Sayonara Wild Hearts - PlayStation 4 Review

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An emotional, music-filled adventure through a dreamy world - or is it a nightmare? Let’s pop!

  • System: PlayStation 4, Apple Arcade, Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
  • Developer: Simogo
  • Release Date: 19th Sep. 2019

Who it Caters to

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Sayonara Wild Hearts is a game for players that just want to be entertained and have fun while facing a healthy amount of challenge. It’s a lot like playing an arcade game, with short levels that make use of points for rankings, and completing one level allows you to unlock the next one. You can go back at any time to try to earn a higher score, but otherwise, the replay value is low other than just for fun. Sayonara Wild Hearts is not aimed at hardcore gamers that want a game to play over a long period of time, or who are looking for a fully fledged narrative, intense action game, or immersive RPG.

Instead, Sayonara Wild Hearts is perfect for people who want a casual, beautiful game to experience. It’s all about art, music, and emotion, making the gamer feel rather than thinking about what is happening in the game. It’s fun to play and can be enjoyed in short bursts. Sayonara Wild Hearts is also great for busy people who just want something to take their mind off of reality for a few minutes and have some fun. With a great pop soundtrack, it’s also perfect for music fans and gamers that enjoy rhythm-style gameplay. It’s got a similar vibe to the popular Japanese arcade game Groove Coaster, so anyone looking for a game like that in their own house will really enjoy Sayonara Wild Hearts.

What to Expect

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It’s important to go into Sayonara Wild Hearts understanding that it’s kind of an art game. While it does have a story, that story is vague and told mostly through symbolism. Instead of using words and cutscenes, Sayonara Wild Hearts uses imagery, metaphors, and most importantly music to tell the narrative. There aren’t experience points, inventory, maps, or even health points or lives. It’s all just about controlling the lead heroine through many different levels, each stranger than the last, as a new song plays and you try to reach the ending.

Sayonara Wild Hearts is a game that challenges you without making you feel punished or defeated. It can be difficult at times, but with the option to skip really hard parts of the game if you can’t complete them, the game remains accessible to anyone who wants to check it out. If you’re looking for a game that will really test your limits, Sayonara Wild Hearts isn’t the right title. But if you’re looking for a game that has a unique style and gameplay, and that is more about the sensory experience of playing it over the actual gameplay, it’s great. As with any game, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you start to make sure it’s the right game for you.


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Rather than telling a story through cutscenes and dialogue, Sayonara Wild Hearts tells it’s simple story through symbolism and the emotions it makes players feel as they progress through the game. With a simple narrated backstory at the start of the game, Sayonara Wild Hearts sets up a tale about a woman whose heart is broken. In fact, her heart is so deeply broken that it echoes throughout all of reality, shattering the line between what is real and what is a dream. You take on the role of this nameless, heartbroken heroine in the form of her other “self,” a masked rider, while she struggles to defeat her enemies and repair her broken heart.

The story in Sayonara Wild Hearts is linked to tarot cards and the zodiac as well, with enemies based on tarot card characters and the heroine herself even known as the Fool. These short narrated sequences can be skipped if you choose as well, dropping you right into the action and gameplay immediately. In addition to the main game, there are also trivia questions that can be accessed from the main menu based on each of the zodiac signs. These riddles are solved by doing certain tasks or achievements in the game’s levels and are the only way to earn trophies.


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Gameplay in Sayonara Wild Hearts is simultaneously very simple and very complex. The game only uses one button and one analog stick as you control the lead heroine on her adventures. What exactly you’re doing on each level varies though both by the level and even WITHIN the levels. Sometimes you’re riding a skateboard or a motorbike and trying to avoid obstacles. Other times you’re flying through the air trying to get a lot of points. And still, other times you’re doing quick time sequences to fight enemies or avoid being shot. You have to think fast and adapt to the situation because there are no tutorials or directions, and nothing happens slowly in Sayonara Wild Hearts.

Get ready for camera angle changes, bright colours, flashing lights, and a necessity for fast reflexes and good timing when playing Sayonara Wild Hearts. Luckily the game is very forgiving if you lose/make a mistake (there is no “dying” per se), as the game resets to just a few seconds before you hit an obstacle, time a jump poorly, or wasn’t fast enough at a quick time action. It won’t reset you back to the start of the level so you don’t have to replay very much to keep going forward with the song. Along with completing levels, each level of Sayonara Wild Hearts has a point ranking at the start with goals for bronze, silver, and gold ranks. Along the way, you can collect hearts to earn points, and losing takes away points from your score each time you have to reset. At the end of the level, the game tells you your ranking, and levels that are completed can be replayed any time to try to earn a higher personal rank. Achievements can also be unlocked in the form of “zodiac riddles;” when you accomplish a certain task, you can earn PlayStation trophies.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

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Sayonara Wild Hearts is a really easy game for anyone to pick up and play. From elementary school kids up through adults, the game can have appeal to anyone who just wants to enjoy the music, colors, design, and fast-pacing. Without a complex story, Sayonara Wild Hearts is more about the game’s design and music and the emotions those two things work together to bring you. It’s entertaining and hard to put down, and will probably leave you wanting more if you enjoy it. Our biggest complaint is that it was too short and we wanted to keep playing more new and creative levels!

Honey's Pros:

  • If you lose many times in the same spot on a level, Sayonara Wild Hearts will give you the option to skip that section. This means you don’t have to worry about not being able to complete the game, even if parts of it are too difficult.
  • The soundtrack is incredible! It really suits the style and gameplay, and might even tempt you into buying it when you’re finished.
  • Sayonara Wild Hearts gets progressively harder and more complex as it goes. Each level adds in a new element of gameplay, stacking them as the levels go up and making the game more difficult in a way that makes it easy to learn but still challenging to beat.
  • It’s easy to pick up and put down. The game loads quickly and you can start playing a level almost immediately. The levels are short enough that you can stop any time you want and pick it up again later.

Honey's Cons:

  • If you’re prone to dizziness or vertigo, Sayonara Wild Hearts might not be for you (or at least not for more than a few minutes at a time). We had a friend in the room while we played who had to leave due to a headache from just watching.
  • Sayonara Wild Hearts can be finished in one evening. While that may be okay for some casual gamers, we were left wishing it was much longer!
  • The levels are not well-balanced in length and difficulty. While some are almost too long leaving you wanting a break, others are over incredibly fast.
  • Some gamers may feel the gameplay itself is not varied enough as you only use one button and one analog stick the entire game.

Honey's Final Verdict:

Overall Sayonara Wild Hearts was a positive experience. It is a unique game with its own distinct style and way of telling a story, which is refreshing in a world of games that lack originality and aren’t willing to take a risk. Sayonara Wild Hearts isn’t afraid to be what it is, which is some strange mix of rhythm and art game that looks clean and finished, is fun to play, and surprisingly addicting. Annapurna Interactive has a history of making unique and compelling titles like What Remains of Edith Finch and Florence, and Sayonara Wild Hearts fits on that list as well.

Have you tried out Sayonara Wild Hearts yourself yet, or are you interested to give it a try? Do you have any questions about it since its such a unique game? What draws you to it? If you have already played, what did you think? Drop us a comment before you go!

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Author: Jet Nebula

Living the dream in Tokyo, where you can find me working at a theme café catered towards women. When I’m not writing for Honey’s, I’m working on original dystopian science fiction or blogging about Tokyo’s trendy coffee scene. I spend my free time in Harajuku and Shibuya wearing alternative Japanese street fashion. I love video games, J-rock, tattoos, and Star Wars.

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