Turns out, music is more powerful than you thought.
Wandersong is a new adventure game by Greg Lobanov that follows an optimistic bard who uses music as a weapon, tool, and transportation device in his quest to save the world from destruction.
The musical control method is where Wandersong shines. The bard repeats patterns from friends, enemies, and others around him to affect his environment. Using this method, he can fend off ghosts and gain more height when jumping, among many other powers. It is unique to Wandersong and works very fluidly. So much creativity is on display through the many different ways this concept is executed.
The game starts in the bard’s dream, where a messenger of the goddess Eya appears to him. She says that his universe is doomed to be destroyed with the singing of the goddess’ new song. After waking up, he discovers that ghosts have invaded his town. He is told by a witch that the world, in fact, is actually ending. The messenger tells the bard that the one way to save the world from ending is to sing the Earthsong, which channels all life on the planet. The bard meets an overseer, who is able to teach him the Earthsong but refuses. Still, the messenger tells him not to lose hope and learn the song from the six other overseers.
The story is not complex, but I wouldn’t want it to be. This cardboard world with all its different communities is brought to life through the people. The different personalities seen throughout are all equally important to drive the story forward. The bard, who you can name yourself (with a limited choice in letters), starts as a carefree, happy soul, but becomes weary and nervous as his journey continues. The translation of the text sometimes seems odd at times but is never unclear or distracting.
The cardboard design is strikingly charming and unique. Unfortunately, the visuals have a rough border around the edges. Smoothing this out would make it look more visually appealing on the big screen, but looks much better on handheld mode. Although the art style is simple, the developers found ways to express themes and emotion through dynamic lighting and color. Each environment feels unique and the visual style always works to convey a specific feeling.
Wandersong is definitely worth checking out on the basis of how different and unique it is. From the fun, new interaction method to the hand-crafted art style, this is something completely fresh.