If there is one genre of games that is well-known but still gets overshadowed by more mainstream genres would be the rhythm game genre.
The basic premise of rhythm games is to challenge a player’s sense of rhythm. The most famous ones include Guitar Hero and Just Dance. The increasing popularity of Virtual Reality (VR) has also given the genre a boost.
Rhythm games are intricately connected to their music. That was one of the reasons why I checked out this game. Who would have thought that just the first level would hook me completely?!
Well, it did. And it kept those hooks in me consistently for the next hour and a half (this is a short game). I was quite fascinated by what I saw, heard, and played.
So come with me as I take you on a trip through the wild and beautiful ride that is Sayonara Wild Hearts.
Getting Isekai’d to become a Magical Girl
The game starts with cryptic narration about a parallel harmonious universe which is ruled over by the three-divine arcanas. The evil arcana along with their allies intercepted the astral highway and brought chaos. During that time, the divine arcanas made a new arcana, which can bring peace to the world again.
The new arcana they make is appropriately titled, “The Fool”.
This happen to be a young woman who is currently experiencing a devasting heartbreak. A fairy like creature comes to her room and throws her out the window.
She lands on her skateboard and that’s when the first level begins. Just like that. Out the window and into the game.
The rest of the game tells the story of her journey dealing with this other world. All of it is told through levels of beautiful music, amazing visuals, and rhythm-game action… but more on that later.
There is dialogue apart from the prologue and the epilogue. The narration is done by none other than famous American rapper Queen Latifah herself!
I was shocked and delighted that the developers managed to get such a big name to narrate their game.
That being said, overall, the game is about a heartbroken girl who ends up becoming a magical girl and saving the universe.
There are also subtle hints of another story hidden within but that is a topic of another day.
To Become a Magical Girl
As mentioned before, the game is a rhythm game where you control the main character as she runs, flies, or drives vehicles through levels.
You will be on your toes at all times and will be forced react to the world around you as you try to avoid obstacles and look for collectable hearts to tally points.
The character will automatically go forward so the only thing you have to do is press the directional buttons on time to jump to a new platform either left or right, jump and to attack an enemy.
Each of the levels are great fun the first time but shines even more after repeated play throughs. The game is highly replayable and the score count incentivizes doing well.
The game has only two basic inputs. But the variety of ways that the game experiments with with its limited controls is really impressive!
One minute has you narrowly avoiding obstacles and the next has you shooting down enemies and projectiles by aiming with a cursor.
You might think that just having two inputs would make the game fairly easy but that is not the case. This is a game that it keeps you guessing throughout its run time.
The variety of scenarios that the game throws at you teaches you on how to play and to navigate new obstacles but at the same time, the game experiments with concepts and tests you as you play.
Playing the game lets you experience something that is equal parts beautiful, fun, and meaningful.
The visuals in this game are stunning. Full stop.
Each level of the game is a beautiful yet almost hypnotizing parable about fighting internal demons and overcoming mental hurdles.
All of the levels are designed using a color pallet of five colors and their shades: White, Green, Red, Violet and Black. These colors work together surprisingly well to create unforgettable setting with neon colors. This entire game is just Vibes: The Video Game.
For me, the best part of the game has to be the music.
Each level of the game is set to a different song that matches the mood of a particular encounter.
Artists that inspired the soundtrack included Sia, Chvrches, and Carly Rae Jepsen. The game’s score was composed exceptionally well. The game feels like you are playing an interactive music album.
All of the levels have instrumental music except the boss levels, which is when the vocals come out. It is with these boss levels that this soundtrack truly shines.
Also fun fact, all of the songs have the same names as the levels.
Photosensitive Epilepsy Warning
This next part concerns individuals who suffer from photosensitive epilepsy and related conditions.
The game has 23 levels which are divided into a prelude and 5 chapters. Each one ends with a fight against a boss.
However, I consider the the level “Forest Dub” and the final level “Wild Hearts Never Die” to be unsuitable to the players who suffer from photosensitive epilepsy.
The sheer magnitude of blinking lights and flashing colors was enough to bother me despite being someone who does not suffer the condition. While I did not suffer seizures, I found it somewhat difficult to look at and can only imagine how difficult it would be for someone who suffers photosensitive epilipsy.
These levels is designed with an entire white background where the rest of the colors blink to the beats of the music.
If you suffer from photosensitive epilepsy, I strongly advise researching the game from a medical perspective before trying it, much less buying it.
Sayonara Wild Hearts is a good game to try out if you are interested in the rhythm game genre.
It’s story about a person from our world being transported to a more fantastical world may not break new ground with many people but its high octane gameplay, neon aesthetic visuals, and phenomenal soundtrack more than makes up for it.
I really enjoyed this game from the start to finish. This game’s OST has entered my list of favorite video game OSTs. This game has a truly unique style and vibe that makes you fall in love with the experience of playing it.
This game also made me want to try out more rhythm games.
This is a game that I think more than earns the “Decent” rating. A high “Decent”, really.
The thing that holds the game back from a higher rating is that the danger the game poses to individuals with photosensitive epilepsy and how intense the visuals can get.
That aspect aside, this has been an amazing introduction to rhythm games for me and you can bet that I’ll be beating my personal best scores for months to come!
Due to this as for this game… I’d say it’s a decent.
This game is ideal for fans of good music, neon colors, and like… vibes, man.