Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)

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OrangeRKN
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PostSayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by OrangeRKN » Wed Sep 25, 2019 11:00 am

I know Taf is really into this, and Clarkman has played it through too. Add myself and that's enough for a dedicated topic, surely? ;)



Sayonara Wild Hearts is a euphoric music video dream about being awesome, riding motorcycles, skateboarding, dance battling, shooting lasers, wielding swords and breaking hearts at 200mph.


I played my first run through this last night (on Switch), and it's neat!

+ Visuals are a proper trip
+ Everything is about the music
+ Experiments with lots of mechanics
- Actual songs are lacking
- Most levels are too short

I never really dropped into "flow", partly because of the shortness of levels and partly because they are constantly changing/evolving. I got mostly silver ranks with a few bronze, and one single gold (on the third from last level, weirdly enough, because it's unique mechanic is the easiest). Maybe I'm getting older, but I felt a couple of times like the levels just weren't reactable, instead relying on you knowing what's coming up, and it almost began to frustrate the couple of times where I repeatedly died and had to repeat a section. I prefer the normal rhythm game approach of a miss being a miss and the track continuing regardless, rather than forcing you to repeat something until you get it right. The game itself seems to yo-yo on this as the button presses don't set you back if you get the timing wrong, so that's just an oddity.

I was also disappointed that most levels didn't have lyrics, and the trailer song is unfortunately the best of the bunch (I was hoping for more on the same level but didn't really get it, but that definitely comes down to personal music taste). None of the tracks are stuck in my head.

On finishing the game you unlock album mode, which doesn't drop you back to the menu screen after every level, and I wish that I could have played the game like that from the beginning, to help with the disjointed effect I got from the levels ending so quickly.

That all said, as an audio-visual experience I enjoyed it and I will be going back to play through levels again, hopefully hitting some higher ranks. I'm not sure what getting all the golds unlocks, so if anyone can tell me (as well as what the zodiac is all about) that'd be cool!

My overall rating: not as good as vib-ribbon

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by Mafro » Wed Sep 25, 2019 11:28 am

Played a bit of Sayonara Wild Hearts with Apple Arcade last night. Seems good but the touch controls seem really laggy and imprecise (shocking, I know) so I'm tempted to just buy it on Switch or PS4 instead.

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by Tafdolphin » Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:35 pm

I don't disagree with anything you've said there Orange.

I was surprised just how short some of the levels were; several are maybe a minute long and finish just as they feel they're getting started. There's also quite a small amount of content in total; I played through album mode (so the whole game back to front) and it took about 45 minutes. Of those 45 minutes there's only 5 actual songs (6 if you include the excellent menu music which, for some bizarre reason, is never used in-game) with the rest being your general background music. I think I liked them more than you however as I've had several running through my head ever since!

Gameplay wise it never approaches the heights of something like Rez or Tetris Effect and I never really found myself getting into the magical flow state those games achieve. The controls are indeed a little too spongy for my liking and given the dynamic camera angles, the collectibles are often hard to place on the game's lateral plane meaning there's a lot of guessing where you need to go next. Getting gold on every track isn't going to be a question of mastering the mechanics but of memorising the courses.

For me though the real star is the animation. There are several little vignettes that really blew me away with how amazing they looked, and when they play synced over the excellent music there are some really heart quickening moments. The entire experience gave me the same feeling as battering out a perfect solo in Rock Band did, that sort of chest bursting sensation that I get from very few games these days. That alone I think was worth playing it

Having bought it for a tenner on Switch though, I did feel a little...not shortchanged but buyer's remorse-ish. It's far better suited to the Apple Arcade model as its a perfect pick up and play game that doesn't outstay its welcome and does what it does really effectively.

So yeah, it's great. I just wish there'd been more of it

EDIT: Oh, and I disliked pretty much the entire 4th chapter which ended up being a massive chunk of the game. Everything slows down, any sort of animation is removed and the whole thing screams to a halt. Which is a shame

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by Clarkman » Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:09 pm

Only one playthrough so far for me, with mostly brozes and a handful of silvers. Agree with most of what's been said above, but no issue at all with level length or the pacing. The variety is a big part of the charm and if you're going for an album vibe, the innovation and balance works well.

Reminds me of the Jennifer Egan book A Visit From The Good Squad - also structured as an album, highly recommended.

Before I go back, I'm going to study some gold rank runs as they appear on YouTube and see if I can pick up some rhythm flow that didn't quite click for me.

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by OrangeRKN » Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:40 pm

I got gold ranks on the first 5 levels at lunch (so the first "chapter"). I wish the combo multiplier wasn't hidden away, I've realised that dying absolutely tanks your score but it's not really explicit about how, unless I'm missing something!

Tafdolphin wrote:I was surprised just how short some of the levels were; several are maybe a minute long and finish just as they feel they're getting started.


Yeah, that's pretty much what I am left thinking. Just as things are turning zen-like the track will end. The songs/boss fights being longer makes them automatically better.

Tafdolphin wrote:The controls are indeed a little too spongy for my liking and given the dynamic camera angles, the collectibles are often hard to place on the game's lateral plane meaning there's a lot of guessing where you need to go next.


Spongy is a good word, it took me a minute to get used to them so I could actually position myself correctly. The dynamic camera adds a lot to the spectacle so I wouldn't want it changed, but there are parts that feel less well designed because it's unclear how to move to hit the collectibles.

Tafdolphin wrote:For me though the real star is the animation. There are several little vignettes that really blew me away with how amazing they looked, and when they play synced over the excellent music there are some really heart quickening moments.


Agree with this! When everything is happening in sync to the music it all just works. It all feels choreographed in a way games aren't normally - even rhythm games (as usually they are more abstract).

Tafdolphin wrote:Oh, and I disliked pretty much the entire 4th chapter which ended up being a massive chunk of the game. Everything slows down, any sort of animation is removed and the whole thing screams to a halt. Which is a shame


Is this the arcade goggles section? I initially liked it, especially the part where the camera is rotating above the goggles/face as you play on them, but it outstays its welcome. Could have done with being condensed into a single track imo, and even then it does slow things down.

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by deathofcows » Wed Oct 02, 2019 5:39 pm

Thanks OR for heads up re: Thread!

I've really enjoyed this game. Like others here I was initially disappointed by the staccato breaks of playing each segment (sometimes very short) as a standalone before being taken back to the menu. I do agree that the game might've started better with some continuity between tracks (even if bundled in 5 sections to go along with the 5 broad themes, ending each time on the Pop Song). Many of the interludes finish just as they're getting going, I agree.

It's only when I tried revisiting and Gold-Ranking all the chapters/Getting all the special squares/cubes (which is sometimes mutually inclusive) that I appreciated it more.

There is a hidden (which, unlike OR, I rather liked - as it meant my friend and I were discussing and working it out) multiplier which seems to reset completely if you die. Thus if you've done well for (say) 4/5 of a level, you can still die and stumble over the finish line with a gold. If you do early on you lose your multiplier and your cumulative effect and (often) your chance of a gold.

This makes the game even more fun, I think. Partly because it adds an edge of tension to proceedings and thrill to proceedings (especially the longer, set-piece songs where the final third can be a make or break section) and also because you get into a state of retrying and aiming for a (near)-flawless run. This immerses you better in any given song, by giving you more exposure to it and by making you learn its contours and choreography. It is here that the game shines proper.

Also, the Squares/Cubes are often hidden and finding them in each level can be fun. This suddenly makes the shorter levels seem more inviting for those needed repeats!

And whilst initially only a few tracks like Begin Again really stood out to me, by the end of my repetitions I've grown into pretty much all of the songs proper, and some of the interludes are great too. I now have the soundtrack on my phone and it is cannily ordered with the 7-ish Main songs ordered at the beginning, and listenable straight through like a pop album. And a fantastic one at that.

Now I love them for real, and Wild Hearts Never Die (especially the version that segues between its intro, the song and its outro song) is practically euphoric! And that lovely lip-smacking kiss-tastic ending is so joyful it permeates the actual song when you listen to it even though the song itself doesn't have the added visual and sounds.

So colour me a (Purple, Pink, Knee-Socked, Bike-Riding) fan.

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by Fade » Wed Oct 02, 2019 7:33 pm

Didn't realise this was on PS4, will buy it later

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by kazanova_Frankenstein » Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:21 pm

Finished this today (iPad with dual shock).
Honestly, I thought it was terrible, the camera cutting around like a lunatic meant it was entirely down to memorisation. I could never seem to line myself up with the hearts etc. With the exception of a few sequences the music did not seem to tie in with the on-screen action, which would have made it feel more involving a la Rez.
By far the worst game I have played this year.
I am not trying to be a contrarian here I would like to stress - I nearly enjoy every game I play (seriously), but this seemed to completely lack any rewarding objectives (due to the way you never know where you are supposed to be on the track etc).
The last level was a bit better I suppose. And the VR was kinda cool.
I'm glad that Apple Arcade saved me the money on this one.

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by OrangeRKN » Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:40 pm

Surprised to see such a damning review - while I can agree with most of your complaints, we seem completely at odds with their severity. The one point I completely disagree on is the music not tying up with the on-screen action - that's the thing I would say the game does best! Where the game stumbles as a rhythm game it makes up for it as an audio-visual experience imo.

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by kazanova_Frankenstein » Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:54 am

OrangeRKN wrote:Surprised to see such a damning review - while I can agree with most of your complaints, we seem completely at odds with their severity. The one point I completely disagree on is the music not tying up with the on-screen action - that's the thing I would say the game does best! Where the game stumbles as a rhythm game it makes up for it as an audio-visual experience imo.


Yeah, as i say, i'm in the minority. To the point where i wasn't going to post up anything for concerns of drawing a load of abuse from others for just being a "troll" etc (thanks for not being at all like that btw).

It's almost as if something in my brain just did not parse the game properly, i could never get over the feeling that i could not keep track of my characters position with respect to the on screen action. Far too much of the time i was having control taken away from me and having it returned seemingly too late to re position to collect one of the capsules essential for high scores etc. It was like playing Thumper but with someone turning the tv on and off for indeterminate lengths of time.

I'm prepared to accept that i'm wrong about the music and visuals not tying up though - i can concede that i was so disappointed by the "game" aspect of it that it may have tainted other parts of the game unfairly.

The only bit i liked was the Rez like bit. But that was about 5% as enjoyable as Rez (1% if you played Rez in HD).

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by Tafdolphin » Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:36 pm

I've gone through a weird journey with this game.

After the first couple of stages I was worried. They were super short and not particularly interesting from a gameplay perspective. Then I hit the first 'proper' stage and it blew me away a little bit; it was just such an incredibly well presented piece of flair that I stopped caring about the spongey controls and minute content drops. I played through the rest of the thing and just absolutely adored everything it was doing.

And then it ended. Quickly.

But, I couldn't stop thinking about it and played through the whole thing again on Album mode. Then I went back and started playing my favourite stages again. And then...I started to get buyer's remorse. There was so little content, and I paid around £12 for it. I began to feel a bit ripped off as the whole thing felt more and more flimsy as I played the same stages again and again. I loved the music but...would I ever go back to it?

Having had it for a week or so now I've done a complete 180 and am convinced it's one of the best games I've played this year. and one that is become something I return to again and again. I get this compulsion every now and again just to jam through a few stages before I go and do something else, and it's quickly becoming a go-to chill out game.

If any game has ever been more than the sum of its parts, it's Sayonara Wild Hearts. And it is exceptional.

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by Mafro » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:04 am

Didn't realise Apple Arcade is coming to MacOS so I'll come back to this when Catalina is released.

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by OrangeRKN » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:53 am

I did go back and try for golds, most of them are pretty easy but I stopped short with pretty much the final 5 remaining and haven't had any real motivation to go back. I really don't like the first half of the final stage which is a shame because the second half is great - it feels too gamey in a way the floaty controls don't gel with. Replaying for golds also highlighted to me how repetitive and boring the intro levels for each chapter are. Visually they have very little going on, and they all look basically the same. I wish I could play album mode but skip those levels out specifically!

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by Tafdolphin » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:46 am

Yeah, the transitional levels are the weakest and the toughest. I actually like the start of the last level, finding it has the right balance of difficulty and rhythm, but hate all the other abstract levels.

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by HSH28 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:25 pm

9 in EDGE this month

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by deathofcows » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:27 pm

Tafdolphin wrote:Yeah, the transitional levels are the weakest and the toughest. I actually like the start of the last level, finding it has the right balance of difficulty and rhythm, but hate all the other abstract levels.


Heartbreak I and II are samey, overly twitchy and a bit dark and electro-moody, agreed.

But Heartbreak III (on the stairs) I think is fun and memorable, and has a great track (with an etheral female vocal that brightens the whole thing).

Heartbreak IV has the screen-edge transfers which makes it a little more fun (and the screen-edge pop is nice and has an oddball delay which I quite liked).

Heartbreak V is the ship one and I think is a decent change of pace and rhythm.

So whilst my overall impression was the same as Taf and ORKN, when I actually looked into it I had to readjust slightly.

The last level's opener - with its Thumper-esque gameplay and its meaty, epic synth waves I think is a game highlight for me and the drum-drop beats feels great and percussive compared to the looser choreography of a lot of the rest of the game. And the euphoria and kiss-bursts of Wild Hearts Never Die works better as a release from the intro intensity I think. Gameplay wise I also think Gold-ing that level is as good and satisfying as the game gets (maybe Begin Again a close second), and feels the most immersive, engaging and overall joyous.

A difference in taste to ORKN methinks.

In terms of all the talk about the spongey controls, I think those bits actually work better than the twitchier segments (Heartbreak I/II, the flying, the side-on sections of Begin Again and so on). I think it helps that the control is less precise and loose, needing broad-stroke long drags to (usually) extreme directions like Right-Middle-Left. I think it suits the gameplay's style of being less literally rhythm action and more of an impressionistic accompaniment to the music that is loose enough to do without too much fear and precision, but enough to engage and immerse you better overall.

And I certainly don't feel short-changed or any buyer's remorse. I got plenty of unique joy out of the game, and reckon it'll be go-to when I fancy a fix on one of the songs - much like an album proper.

I don't think I'm as fully-committed a fan as Taf, mind. Even in album mode I find some of the tracks too short (and would love a shuffle feature?!), the sweeping movements of vehicles and running (compared to the more binary, beat-based button presses of other music games) sometimes a little uninvolving and less obviously - and satisfyingly - in sync.

And though I love the aesthetic and style, I think there's a rather European sensibility, charming and true to an endearing, 80s-New Romantics Pop Vibe or whatever, but also a little restrained to a gamer-brain trained in the hyper-extreme excess of camera elasticity and choreography of Japanese, anime-informed stuff (or even say God of War QTEs etc). This is sort-of refreshing (see: realistically proportioned characters) but also sometimes not quite as eye-stretchingly stylised nor as limber as we might be accustomed to.

Though some things, like the motorbike hand-break turn - are pure ace.

But overall I'm still a fan and am glad to have played it, and to have it digitally for dipping in whenever the mood suits me. And I'm about to go for a run with Sayonara Hearts in my playlist, so go figure :D

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by Balladeer » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:06 pm

I should probably mention that I’m playing through this, slowly, at the moment. (Just met the fourth musician.) I just don’t have the same amount of stuff to say about it as y’all.

I like it. It’s good.

Oh and Judgement and Justice being used in the way they are is :lol:

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PostRe: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade)
by Meep » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:26 pm

Looks interesting. I would like a Rez-esque chill out game. Hopefully they release it on more platforms.


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