They say that music heals the soul, but can it actually save the entire universe? Wandersong seems to think so. You take on the role of a passionate bard who uses his tuneful singing voice to defeat enemies, solve puzzles, and cross bottomless pits as you embark on a journey to collect pieces of the legendary Earthsong (no, not the Michael Jackson one). It’s a platform game that disregards the usual violent means of combat for a more laid back approach, resulting in a welcoming, accessible experience that will almost certainly put a smile on your face.
With striking visuals that remind us of a more rustic Paper Mario, Wandersong takes place across a range of locales – some more fantastical and dreamlike than others. There’s a wonderful use of colour here, with beautiful gradients displaying an almost pastel-like quality. As you traverse the land, you can sing a tune at will using the right analogue stick, and the foliage will change colour accordingly, with small animals following the sound of your voice. Little touches like this really bring the world of Wandersong to life, alongside some excellent writing and dialogue guaranteed to make you giggle.
The main gameplay, of course, sees you making use of the bard’s vocal cords, blasting out some tunes to complete various objectives. The game starts you off with some fairly simple tasks, such as copying short tunes played by NPCs, before moving onto more involving tasks like moving and moulding platforms at will, or repelling swarms of advancing enemies – all with the power of your singing voice. There’s plenty of variety on display here, and it feels like a wonderful breath of fresh air after the streams of platform games that focus on basic melee combat.
Designed to be as breezy an experience as possible, Wandersong may be a bit too easy for some. Sure, there are some hazards to be aware of; you’ll often fall off ledges during some of the more tricky platforming sections, but the game is incredibly generous with its checkpoints, meaning you’ll always respawn just a few feet away from where you fell. It’s also quite lenient with the singing mechanic, so if you accidentally sing the wrong note at any point, you’re rarely penalised. The low level of difficulty fits in nicely with the overall tone of the game, so even though the story has high stakes along with plenty of poignant moments, there’s an ongoing feeling of happiness throughout the entire experience.
If you’re after a unique experience, Wandersong completely has you covered. The singing mechanic works perfectly, and while it may feel a bit too easy at times, the combination of the visuals, writing, and various gameplay objectives across a generous seven-act structure make for an incredibly compelling platforming experience that you’d do well to check out.