Sayonara-Wild-Hearts-1646512.html
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.