Speed and techno-pop blend in Sayonara Wild Hearts, one of the best titles on Apple Arcade. Ride a motorcycle, fly or battle opponents to the beat of the music.
Read on to see why everyone with a subscription to Apple’s gaming service should be playing this new offering.
Annapurna Sayonara Wild Hearts review
There’s a storyline to this game, something about reunited lost lovers with the power of tarot cards. I never understood it, but then I never put too much effort into trying because a plot is immaterial.
What’s important is getting straight to zooming a skateboard through a world of bright colors with music urging you along, all the while picking up crystals to rack up your score.
As levels progress, you’ll switch to a motorcycle that you’ll accelerate down a city street dodging streetcars, and suddenly drive off a cliff to start flying. Then you’re back on the road, then you’re facing off a rival driver in combat. That’s the most challenging aspect of Sayonara Wild Hearts: the rapid switches between game modes within levels.
This isn’t a race — you have no control over your speed. And you don’t have any weapons. Getting a high score comes from maneuvering successfully through a very 3D world.
This game is fast-paced and challenging, without being too hard. Crash and you’ll just need to replay the previous few seconds so you can fix where you went wrong. Get stuck and the game will ask if you want to skip a section.
And the idea isn’t for you to pour all your attention into catching crystals. The game’s developer, Annapurna Interactive, put a ton of effort into the music, and it’s an integral part of the experience.
Take combat — if you can call it that. You’ll exchange a few blows with an opponent to the beat of the music. That’s not criticism, because real hand-to-hand fighting would be completely out of place in Sayonara Wild Hearts. What’s there seems more like dance.
Anyone who likes techno-pop will enjoy the array of songs. It’s not really my thing and I still liked it. I’m not going to buy the album, but neither did I wish I could silence the background music.
I found the game equally playable on an iPhone 11 with touch controls or on a TV with an Xbox controller. It’s something I could see playing in a queue at the DMV or to relax at the end of the day in my living room.
Because this is an Apple Arcade game, you’re never, ever bugged about in-app purchases. Those are banned, so you don’t have to buy power gems, better vehicles or weapons just to keep playing.
Sayonara Wild Hearts final thoughts
Annapurna created a title that’s fun and exciting without real violence. The look of Sayonara Wild Hearts reminds me of some of the classic arcade titles of days gone by, with elements of Tempest and Zaxxon blended with a racing game to create something beautiful.
And the music is outstanding, adding noticeably to the experience.
Sayonara Wild Hearts is available only through Apple Arcade, which costs $4.99 a month. There are 100+ other titles included too.
Neither Apple nor Annapurna provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.