'Sayonara Wild Hearts' Is a Brilliant, Beautiful Celebration of Pop Music

People who like Rez don’t just like Rez, they love Rez, the 2001 game which blended electronic music and on-rails shooting. It’s a game likened to a religious experience that opens one’s eyes to the possible. And while I’ve always had an intellectual respect for Rez, my repeated attempts to make it past the first few areas failed for a pretty important reason: I cannot stand the music. Electronic music does less than nothing for me, I actively dislike it. Without that, Rez falls apart. But pop music? Pop music has always been, and continues to be, a genre that speaks deeply to me I love its deceptive simplicity—and its bubblegum formulaic construction. I love the way it can make you nod your head and tap your feet—and curse a catchy chorus that refuses to leave your head. Most importantly, it makes me happy.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/pa7knn/sayonara-wild-hearts-is-a-brilliant-beautiful-celebration-of-pop-music
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PSA: The soundtrack is on Google Play Music probably elsewhere too.


I think I need to sit with this game a while to figure out how I feel. On the one hand, everything to do with its style, music, and the fact that its “album mode” exists are all great. But on the other, I have never enjoyed analog controls in rhythm games, and trying to get gold ranks in SWH has been absolutely punishing so far. Despite that though, the “Begin Again” level is just as good as I hoped it would be.

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This game is weird for me because the creators have cited Carly Rae Jepsen, CHvrches and Charli xcx as inspirations and those are probably my three most listened to artists of the last 4-5 years and I played it specifically because everyone mentions the CRJ influence but to me., most of the songs sound more like an almost Electric Youth type of synth pop which I really don’t enjoy as much. There’s a couple of tracks I enjoy but going in I thought I’d be in love with most of the music and I’m really not so far, maybe it will grow on me a bit more.

I’ve got a weird conflict with this game where it isn’t very long so I’d argue this is exactly the kind of experience that Apple Arcade was made for: unique art games that might not justify a $10 or $20 purchase. But… the controls on iPhone aren’t very good, so it almost makes me want to buy it “again” on Switch just for a d-pad to maybe get a Gold Rank once.

Why is no one talking about how we finally have a good 3D Sonic game?


Is there a term for the “map switching” that this game does in the parallel universes level? I’ve seen it a few times (most notabley ‘effect and cause’ from titanfall 2) but I don’t know if there is a proper term for it yet?

Regardless it’s my favorite thing and with the music beats chef kiss

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Lol I’m in this exact situation where I played through it on my iPhone, and overall enjoyed it at the end. But now I’m like… maybe I would enjoy it even more on Switch when I can actually move without having to swipe like three times. But then I wouldn’t start out with access to the arcade mode either so maybe I’ll just wait for a sale.

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This has been the stand out release of Apple Arcade for me so far. It’s just so damn good. Definitely recommend pairing a controller with your device though, the touch controls kinda suck.

Seems to be almost everywhere :slight_smile:

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Okay, this might be a stupid question but here goes:

As someone who isn’t really all that moved by pop music, is this game worth checking out? I think I’m at the point where I like pop music and find it interesting in the abstract, but almost every time I actually listen to it, I almost always end up being a bit bored by it. Even with the SWH soundtrack, like, I think it’s such a cool idea and on that level I really want to engage with it, but actually listening to the music didn’t really do anything for me. It was nice, I didn’t hate it by any stretch, but that was sort of the extent of it.

I really hope this doesn’t come off as me yucking other peoples yum because again, I absolutely adore the idea of Sayonara Wild Hearts. I just don’t know if that is enough to actually fully appreciate what the game is doing when I’m sitting down to play it.

Played through this this morning on my phone. Thought it was pretty solid! The actual big pop songs were pretty great, but everything else was just alright. I played the first third of the game on my touch screen, and it’s not unplayable, but it’s definitely the inferior way to play. Connected my PS4 controller for the rest and it was very smooth.

I wouldn’t call myself a big fan of the pop genre, but I think the game is enjoyable regardless. There is a lot of good being spectacles going on.

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If you can do the Apple Arcade free trial and check it out there, I’d definitely say that is worth doing (though the touch controls aren’t very good). If you’re not into the soundtrack though I don’t know if it would be worth paying full price for. I think the music definitely works a lot better in context, with the gameplay and visuals all happening but it could still end up not being for you.

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Yeah it’s really tough, because listening to Patrick talk about it on the podcast so much of it just seems like it is extremely my kind of deal. The idea of a game using it’s extremely coherent and distinguishable aesthetic sensibilities as a vehicle for introducing various different types of gameplay mechanics is sooooo eppealing! But it also seems like the music ultimately is the lynchpin of that experience.

I’ll maybe pick it up on Switch at some point. I’m basically too curious about it to stay away from it altogether, but for now I think I’ll maybe wait a bit and see if there’s a sale eventually.