Tag Archives: sayonara wild hearts

If I Had Infinite Time I Would Never Stop Chasing Perfect Ranks In Games

Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.  

I play games because they give me pleasure, but sometimes, that pleasure comes specifically from a desire to master all of their secrets. Clear all the time trials, get higher ranks, collect all the goodies. Sayonara Wild Hearts, Devil May Cry 5, Monster Hunter World. Sometimes you just want to be the best.

I felt this competitive drive deeply as I played Sayonara Wild Hearts last night. You play as a heartbroken girl whose grief reveals cosmic secrets, manifesting in neon motorcycle chases, giant robot battles, and other trippy sequences. The controls are simple; all you need to do is move your character and occasionally hit a button in time with the music to dodge, clash your sword, or perform other actions. It’s a mix of arcade action and musical games like Rez and The Tetris Effect.

It’s not easy to master any of the levels the first time around. Each of them has hearts and gems to collect that contribute to your final score, and once you’re familiar with a level’s layout, you can go back in and try to heighten your score further. There are three ranks: bronze, silver, and gold. Sayonara Wild Hearts’ levels last anywhere between 30 seconds to a couple of minutes, and missing even a small smattering of gems can result in dropping a rank.

It’s not a punishing game, and you don’t have to worry about your score. There’s even an option, which I disabled, to skip sections if you keep dying. Chasing scores could arguably distract from the emotional spectacle on display. When I replay a level to chase after a higher rank, before finishing the whole game, it feels like I’m getting distracted. But I do it anyway.

I’m prone to this type of self-made distraction, sometimes at the worst possible times. When I reviewed Devil May Cry 5 this year, I would often replay an entire level to make sure I had an S rank, which is the highest score you can get for each individual chapter. I did this while on deadline, and while it gave me more time with a fantastic game, it also got into the weeds a bit when I could’ve just beaten the game faster. But, damn, did I mess up and get hit by the demon king Urizen’s lasers? Guess I should try again. There’s stubbornness in chasing high scores, a grit that is both admirable and a little misguided. It can be hard to know when it’s time to break the cycle and move on.

For Devil May Cry 5, this tension became more clear to me when the team released the Bloody Palace mode. It’s a 100-floor combat gauntlet that all characters could play. The top levels have super-hard enemy arrangements at their maximum strength. If you die, you start over from the bottom. I clawed by way to victory as the brash swordfighter Nero, and I felt a hunger in me surge up. I needed to do it with Dante and the mysterious newcomer V, right? I had to beat it on all of the characters. Or did I? In that moment, I instead took a breath and decided that Nero was enough.

These moments come and go as I play games. If there’s one thing I pride myself on, it’s trying new challenges, harder mode, and optional areas. I complete most of these, but they take time, and sometimes, it can feel like a chore. At first, it was fun to do Breath of the Wild speedruns. I learned stasis launches and optimal paths through shrines. But did I really want to dedicate myself solely to that? That, and I do have a job that requires me to stay up to date on other games. Eventually I needed to bow out, even if I learned a lot through my sloppy speedrun attempts. When games like Sayonara Wild Hearts or Devil May Cry 5 offer challenge and style, however? Well, I suppose I can spend some time trying to be perfect.

Grinding out high ranks or collecting trinkets can sometimes seem a waste of time, but it’s a compelling process nevertheless. It’s the reason why achievements and trophies took off the way they did. A platinum trophy doesn’t really mean anything, and neither does a gold rank in Sayonara Wild Hearts. In the best cases, it’s an expression of how interesting you find something. Is this game so good that I want to play it until I’ve honed my skills to a mirror shine? Last night, the answer was yes. I’m excited to get the rest of my high scores in this game. Like a good meal, you sometimes want to have every last crumb.

Source: Kotaku.com

Sayonara Wild Hearts: The Kotaku Review

Sayonara Wild Hearts is a shining example of using a game’s design to say something meaningful while also making it look cool as hell. The game controls simply with the analog stick and a single button. What makes it stand out is its music, its look, and its mood.

Check out the video to see (and hear) the game in action.

Sayonara Wild Hearts tells the story of a young woman who experiences devastating heartbreak and, in the wake of that, discovers a much larger framework to the universe that she must navigate in order to restore its balance.

You control her as she runs, flies, or drives through a series of levels. Each part of the game is set to different song that matches the mood of a particular encounter.

You are on rails the entire time, reacting to the world around you as it zooms past you, avoiding obstacles, aiming for collectable hearts to rack up points, and pressing a button in time to jump to a new platform or attack an enemy.

These levels never require you to do more than move the analog stick in a direction and press a button at the right time. Each level is fun the first time and shines even more after repeated play, encouraging you to squeeze every bit of pulp out of a personal high score.

The variety of ways that Sayonara Wild Hearts experiments with its two basic inputs is straight up magic. One minute the game is an on-rails runner that has you narrowly avoiding obstacles, the next, it’s Rez, throwing enemies and projectiles at you that you need to highlight with a cursor and shoot.

Sayonara Wild Hearts keeps you guessing. That constant shakeup teaches you how to play and how to navigate new obstacles, but more importantly, it allows you to experience something that is equal parts fun and meaningful. Each level of the game is a beautiful and almost hypnotizing parable about fighting internal demons and overcoming mental hurdles.

My favorite level, and one of the more challenging ones, is called “Parallel Universes.” First, it has you attempting to remember the placement of certain obstacles along the way in tune to the music. Throughout that, the level switches back and forth between two different versions of the world.

As you speed through its highway on your motorcycle, changing lanes to collect hearts and narrowly avoiding obstacles in the road, the level shifts back and forth from one reality to another. It’s up to you to commit the placement of different obstacles in each world to memory so you can swerve to avoid them.

As I played, I trained my eyes hard on the middle distance, trying to concentrate on where I was headed. I kept failing. That is, until I noticed a pattern.

I wasn’t listening to the music, so I had missed the simple repeatable pattern that the game was trying to teach me. I had instead been trying to react to the obstacles as I saw them. I needed to stop thinking and feel it instead.

The moment I let go and actually listened to the rhythm, my instincts took over. I felt the movement the way I used to when reading sheet music. Once I learned the sequence and installed it in my muscles, I could add some finesse to the performance.

Most games want you to focus on their systems and find efficient ways to master them. Sayonara Wild Hearts’ systems tell you to learn them, and to borrow a phrase from Obi-Wan, “let go your conscious self and act on instinct.”

In one of the other standout levels, titled “Forest Ghost,” your character starts off by swerving to collect hearts while in pursuit of a runaway deer. After jumping on that deer, it’s up to both you and the deer to work in harmony, zig zagging through the world as you press a button to jump onto different platforms. The game’s music in this section provides the perfect accompaniment for this hypnotizing hand-eye coordination, reminding you to listen and feel.

The first time around, I played the game with my Switch docked, because it certainly benefits from cranking up the volume. If you’re playing in handheld, use a solid pair of headphones to help you focus on the rhythm even as you play on the smaller screen.

The game’s soundtrack is half of the reason to play it. If you’re not into a mix of electronic gems and catchy dream pop songs, then it might just not hit for you.

Same goes for the rest of the game’s aesthetic. Everything down to the typeface selection in the menus, which flashes and dances to the beat, has been immaculately packaged to convey a specific love-it-or-hate-it vibe.

Some games invite you in and ask you to like them. Sayonara Wild Hearts is different. It’s unapologetically confident. Sayonara Wild Hearts wears shades while she blows bubblegum bubbles, not even looking in your direction.

It’s undeniably cool, and if it’s not your thing, then Sayonara Wild Hearts is like, whatever. It wants to take whoever does love it and ride off into the neon sunset with them.

Source: Kotaku.com

Sayonara Wild Hearts Is A Dream Pop Collection Of Games

E3 2019It’s time for the biggest gaming show of the year. We’ve got articles, videos, podcasts and maybe even a GIF or two.  

Sayonara Wild Hearts may have stolen my heart during E3. The levels in the demo I played were a collection of different modes all zooming through different on-rails levels that ranged from endless runners to fighting rhythm games. I can’t stop thinking about it.

The game is a trip through vibrant, neon-lit worlds where the laws of physics don’t apply, set to a catchy pop soundtrack. It takes place in an alternate universe that was once ruled by three divine beings but is now thrown off balance. A young woman finds a butterfly that leads her to her other self, The Fool, who can traverse this alternate dimension on skateboards, magic carpets and motorcycles. Along the way she must defeat enemies and restore balance, one pop song at a time.

The first level started off fairly simple, acclimating me to the fast tempo by playing like an endless runner where I skateboarded down a Rainbow Road-style level and had to switch between several lanes collecting hearts.

The next level took that idea and accelerated it by putting me on a motorcycle chasing another character through a city. I dipped through alleys and down huge hills that reminded me of Crazy Taxi if the drivers could jump out of their cars, run through an entire building and leap out of a window back into their vehicle without missing a beat.

The camera changes perspectives at an instant, switching up the game and adding a frenetic energy. One second I’m playing an endless runner and the next I’m fighting a trio of letterman jacket-wearing bikers in a simple one-button rhythm sequence.

I was intrigued by the reveal trailer, but the demo I played at E3 really put Sayonara Wild Hearts at the top of my list of games I’m excited about this year. I seriously can’t wait to get my hands, eyes, ears and brain on this game.

Sayonara Wild Hearts comes to Switch later this year.

Source: Kotaku.com