Sayonara Wild Hearts - Bike Battle
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Credit: Annapurna Interactive

Sayonara Wild Hearts combines shoujo anime with pop music

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Jan 7, 2019, 1:03 PM EST

Sayonara Wild Hearts first sashayed its way into gamers' hearts during 2018's Game Awards, a neon-drenched curiosity that we knew very little about. But a few dozen repeated trailer viewings later, we're ready to burst into the world running, diving headfirst into its strange new world. Seriously. It looks amazing. 

Its gorgeous, dreamy vibe looks like the result of a million "aesthetic" Tumblr blogs having been chopped up and blended into a deliciously sugary paste, then meted out on handcrafted anime doilies. It's a technicolor dream that resembles one of your favorite shoujo anime character's fantasy sequences, or a magical girl's transformation in progress.

Officially, the game's description states that it's a "euphoric music video dream about being awesome, riding motorcycles, skateboarding, dance battling, shooting lasers, wielding swords, and breaking hearts at 200 mph." We think, however, that it looks like the distillation of anime, music, pop culture, and your dream goth girlfriend's amazing wardrobe (that you'd totally steal). The characters themselves? Well, they're based on tarot cards, and feature gangs like the Dancing Devils, Howling Moons, Stereo Lovers, and Hermit 64. 

You'll take on The Fool, the alternate identity of a heartbroken young woman who reinvents herself as a super cool masked biker, according to developer Simogo. The Fool takes on an interdimensional quest to find and break other bikers' hearts – because why not, right?

Apparently, from the trailer, breaking hearts involves getting caught up in dance battles, fighting mysterious multi-headed beasts, and living in a constantly-shifting, amazing world.  

According to Simogo, the game is a "soup made of pop culture." That means it's comprised, as the developer names off in its official blog post, of amazing things like OutRun, Rez, WarioWare, Space Harrier, Sailor Moon, Charli XCX, Carly Rae Jepsen, Gradius, Tron, Ouendan, and even the creators themselves, with a dash of "strangeness and mysticism" to boot. 

The developer is primarily known for adventures like Year Walk and Device 6, both rife with lush visuals and unique narrative approaches. This current project has been in the works for four years as Project Nightroad, and it was only ready just this year, Simogo says, to bring to the masses after its time in development. 

What's more, the game comes packing a custom-written vocal pop soundtrack, which you can hear a few snippets of in the trailer, though be forewarned – you're only going to want to hear more from there. 

But what's most interesting about Sayonara Wild Hearts is its refusal to stick to the norm, even in terms of standard production values and mechanics for action games. 

"We realized that what we wanted to make was an action game that felt inviting, without compromising what makes an action game good: the thrill," Simogo wrote on its blog post about the title. "A game that could be enjoyed equally by people who play video games all the time and people who have no interest, or are even scared to play video games. We wanted that game to constantly throw new surprises at you, without having to explain new control schemes, mechanics or systems." 

That's certainly what it looks like Simogo has cooking just from the brief glimpse we were given with its first trailer, and it looks infectiously, effortlessly cool. 

The official press release for the game states that there are virtually no loading times to get you "straight to the action," and still delivers 1080/60 fps docked, and 720/60 fps handheld when played on your Nintendo Switch. 

Though Simogo has confirmed the game will be debuting in 2019, we don't have a concrete date as far as when we can expect it. Hopefully, it's closer to the beginning of the year instead of later, because this type of magical anime-infused adventure looks like it certainly shouldn't be missed. Oh, and you're totally welcome for the heads up.

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