Sayonara Wild Hearts – Review

Sayonara Wild Hearts

(Simogo for Apple Arcade)
By Mike Delano

Growing up, everyone experiences a handful of nights out that resonate throughout their lives. They stick in your memory because of the impact they had — whether painful or joyful, it was a time when you felt a heightened sense of connection with the world. Sayonara Wild Hearts, the latest game from superstar Swedish mobile game developer Simogo, does a great job of capturing the spirit of one of those nights. Your character is literally pulled from bed into a frenetic dreamscape, and that world of neon and synth pop turns out to be the background for your journey of reflection and self-discovery. As you make your way through the short, fast-paced levels, you’ll piece together that this is a post-breakup night of awakening, as your character comes to terms with the past and prepares herself for the future. The intense rush of self-awareness that comes at the end of a relationship is perfectly expressed through the speedy, constantly-moving gameplay — an unseen hand pulling you desperately through abstract scenarios like motorcycle races and surfing on tarot cards. Your moment-to-moment actions consist of simple steering, dodging and button prompts, but the game takes so many twists and turns that you never fall into mindless repetition. You’re only racing through city streets for a short while before you’re thrust into a forest to battle a laser-spewing Cerberus, or flying through the air in a side-scrolling shooter, or painting targets à la Rez, and on and on. It’s a wild ride, and it’s over quick, but at a time when so many games require days, weeks or more of your time to tell you their stories, it’s refreshing to have one that says everything it has to say in just one night. A night to remember.