If you’re in need of an emotional lift at the moment, I implore you to go and play Wandersong. It’s the most goddamn hopeful and feel-good game you’ll play all year, I swear.
Wandersong is a classic underdog story. Our melodious bard protagonist, you see, isn’t allowed to be the ‘hero’ when he finds out his world’s about to kick the bucket. It’s just not part of ‘his story’. He’s a bard, after all, and bards aren’t made for wielding giants swords like proper heroes. His arms are simply too weedy.
But what happens when said anointed, sword-wielding hero gets led astray by a conniving fairy creature? Who will put them on the path to righteousness then? Sounds like a job for someone who can belt out a bloody good tune, that’s what.
Time and time again in this colourful and cosy puzzle platformer, our cheery bard must prove himself to the powers that be, uniting those at war and giving strength to the people around him. He’s a smiling, calming presence in the face of adversity, but even his boundless optimism has its limits. Even after saving a pair of trolls, shutting down a horrible, gas-spewing factory and settling an age-old feud between two kingdoms, our bard reaches their breaking point, plunging into despair as they question whether they’re really making a difference or not. Maybe they should just give up and go home and wait for the end of the world…
But no. Having endured the bard’s seemingly endless enthusiasm for the world around them for days on end at this point, his witch friend Miriam isn’t having any of it. Spurred on by the bard’s own inherent positive, she manages to pull them out of their doom spiral and get them back on the straight and narrow. Because the bard is a hero, dang nabbit, and no all-seeing, all-knowing gods can say otherwise. It’s a heart-warming moment, and I will confess that I even got a bit misty-eyed as I watched it unfold.
In short, it’s exactly the kind of game the world needs right now, so don’t be put off by its simple and cheery exterior. For all its liberal usage of primary colours, Wandersong goes to some surprisingly dark places during the course of its nine-odd hour run time, including within a hair’s width of the actual apocalypse. Luckily, our ever trusty bard is on hand to save the world anyway even when everyone made fun of his singing and told him he’d never amount to anything at all, ever. He’s a true hero for our times, so go and have your spirits lifted alongside them on Steam, Xbox Game Pass, Humble or GOG. You won’t regret it.