As gamers, we often find that many games indulge us when we smite our enemies with weaponry, technological marvels, or magical might that transcends our imagination. If you have ever wanted to forsake it all and sing your enemies away, Wandersong has your number. Developed and published by Greg Lobanov, Wandersong is a nonchalant tale of a musical adventure. With versions for the Nintendo Switch, and PC already out, how has Wandersong changed on the Playstation and is it still a song you want to hear? This is our Wandersong PS4 Review.
You start Wandersong as a happy-go-lucky bard, whom the townspeople find somewhat annoying, and through a series of dreams and events, you are indirectly pushed towards saving the entire world. It sounds like a tall order for a lowly bardlet, but there is no despair or malice present as you embark on your journey. The simplistic, stylized graphics lend itself well to this title, as it gives all of the characters expressive emoji-like faces. The characters quickly become endearing, not just due to their expressions, but for the simple fact that, despite the massive threat looming as the main undercurrent of the game, each character expresses a casual, almost indifferent take on the driving narrative. They simply focus on their feelings, or their immediate issues in a jovial enjoyable way.
Even the player, as a somewhat carefree bard who has suddenly become a worldly savior, his face may reflect momentary unhappiness or displeasure, but at any given moment, simply pressing the triangle button will enable him to dance lightheartedly, which I found myself doing every so often for a laugh. In order to become a proficient bard, players will need to become fairly well versed in utilizing the right thumbstick. Utilizing the D-Pad is also an alternative, but it puts players at a disadvantage as you need the left analog control for movement. Either the D-Pad or the right thumbstick will open up a radial menu with different colors that correspond to different sounds. This is how you essentially “sing” but songs play out in several different forms. You may have some puzzles that require you to simply repeat a set color or pattern, or you may find an environmental puzzle where your radial menu and songs will immediately change the environment around you so that you can progress through the level.
Each portion of the story is sectioned into chapters. Within each chapter you will find yourself meeting new friends and facing new challenges, and in some cases, you may even play as a new character entirely. The story is the primary driving factor here. While Wandersong is a “musical adventure”, there is wide appeal for non-music lovers too. Mild platforming, puzzle solving and even some light combat are all elements of a broad adventure littered with spirits, pirates and monsters. The story and solid adventure mechanics are more than enough to engross players, but I was also supremely happy with the exceptional comedic timing Greg Lobanov was able to achieve.
Wandersong isn’t without some problems. From the beginning, you are somewhat tossed into a world where you are expected to simply learn by noodling around with the controls. While it isn’t hard to essentially get the gist of what and how you are supposed to play, there were moments where I realized, maybe I missed something or perhaps I wasn’t playing a song correctly. This facet of gameplay can lead to confusion on several occasions where you are expected to do something, but it isn’t immediately clear what it is. Eventually a persistent gamer will be able to bypass those areas without much of a problem, as I was able to, but some players may find some frustration in what should be a very relaxing and enjoyable experience.
Despite some minor hiccups, Wandersong PS4 does the well-received title justice. The PS4 controller works well, and while the sounds playing through the controllers’ speakers isn’t necessary, it is certainly a nice touch. Wandersong is a quirky, unique title with an extraordinary amount of charm. The characters are lovable and don’t take anything too seriously. While replay-ability may be an negative factor, there is enough adventure packed into this little game to keep adventure and platform-puzzler fans busy for hours. Players should expect to come into Wandersong looking for adventure, but no doubt they’ll continue playing due to its incredible heart. Wandersong is out now on PS4.