Wandersongs Musical Might Goes Beyond Rhythm Games

first_img ‘Star Wars Pinball’ Has Your Favorite Brand in Ball Form‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Was Final Mission From Late Nintendo President Stay on target My favorite music games understand that while mastering rhythm is certainly satisfying, music is also about creative expression, not just hitting notes on a lane with perfect timing. Look at Thumper’s moody and purposeful lack of rhythm, DJ Hero’s gamification of mashups, or even the admirable of philosophy (if awful MIDI samples) of Wii Music. Wandersong is more in this tradition, a game with mighty musical mechanics exploring the imaginative possibilities of what a “music game” can even be.Wandersong’s cheeky opening has you picking up an unwieldy sword to take out a ferocious monster. You can barely swing the weapon and it ruins your running and jumping. Combat is a burden. When your dumb sword breaks then you aren’t left helpless but instead empowered to use your true talent: your singing voice. With its message of artistic pacifism made clear in the first minutes, Wandersong then sets you on an adventure to figure out all the different ways your singing can save the world.To sing, simply tilt the right analog stick in one of eight different directions each representing a color-coded tone. But from there the game derives a bunch of clever scenarios for what is basically a puzzle-platformer. There are rhythm minigames where you have to sing notes on beat to bust ghosts. But you can also sing to interpret their language and reunite them with living loved ones. During a “boss fight” you sing in an opposing tone to the monster’s yelling to cancel it out and walk forward for a hug. Platforming segments have you calling birds over to you to boost your jump, guiding wind currents, or singing to plants to guide their petals-turned-platforms. Communing with nature like this reminded me of Fe earlier this year. Or it’s like the parts of every Legend of Zelda game involving a musical instrument.Complementing the whimsical Disney comedy musical tone (featuring actual music, which is crucial) is Wandersong’s adorable art style. The different villages and forests and towers you explore looked ripped out of a storybook. The story is presented in acts and the handmade aesthetic along with the emphasis on theatrical musical performances gives off a real “let’s put on a show!’ vibe. The paper cut-out look also somewhat effects the gameplay as you hop between different background and foreground layers that might have otherwise been flat. Paper Mario fans might dig it, if they aren’t still complaining that the series isn’t an interminable JRPG anymore.Actual musicals are something I’m hit and miss on, even when SpongeBob is involved. But Wandersong demonstrates a lot of promise for the idea of an interactive musical action-adventure video game. We just need a better name for that genre. It’s another cool Nintendo Switch (and PC) game to play before Super Smash Bros. Ultimate comes out.Full Disclosure, Wandersong comes from Humble Bundle, which as a subsidiary of IGN is a part of the same Ziff Davis family as Geek.com.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img

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