A good album you want to listen to on repeat, a good game you often want to replay. So what happens when the two merge? You get Sayonara Wild Hearts, a pop album game mashup that has stolen my heart and I can’t stop playing.
You play as a young girl, with a broken heart. Her journey begins by chasing a crystallised butterfly, the tune of a funkier version of Claire de Lune plays in the background. You transform into The Fool, a title given to you by a tarot card. Visually you look different, donning a mask and riding a motorcycle you charge at over 200mph into the unknown. The story is short, the experience will last around 90 mins, an easy sit down and play title you can finish in one or two sittings. That’s a perfect length considering the intensity of the levels you’re about to journey through.
This isn’t a slow experience, the game starts as it means to go on. Full throttle and not giving a damn about it. It’s chaotic in a good way, as you zoom across beautiful backgrounds from cities to wooded areas filled with deer. Certain levels introduce bosses, multilayered experiences that play out longer than normal levels utilising all the features of the game. Tap in time to pull of manoeuvres, swing your sword or even kiss. Face off against twins who can swap dimensions at the drop of a beat or dodge attacks from a robo-wolf all with the grace of a ballerina. There’s a lot of variety within Sayonara, which kept it fresh and exciting all the way through.
Scoring is as simple as collecting the hearts and other floaty bits throughout each level, you won’t grab them all, but grabbing enough will increase your overall level score. Earn enough points and at the end of each level you’ll attain a rank, which is awarded in the form of a bronze, silver or a gold medal. Unless you are extremely lucky, there’s a good chance you won’t get gold ratings consistently in your first play though. Therefore you have the perfect excuse to replay your favourite levels over and over, until you’ve got the best score you can.
While they is a rank you can achieve, progress is never halted if you don’t grab those high numbers, thus allowing you to progress without interrupting the flow. Unless you have cat like reflexes, you will at some point die in the game, it’s unfortunate but the game does throw you straight back into the fun. Repeatedly die in a one area and you are given the option to skip, this is completely optional. I for one didn’t, even if it took me 40 attempts I wanted to see every inch of levels on show.
To really appreciate the soundtrack I’d suggest using some headphones, this should allow you to fully absorb yourself in the pop/synth goodness that this game possesses. You’ll also find the soundtrack here, I’ve listened to it a few times since playing through the game. A testament to the production of it all.
I also played Sayonara on the newly released Apple Arcade, it ran great and looked fantastic. Although directing the character using your finger is slightly trickier than a joystick, but was still enjoyable none-the-less. With the newly released iOS 13 you can now add a PS4/Xbox One controller, so this will add more precision.
Sayonara Wild Hearts will be a game I will undoubtedly come back to throughout the years, some songs/levels are better than others but if this game had a repeat button it would surely be turned on. A beautiful journey from start to finish.
So stick some headphones on, get comfy ’cause you really don’t want to miss this game and its electrifying soundtrack mixed with hyper gameplay.
This isn’t just one of best games of 2019, it could well be the best collection of songs of 2019.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*