Wind down with ‘Wandersong’

Aqilah Rahman

With dozens of new games coming out to the Nintendo Switch every month, it can be easy to get lost in the selection of titles available and miss out on the smaller ones, especially those made by independent developers, also known as indie games for short.

Wandersong was initially released as an indie game on Nintendo Switch in September 2018, but I only knew about it recently and I’m glad I didn’t miss out on this gem.

In Wandersong, you play as a bard who learns that the world is ending.

Naturally, just like every other video game protagonist, the bard sets his mind on saving the world; he’s going to be a hero.

The bad news is that the bard isn’t a hero at all. He’s just a bard who can sing, and Wandersong addresses this head-on, right off the bat. There is one way he can probably save the world though, and that’s by learning each piece of the Earthsong from the world’s Overseers.

Aside from its fun gameplay, it also has a diverse, memorable cast. Each character has a distinct personality and flaws, driven by their motives. PHOTOS: GREG LOBANOV
You can make the bard sing anytime and anywhere you want

Keeping his hopes up, the bard goes on a journey together with a grumpy witch to learn the Earthsong. Eventually, they meet the real hero and that’s when things go south. Wandersong is a side-scrolling platformer that uses the bard’s singing to solve puzzles.

You can make him sing in eight different notes, using the right thumbstick on the Switch.

In some challenges, the player has to match the notes with another character, just like a rhythm game. Wandersong is pretty lenient with the players.

If you miss a few notes here and there, it doesn’t give you a penalty or force you to re-do the song. The story just goes on.

The game is also generous with its checkpoints. If you fall off a cliff, you start over at the checkpoint just a few steps away.

As for the puzzles, they’re generally easy and have plenty of visual clues. Some of the puzzles took me some trial and error to figure out, but for the most part, they’re doable without requiring too much work. While the game mainly uses the bard’s singing, Wandersong keeps things fresh by introducing new game mechanics in each chapter.

As you progress further into the game, you get new ways to use the bard’s voice.

You can make plants grow to reach high places, control the boat’s direction as you sail with pirates, and make walls sticky so you can walk on them upside-down.

There are a lot of little details in Wandersong that make it such a fun game to play. If you press the X button on the Switch, the bard will do a little dance that ranges from a crab dance to an elegant ballerina spin, depending on the dance moves you’ve collected.

This dance feature doesn’t have any actual use or purpose, but it’s there and it’s fun. I pressed X whenever I felt like seeing the bard do a little jig while exploring a town or a dungeon, and it never got old.

Another interesting feature is that you can make the bard sing anytime anywhere you want. Some characters get annoyed at this and will tell the bard off for singing so much. Of course, when this happens, the only acceptable response is to make the bard sing even more and see how other characters would react – because why not?

The bard’s singing also affects the surrounding environment. You can blow the leaves away, change the colour of flowers’ petals, and even make other animals sing with you. These are all these little things that add a lot to the gaming experience, and what makes Wandersong such a joy to play.

Aside from its fun gameplay, it also has a diverse, memorable cast. Each character has a distinct personality and flaws, driven by their motives. The dialogue in the game is also top-notch.

Wandersong is filled with witty lines and does a great job of balancing out the funny moments and heart-tugging scenes that resonate with the player.

As for graphics, Wandersong has a ‘paper cutout’ art style that is clean and simple, coupled with its pastel/gradient colour scheme that’s easy on the eyes. It’s a vibrant, minimalistic art style that complements the game’s light atmosphere.

It also knows when to tone down its colours during the sombre scenes to set up the mood.

Overall, Wandersong is a fun, humorous game I will recommend to anyone who just wants to wind down and have a good time. For some players, it may be too easy, but even so, I’d encourage playing Wandersong, because really, it’s just so good.