As soon as we did not save the world in video games: both powerful corporations destroyed from the inside and armed themselves with a sword to kill terrible monsters. But the main character Wandersong solves all the problems with the help of the song. This 10-hour adventure created almost single-handedly by a Canadian named Greg Lobanov, is like and remembered precisely because of its originality. It touches unusual topics, uses non-standard mechanics and combines everything so well with each other, that after passing you just want to recommend the game to everyone.
In the role of an eccentric bard, the player tries to prevent the end of the world. To do this, he needs to meet with several, let’s say, deities and learn a special song. Otherwise, all the inhabitants of the planet will die and a new life will arise, which none of the living people would like. Almost no one believes that a song is able to prevent a catastrophe, but the bard (whose name you come up with by choosing from several letters) insists on his own – since he can sing, you need to use this ability, even if the chance salvation is insignificant.
Singing is done by moving the right stick – if you touch it, a wheel with different colors will appear on the screen, indicating intonation. At first, Wandersong seems to be a simple platformer in which the main character drives the ghosts out of a small settlement – it is on them that the player “trains” in the first chapter. To defeat the ghost, you need to repeat the melody, consisting of three notes. That is, three times to move the stick in different directions, singing a song – this mechanic is used here constantly.
Such graphics here …
But after that, it turns out that the game is much bigger and is divided into several major episodes, and the story of saving the world constantly pleases with unexpected turns and funny situations. At the same time, the basic idea remains unchanged up to the finale – even though the absurdly dancing bard, who always has a smile on his face, does not look like a real Hero, with the help of other people he will succeed – all of them need to unite for the sake of a common goal.
When visiting a new location, the bard cannot immediately learn a fragment of a song – he needs to communicate with others, listen to them and help, and in return, they will thank him. And many touching episodes are connected with this: now you will meet the notorious accordionist, who has never performed on stage with her mother, or on the street in one of the cities the bard will get acquainted with the sobbing, useless guy who cannot even caress the dog. Sooner or later all these people will be needed to access a fragment of the song. At some point, you will assemble a team of the most dissatisfied with life and go with them to the air pollution factory to put an end to it. In another episode, you will help a group of musicians to compose a song. And you will really compose it – for several seconds you have to move the stick in different directions, creating a melody, which you can then change and listen to in live performance.
Many flowers, even live more fun)))
Often you have to jump on platforms and solve easy puzzles, and Wandersong presents so many surprises that never ceases to amaze for a minute. I don’t even want to spoil and spoil the impression, I’ll mention only the most trivial examples, such as stalks growing in different directions and the possibility of changing the direction of the wind with the help of music. In this case, the hero does not acquire any new skills – everything happens with the help of the same wheel.
But outside the moments with riddles, the developers tried to make sure that each new episode in the life of the bard was unlike the previous one. Therefore, in one of the chapters you travel on the high seas on a ship, singing pirate songs with your newly created team, and in the other you find yourself in a witch town where a store with brooms is located in one corner and a library with mountains of books about magic is in the other. Even new mechanics appear, but it is better to see them yourself – some of them are not expected at all.
In many ways, Wandersong turned out to be so remarkable due to how much attention was paid to each character. They are all completely different and sometimes hilariously funny. The main star, of course, was the bard – silly, naive, surprised at every little thing, but so funny, kind and always optimistic. Miriam is his company – a reasonable and very grumpy witch who never irritates with her grumbling, but, on the contrary, evokes sympathy from both the bard and the player. For minor heroes, of which there are more than a hundred, tons of dialogues are written – they can be ignored, but among these people there are often interesting personalities. Alas, without a minimum knowledge of English, many jokes are unlikely to be understood.
“Where are you, my bard?”
The music was also successful, and this can be said not only about the melodies but also about the lyrics. Sometimes the bard sings without words, and in such cases, it is necessary to move the stick in time in the right direction – the game gives several clues, so it is difficult to make a mistake. And in some cases, when the hero needs to transfer information to another character or he just sits around the fire with other people, you choose intonations in the same way, but without time limits. Each word bard sings in a different key, and the music is always adjusted to fit the lines, so there is no dissonance.
Reproach Wandersong is possible only in the absence of any complexity. Always correctly tilt the stick is not required – even for a couple of mistakes will not be punished. In extreme cases, the player will have to start singing again, but this will take just a few seconds. The same with puzzles and jumps from platform to platform – save points are placed at every step, and even if the bard falls into the abyss, he immediately reborn right next to it. In other words, before the Celeste game in terms of hardcore infinitely far, it is not about that.
Some may find fault with the visual style: when looking at the screenshots, the game resembles a strongly simplified two-dimensional version of Tearaway – here, too, everything seems to cut out of colored cardboard. But when you see this funny world on your screen, you realize that neither pixel art nor modern 3D would come here. It is impossible to look at the physiognomy of the bard and his grimaces without laughter and tenderness, as well as at many other characters. In addition, unique animations were drawn for each of the hundreds of characters, which can be seen by singing a song next to them. It is a pity that on the Switch models are sometimes surrounded by “ladders” and other artifacts, especially if they are standing against a dark background, there are no such problems on the computer.
Spending a couple of evenings on Wandersong is definitely worth it – this is a unique and pacifying adventure that most probably never heard of and would not know about without a hint. Beautiful, kind and damn cute story about friendship, mutual assistance, the desire for the impossible and what exactly the word “hero” means.
Pros: a memorable story; charming protagonists and funny secondary characters; diverse gameplay with unique locations and puzzles in different chapters; great music