Simply put, we are big fans of rhythm games and with Wandersong, we’ve found one that pushes the genre somewhere new. It’s also very clever and while using rhythm based mechanics as its game play back bone, its use of music as a binding social construct is its most pervasive part and in doing so, feels fresh and exciting throughout.
Wander song is a beautifully animated 2D side scrolling adventure game where you play as a traveling Bard. It all begins with you learning the world is about to come to an end the only way to prevent this catastrophic event is through the power of song. The characters you meet within your journey seem at times non too convinced of your ability to pull this off which flows through the dialogue with funny and witty quips throughout.
Fans of rhythm games will be aware most of these type of titles see you being scored on your ability to hit a given note or some other prompt as precisely as possible. Wandersong takes a different approach and feels all the better for it. Should you fail and miss the intended note you’re usually audibly penalized with the song not sounding as it really should with you then looping back to the start of the section to have another go. All the notes are played by way of the right thumb stick where you point it towards one of eight directions all denoted with a different color. The game shows you the required color and also the direction of the note which makes it easy understand which note you need to play in what order.
The singing within Wandersong isn’t restricted to the rhythm sections. The Bard can sing throughout the game just for the sake of doing so or to aid progression. At times you need to sing a note to make a plant grow in a certain direction or to guide a bird in helping you make a jump you couldn’t usually make on your own. The singing mechanic and what it brings to the game constantly changes and in doing so, feels warm and fuzzy from start to finish.
Like our recent review and play through of The Gardens Between, we played Wandersong together as a family over the course of a long and very wet Sunday afternoon. It’s a near perfect type of game to enjoy with others with a protagonist who only has good in their heart and who wants to do right by others.
There are few noticeably touching scenes that will stay with you long after you finish. The section of the game where you try your best to be happy with a forced smile whenever you look upon a particular character. Another section sees you singing and acting as a means by which a women and here recently passed mother can connect is both poignant and beautiful with a story without words told only through the power of the music.
We whole heatedly recommend Wandersong to anyone looking for a gaming experience that is altogether different. In a couple of words it’s all rather wonderful and will most certainly feature in our game of the year showcase.
We played Wandersong on the Nintendo Switch with a launch day version of the game. Our copy was purchased from the Nintendo Switch store. For a full overview of our review and editorial policy, head on over to our website.