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"I'm just a bard but I'll work hard / to show them what's inside"
The Bard, "I Wanna Be A Hero"

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wandersong.png
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The world is ending, but you're no hero; just a Quirky Bard. So what do you do? Why, sing, of course!

Wandersong, by Greg Lobanov, is a Genre Mashup of a game, containing elements of puzzle games, platformers, adventure games, and of course, rhythm games. You play as the Bard, an everyday (if not rather odd) singer who finds that, sometime soon, the world is about to be destroyed to start anew. Resolved to prevent the erasure of the land he loves, he goes on a quest to learn the pieces of the Earthsong. On the way he meets Miriam, a dour, sarcastic witch who accompanies him on his quest.

What follows is a funny, silly, heartbreaking, tense, and poignant story...along with a lot of singing.

In Wandersong, the player can run and jump, just like in any platform game, but the crux of the gameplay comes from your ability to sing: by tilting the right stick in various directions, you belt out a note. Effects this has include causing animals to follow you, calming angry ghosts, navigating the sea, and getting people to yell at you.

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Can be found on PC via Steam and the Nintendo Switch.

This game features a LOT of fun twists and turns, so even unspoilered text might be considered spoilers! You've been warned.

This game provides examples of:

  • Achievement Mockery: Subtly done. Most of the achievements can't be earned by the Bard, but are actually earned by the Hero, and as such are out of your control to unlock, which enforces the Bard's status as The Unchosen One.
  • Actual Pacifist: The Bard who outright refuses to kill or hurt anyone on his quest to the point that he even refuses to step on bugs, literally jumping in the air away from them if he's in danger of landing or even stepping on one. Works out for him in the end when the bugs decide that he's trustworthy and help him not only through the cave but also to escape after the cave-in.
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  • A Bard Named Bard: One of the possible names you can choose is "Bard".
  • Adorkable: The Bard definitely counts. Have you ever seen anyone get so excited over bugs before? Granted part of that was because they saved him and the Hero from a cave-in, but still.
  • All Trolls Are Different: Wandersong's trolls are more like yetis than anything, a whole bit nicer too.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: More like always check behind the thumb. The location of one of the Mask characters (and subsequently, one of the dances for the Bard) is obscured by the Bard's thumb on the map of the ocean during Chapter 3.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: In between Acts 3 and 4, you get to control Audrey and use her lightning sword to take down the corrupted Queen of Winds.
  • Anti-Hero: Audrey is arrogant, dismissive of others, prideful and her role as the Hero is to hasten the universe's end so it can be reborn. In reality, she's a hero only in name and acts full-on Hero Antagonist near the end of the game, such as killing the Ichor Mountain Overseer before letting the Bard completely cure it.
  • Apocalypse How: On a universal scale.
  • Back for the Finale: Every NPC the Bard met and befriended during his journey joins together in his song in the game's ending.
  • The Bard: The main character, naturally.
  • Book-Ends: The game starts with the Bard waking up in his house in the morning to news the universe is ending and ends with him going to sleep at night with the universe just renewed.
  • Bottomless Pits: Mostly appear in the spirit world, though Act 6 features some as part of the mountain climb. Luckily, they don't do any sort of lasting damage—not even when you're playing as Audrey.
  • Caffeine Bullet Time: During the voyage in Act 3, the crew decides to egg the Bard into drinking his first cup of coffee. The end results were the Bard passing out till the next day after tossing everyone around with his more boisterous than usual voice, and immediately getting banned from drinking any more coffee.
  • Caramelldansen Vid: One of the potential dances the Bard could learn.
  • Changing of the Guard: During the ending, all of the fairies ascend to become the new Overseers of their respective domains.
  • Chekov's Gun: The Potion of Power.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The fight against the corrupted King of Hearts takes place over an active volcano but the characters barely even mention the heat, much less suffer for it.
  • The Corruption: A very interesting example. The Overseers are slowly being corrupted, turning them into violent monsters. At first, it seems like the world ending is to blame, but it's actually the opposite: the world is ending because the Overseers are becoming corrupted. The actual cause of this is the nature of the Overseers: since they embody facets of the world, as things fall apart and become discordant, their corruption worsens.
  • Covers Always Lie: The main cover art for Wandersong has the Bard as the largest character, followed by the Angel, Viola, and Miriam. However, Miriam, despite being the least prominent of the three in the artwork, is the Deuteragonist. Viola, on the other hand, is simply a side character.
  • Crapsaccharine World: With the cheery colors and adorable construction-paper design, you'd have no idea that the creation goddess is about to destroy it! Invoked Trope, in this case: in a VentureBeat interview, Greg states that if the game was always positive, "it would be a very empty experience".
  • Cuddle Bug: The Bard has no qualms with hugging the pirate captain or Miriam.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Played with. The Overseers are corrupted, but not entirely evil, even when in their blackened forms. They still have memories of their personalities in them. However, it's the act of them giving up a part of the Earthsong to the Bard that corrupts and destroys them.
    • Miriam also counts, being a dour, easily agitated, and zap-happy witch who wants to save the world.
  • Dawn of an Era: The Bard succeeds in earning the universe a second chance at life, the process leading up to it completely reordering everything; all the extinguished stars are replaced with entirely new galaxies and constellations, the landmarks of the now gone Spirit World exist in the material world and the fairies ascend to replace their Overseers. Delphi is revitalized with the band you started, the mermaids have decided to return and run with the pirates, Chismest is in the works of becoming a center of scientific discovery, Chaandesh and Ruule have ended their war and opened their borders to each other.
  • Defiant to the End: The Dream King, who refused to give the Bard the final piece to the Earth Song because he saw absolutely no point, even on the verge of total corruption.
    • Following the above example, Audrey once again refuses to give up in her quest to slay the Overseers, even after the Bard and Miriam disarm and defeat her. After the Bard gives her a speech about how she doesn't need to be the Hero to be special, she promptly tells them it isn't enough, before snatching her sword back and killing the final Overseer.
  • Developers' Foresight: A rather dark example. Trying to sequence break by playing the Overseer Songs of the first three chapters before you're actually meant to know them triggers a "special" ending scenario where the game suddenly stops dead in its tracks after Audrey murders the Nightmare King.
  • Developer's Room: At the beginning of the game, there's a secret area that requires a password given to you in the same location at the very end of the game. After which you're teleported to an area where you can talk with the key developers.
  • Doomed Hometown: Langtree, the town the Bard lived in before his adventure started is... worse for wear by the time he comes back for the final Earthsong piece. Luckily, it got better after he successfully stop the universe from ending.
  • Dreadful Musician: The mayor of Langtree doesn’t have the same vocals as the Bard does to put it lightly.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Subverted in Chaandesh, where Miriam's broom had been broken in a previous event, forcing the Bard to find another way to travel the city.
  • Eat Dirt, Cheap: The... seal-things on Ichor Mountain eat some sort of glowing crystal for energy.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: What sets the plot in motion with Eya wanting to start over the world with the Bard claiming the world doesn't need to die.
  • Eternal Engine: Act 4's Spirit World takes the factory theme of the chapter and runs with it, with elevators, gears, buzzsaws, and crushing spikes all serving as obstacles.
  • Eternal Recurrence: The goddess Eya sings a pure universe into existence, it grows old and corrupted and eventually has be to be destroyed in the process of her creating a new one. This has occurred countless times before the Bard existed and he decides to Screw Destiny.
  • Fairy Companion: Every Overseer has one who is of the same species (and opposite gender) as them.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Kingdom of Ruule towards Witches of Chaandesh, and vice versa.
  • Fetch Quest: Retrieving the items needed to brew a Potion of Power. Finding the second half of the Mermaid's Tear might also count.
  • Final Boss: Played with. The straightforward example is the Nightmare King (the corrupted Dream King), and he's the character who receives a health bar during the fight. However, because killing him will end the world, the fight instead revolves around protecting him and stealing Audrey's sword. Thus, the real final boss is Audrey Redheart.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The Bard and Miriam.
  • Foil: Audrey to the Bard. She is designated the Hero because she can wield the sword to destroy any obstacle in her path, whereas the Bard can barely lift it and sings his way through every obstacle. They both want to be a hero to prove they matter and can make a difference but while Audrey is unfettered in proving it by taking out anyone in her way to destroy the world, the Bard does everything he can to avoid violence and preserve the world for all living things.
  • Food as Bribe: A skittish dog is befriended this way.
  • Foreshadowing: The fact that any appearance of the Beast of Ichor Mountain is accompanied by the same familiar bursts of purple static the player has, by that stage in the game, come to associate with the monsters from the Sun King's castle who sprung from the corrupted Overseer himself, foreshadows the reveal that the beast is the corrupted form of another Overseer - the King of Hearts.
    • During Chapter 3, the Bard is warned of a great monster guarding the ruins of one island. Inside the ruins, though, the monster is already dead, with a giant wound through it. This foreshadows Audrey's appearance and her desire to kill anything remotely monstrous.
    • Until the end of Chapter 3, you can only unlock 2 achievements, both for "defeating" monsters the Bard never actually encountered. Once you start playing as Audrey, it becomes clear those achievements aren't really for him.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Wherever the Bard goes, expect him to befriend a majority of the population.
  • Ghostly Goals: Several ghosts appear during the game, all falling under Type A. Hala does challenge the Bard when first met, but is much friendlier afterwards.
  • Ghost Town: There's one at the foot of Ichor Mountain, having been completely abandoned due to the growing number of monsters in the area.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The Hero is an arrogant and cruel character who continues through the prophecy to end the world so it could be "her story".
  • Gravity Screw: A certain late-game song lets the Bard walk on walls and the ceiling in select areas.
  • Heel Realization: After meeting with the Bard, the Baron realizes that his Happy Kid toys aren't actually making anyone happy, and his factory is making the people of Chismest miserable. He immediately ceases production.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Played With. When Saphy asks for your name, you don't open up a standard naming dialogue; instead, you use the regular choice interface, which is selecting a response from the singing wheel. Of course, with only 8 choices maximum per wheel, you won't have too many options for names, and you might have to try again to get a name you'd be satisfied with. Choosing to try again has Miriam lampshade this by wondering why it took you so many tries to get your name right!
  • Hero of Another Story: Outside of the brief moment you control her after Act 3, you only see the results of Audrey's exploits outside of the Spirit World, such as seeing giant shadow creatures defeated on the road.
  • The Hero: Audrey, who literally calls herself the hero, being chosen by the Angel to slay the Overseers that will destroy the world if unattended to. Slowly subverted with the Hero being an arrogant jerk with the Bard taking the role with the (mostly completed) Earthsong.
  • Heroic BSoD: Thrice, one at the end Act 3 leading into Act 4 after being told he was actually supposed to give up by the Angel, the second after falling into the cavern trapped with the Hero, and the third after the Hero backed out of her promise to spare an Overseer.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The mermaids have secluded themselves to a small island to finally get people to leave them alone.
  • Ignored Epiphany: When the Bard tells Audrey in the final confrontation that she was special, hero or not, and that by simply letting them attempt the Earthsong would make her a hero to everyone currently existing. She mulls over it for a small moment before deciding it wasn't good enough, killing the last Overseer.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: The battle against the corrupted King of Hearts functions like this, with Audrey stunning the monster and the Bard attempting to sing it out of its rage. Just when it seems like the King has regained some sense, Audrey kills him.
  • I Lied: Audrey backs out of her promise to the Bard to let him try to save a Overseer by claiming that she was just lying to get out of being trapped in the cave.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Act 4 revolves around this feature.
  • It Can Think: The Beast of Ichor Mountain AKA the corrupted King of Hearts has enough intelligence to try to destroy the Hero's sword, knowing it's the one weapon that can kill him. This act convinces the Bard that there's enough of the King of Hearts remaining to try and calm him out of The Corruption.
  • "I Want" Song: "I Wanna Be The Hero" starts out as this for the Bard, putting into words his desire to prove himself capable of saving the world and making a difference. When the actual Hero shows up at the end of Act Three, this becomes HER leitmotif instead.
  • Jumped at the Call: The Bard himself does this when the Angel, the messenger of the Goddess Eya, that the Earthsong could stop the world from ending. This ends up causing him trouble as the ACTUAL Hero and even the messenger herself admits that they actually expected him to give up by the time he tried to contact the third Overseer.
  • Karma Houdini: Audrey, who vanished after the killing the Dream King with her publicity intact.
  • Knight of Cerebus: When The Hero, Audrey Redheart appears for the first time at the end of the third act, killing an Overseer onscreen in the proccess,the game gets quite a bit darker, relatively speaking.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Miriam.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Whenever someone makes a really bad one, there's a short beat accompanied with a descending slide whistle.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Everyone in the kingdom of Ruule gets one called a Qin.
  • The Magocracy: The kingdom of Chaandesh is a kingdom of witches and possibly the place where all witches hail from. Their capital, Mohabumi, is impossible to traverse without some form of magic to get around, as the buildings are on platforms with no stairs, some on gravity defying surfaces or behind solid walls.
  • Magic Music: The goddess Eya created the world through song; she will destroy this one by singing another.
    • In Mohabumi, it's said that music is, in fact, a very primitive form of magic. There the Bard can activate magic platforms by single simple tunes.
      • Adding onto the idea that music is a old form of magic, the Bard himself could count for having Magic Music. His singing is able to not only communicate with wildlife but also make contact with ghosts, cause plants to move around in the direction he's singing, sing Overseer songs to reach their domains, ward off evil spirits, charge magic spells, act as a shield barrier, and in the end, lead the world in a song to stop Eya from resetting the world.
  • Missed the Call: The Bard is alerted to the universe's impending end by a dream where he is tested by being given The Sword and using it to at least fight Eyala. He later learns that Audrey had the same dream and they speculate maybe everyone is given that dream as an audition to be The Hero, but either forget it or ignore what it might when they wake up.
  • Multiple-Choice Chosen: What ultimately starts the Bard on his quest to get the Earthsong and Audrey on her quest to kill the Overseers: Everyone got the same dream with the sword, but only Audrey passed the test. The others mostly either forgot the dream or ignored what it portended.
  • Multiple Endings: If you sing the Overseer songs of the first three chapters early before you learn them, you never make all the friends you would usually in those chapters and Miriam is more distant. This leads to the song in the ending not even happening; after Audrey kills the Nightmare King the game cuts to mute credits and the world ends. Talk about Developers' Foresight.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: A fully justified example with the Bard's attempt to calm the Beast of Ichor Mountain. He's the corrupted King of Hearts, and his fairy explains that he loved music before he turned.
  • Must Have Caffeine: The pirates of the Lady Arabica all greatly enjoy coffee in their free time, but Francisco decides he might want to quit post-game as he finds it incredibly hard to get any sleep.
  • Mutual Kill: The Sun and Moon Overseers destroy each other. Notably, they are the only two Overseers not to be slain by Audrey.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome : Miriam went through an entire act's worth of action to get The Bard out of jail after the King of Ruule imprisoned him, but the Bard was knocked out for the entire event.
  • Offstage Villainy: In the epilogue, one of the trolls comments that the human that cursed him had a scarf and a lightning sword, all but confirming that Audrey was responsible for that.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Alongside the previously mentioned Heroic BSoD moments, the Bard actually hesitates to let Audrey leave with him, opting to leave her trapped so he can save the rest of the Overseers. He repents on the condition of having Audrey promising to not kill anyone again, even a bug.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Miriam's parents dropped her off with her grandmother in Delphi when she was little and she hasn't seen them since. It's implicit they were citizens of Chaandesh that were drafted into the war and they wanted her somewhere safe and far away. We never get to see them.
    • Bard hasn't seen his father since a very young age and barely remembers him. In his hometown of Chismest it's implied he works in the factory as his Mom suspects he'll finally return home once it's shut down. He's the Baron who started the factory, and the Bard never finds out in the end.
  • Pirate Song: The pirate crew in Act 3 shares a big musical number with the Bard, and after that they all sing in unison when you sail.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The pirates on the Lady Arabica don't seem to do any actual pirate-ing. Their main business is selling coffee beans, which fetches them top dollar.
  • Playable Epilogue: Side-by-side with the credits.
  • Pungeon Master: The mail carrier in Chismest.
  • Quirky Bard: Played with. The prophecy outright states that the bard has no place in the story to save the world, a fact that he is constantly reminded of whenever he faces The Hero and Audrey. Subverted in the end when he does end up saving the world with as much of the Earthsong as he had.
  • Reality Bleed: As the Overseers grow corrupted and are killed the Spirit World collapses, its landmarks and denizens either being pushed or evacuating into the material world.
  • Reality Ensues: After saving the town from ghosts, the mayor actually decides to appoint the Bard as the mayor. However, the other townspeople tell her that she still was capable of dealing with a plethora of other problems, causing her to back out and admit she overreacted in a sheepish matter.
    • After delivering the message of a ghost to the King of Ruule that essentially insulted his character for continuing the war, the King is sensibly furious and the Bard is immediately jailed.
  • Recurring Traveller: The Mask, a fellow who always wears a mask and can be found in every major area the Bard visits. If the Bard can find a hidden spot the Mask mentions, he will be taught a dance.
  • Sad Battle Music: The theme when fighting the King of Hearts starts out bombastic and intense, but slowly becomes this as the Bard struggles to calm him with music. Made all the more heartwrenching by Audrey killing the King anyway.
  • Ship Tease: Some characters think The Bard and Miriam look cute together. The Spell Squad in particular assumed they ruined their "secret honeymoon trip" after accidentally shooting them out of the sky off of Miriam's broom.
  • Shout-Out: Mr. Oshiro is the innkeeper at the hotel in Chaandesh where Audrey stays.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Audrey to the Bard, after their final battle.
    Bard: Being the Hero...is just a title! You can do whatever you want! And you'd still be special! I really mean it! Let's stop fighting. If you just give up on doing it your way, maybe you wouldn't be the Hero, but I could learn the Earthsong from the Dream King! And stop the world from ending! We could actually save the world! Everyone would be okay! And you'd be a real hero! OK?
    Audrey: That's not enough.
  • The Stars Are Going Out: As a symptom of the universe ending an Astronomer notices that the stars are all disappearing.
  • Super Weapon, Average Joe: Audrey's powers come from the Sword itself, without it she's just a really physically able person.
  • Take a Third Option: At the end of Act 2, the Bard is given the choice between returning home or staying in Delphi. He rejects both choices, insisting on finishing his quest.
    • Later, near the end of Act 4, the Dream King refuses to either teach the Bard his part of the Earthsong or let the Hero kill him, choosing instead to escape in the hopes of putting off his corruption a little longer.
  • Tragic Monster: The King of Hearts
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The Launch Trailer shows off more of the later game stuff than the other trailers, including what players could easily piece together as the End and the Earthsong that countered it, along with the Bard's heart to heart talk with Miriam.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: And how! The game ordinarily plays like any other puzzle platformer game, and as expected there are a few rhythm-esque minigames here and there. But in Act Three, there's a short segment that resembles a downhill snowboarding game, the entirety of Act Four feels closer to a point-and-click game, and between Three and Four you play as The Hero, whose segment resembles a puzzle-action game complete with a health bar.
  • Voice of the Legion: The Earthsong channels the collective will of every living thing in the world. When the bard sings pieces of it, such as when he makes another plea to the monarchs of Chaandesh and Ruule, he sings in a chorus of their people pleading for them to end the war and stop further suffering.
  • Was It All a Lie?: The Bard has a reaction like this after realizing that the Angel didn't expect him to get so far. By the time that he has all but one Earthsong piece, she has fully come around to his side sincerely.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Bard is quick to call out Audrey when she kills an Overseer, shoots a lightning bolt that almost kills Miriam, backs out of her promise to be nice to kill an Overseer...pretty much whenever she does something that is against his pacifistic philosophy.
  • Where It All Began: Langtree serves as the first and final level for the game.
  • Wingdinglish: The language of spirits in this game appear as random, colorful symbols. When the Bard learns this language, said symbols appear in the background of the speech bubble to indicate that it is still that language.
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