Fast, fluid and beautiful. These are three words you might use to describe Sayonara Wild Hearts – a new pop album video game.
Sayonara Wild Hearts is a euphoric music video dream where you get to ride motorcycles, skateboards and have dance battles and shoot lasers. At the core of the game is a story of a young woman with a broken heart, where the balance in the universe is disturbed. A diamond butterfly appears in her dreams and leads her through a highway in the sky, where she finds her other self: the masked biker called The Fool. Travelling through futuristic cities, dark forests, and electric deserts, The Fool sets out to find the harmony of the universe, hidden away in the hearts of Little Death and her star crossed allies; Dancing Devils, Howling Moons, Stereo Lovers and Hermit 64.
As a fan of CHVRCHES and also Gris, this game is a treat. Not in terms of gameplay – but in terms of a visually stunning game based on the anguish of the main character. This is unlike any other game I have played with it’s trippy mix of pop music, visual design and fluid movement. It’s great fun and full of emotion.
As soon as you start up the game you’re thrown into the action and the controls are relatively straight forward using the analogue stick to move and the A button for actions when you are prompted. Whether you’re speeding down the road on the back of a motorcycle or through a magical forest on the back of a stag the game feels fluid and drives you forward with the dreamy music and rhythm.
The aim of the game is to avoid the obstacles, collect as many points as possible and beat any opposing enemies that get in your way in the most stylish way. This may involve dodging out the way every now and again, but the ‘boss fights’ are some of the best battles in the game where you face off against a few characters pressing the action button in time to the music to dodge out the way or strike the final blow. Timing is key to getting the most points which will give you a bronze, silver or gold rating for completing each level.
Sayonara Wild Hearts looks fantastic – fluid, smooth, fast and colourful. The character animations are slick and the world the characters live in is gorgeous and gives off an air of cool at every step. It’s even got Queen Latifah in the game, who provides the narration. The characters and environment are so stylish, bathed in neon, blues and pinks.
The music in the game is front and centre and one of the stars. Dreamy techno-pop fill your ears as you navigate through neon cities and forests. You can tell why it’s been called a pop music video game, as sometimes it feels like an experience rather than a game.
Sayonara Wild Hearts is on rails where you pick up items on the road or ground. Looping round winding roads or jumping to get the extra point hearts is key to getting a gold rating in levels. If you bump into something and ‘die’ the game is fairly forgiving in where you restart.
The game is an overwhelming positive experience. It’s relatively short but entirely memorable. The stylish characters, music and art make this game a worthwhile purchase – and if you have Apple Arcade you can get this is part of your package. Coming in at a roughly 2 hours for a playthrough, it’s easy to play through in a single sitting.