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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"
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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.

Long ago, the goddess Eya created the world and everything in it. You play as the Bard, an everyday (if not rather odd) singer who, in a dream, finds that, sometime soon, the world is about to be destroyed to start anew, as has happened many times before. The Angel, a messenger of Eya, informs them of the situation and the existence of the Earthsong, which can save the world, known by the seven Overseers who watch over it. Resolved to prevent the erasure of the land they love, they go on a quest to learn the pieces of the Earthsong that can save the world. On the way, they meet Miriam, a dour, sarcastic witch who accompanies them on their quest, and Audrey Redheart, The Hero chosen by Eya to save the world.

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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.

It was released for PC via Steam and for Nintendo Switch on September 27th, 2018, with a Playstation 4 version following on January 22nd, 2019.

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

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This game provides examples of:

  • Achievement Mockery: Most of the 75 achievements can't be earned by the Bard, but are actually earned by the Hero Audrey, and as such are out of your control to unlock, which enforces the Bard's status as The Unchosen One.
  • All Trolls Are Different: Wandersong's trolls are more like yetis than anything, a whole bit nicer too.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Or in this case, behind the thumb. The location of one of the Mask's secret hang-out spots (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.
  • Apocalypse How: On a universal scale.
  • Back for the Finale: Every NPC the Bard met and befriended during their journey joins together in their song in the game's ending.
  • Big Bad: Audrey Redheart is revealed as the one trying to destroy the world by killing the Overseers, to fulfill her destiny as the Hero and so that a new, perfect world may be created by Eya.
  • Book-Ends: The game starts with the Bard waking up in their house in the morning to news the universe is ending and ends with them 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 their first cup of coffee. The end result was the Bard passing out till the next day after tossing everyone around with their more boisterous than usual voice, and immediately getting banned from drinking any more coffee.
  • Changing of the Guard: During the ending, all of the fairies ascend to become the new Overseers of their respective domains.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: The three main characters of the game have clothes made up of shades of the three primary colors: Bard is green, Miriam is blue, and Audrey is red.
  • Chekhov's Gag: In Act 3, the Bard gets some coffee with very chaotic results. One of the three options dealing with Markus after he hijacks the pirate ship is to have the Bard drink some coffee and sing him off of the ship.
  • 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: 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.
  • Cosmic Flaw: The world is ending because the overseers are becoming corrupted after living so long.
  • 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: 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.
  • 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 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.
    • 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 their adventure started, is falling apart by the time they come back for the final Earthsong piece. Luckily, it gets better after they 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.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Sequence breaking by playing the Overseer Songs of the first three Acts before they're taught results in a Downer Ending where the Bard is helpless against stopping the end of the universe and everything is destroyed. However, since doing this requires you to have knowledge of the ending beforehand, it is impossible for anyone on their first blind playthrough of the game to pull it off. Even if that weren't the case, the player has to consiously go out of their way to do this instead of the intended path; playing the game normally cannot lead to this ending at all, making seeking it out the only option.
  • 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 the world over, 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 found out and decided to Screw Destiny.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: When the Bard tries to sing their way into the Orderscape, they are unable to do it the first time, due to the smog in the sky (and possibly their sadness).
  • Fairy Companion: Every Overseer has one who is of the same species (and opposite gender) as them.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Kingdom of Ruule and Witches of Chaandesh despise each other.
  • Fetch Quest: Retrieving the five items needed to brew a Potion of Power.
  • Final Boss: 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.
  • Final Exam Finale: In the finale, the Bard revisits all of the Earthsong puzzles in order to send their voice out to the people of the world.
  • 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 their 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 they can to avoid violence and preserve the world for all living things.
  • Food as Bribe: A skittish dog is befriended this way.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • 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.
    • In the preceding chapter, one of the trolls mentions a human had paralyzed him. The paralyzed troll has lightning coming off of him, hinting at the true culprit.
    • 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 them.
  • Ghostly Goals: Several ghosts appear during the game, all falling under Friendly Ghost. 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.
  • Gravity Screw: A certain late-game song lets the Bard walk on walls and the ceiling in select areas.
  • Guide Dang It!: Finding the hidden Developer's Room isn't that hard, but getting in requires you to pay close attention to the color palettes and symbols associated with every Overseer. Once you get in and activate the developer's commentary, Greg Lobanov states that looking up a guide is probably likely what the player is going to do, considering how obtuse getting in is.
  • 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.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: When asked how to dance, Mask tells the Bard to imagine a controller or keyboard and press the appropriate button. There's also an NPC in Mohabumi who's struggling to remember which button opens the map.
  • 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.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The mermaids have secluded themselves to a small island to finally get people to leave them alone.
  • "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.
  • 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 their desire to prove themself capable of saving the world and making a difference. When the actual chosen Hero, Audrey, shows up at the end of Act Three, this becomes HER leitmotif instead.
  • Klatchian Coffee: In the beginning of Act 3, the Bard is given their first ever drink of coffee by Captain Lucas. After drinking it, the Bard is silent for a moment before suddenly exploding into singing at a thousand miles an hour, shaking the entire room and sending everyone in it flying. Afterwards, they are implied to have slept for hours after the resulting caffeine crash.
    Lou: So you're finally awake?
    Bard: What happened?
    Lou: You caused a real ruckus is what happened. And YOU AIN'T NEVER. HAVIN' ANY COFFEE. EVER AGAIN.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Whenever someone makes a really bad one, there's a short beat accompanied with a descending slide whistle.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: Briefly occurs after Francisco butts in to call the song everyone is singing dumb.
    • Happens again in a tavern when the Bard mentions going to "The Ruins" to find the mermaid's tear.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Everyone in the kingdom of Ruule gets one called a Qin.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The Baron is actually the Bard's father. This is actually never directly stated but he is shown with the Bard's mother during the Wandersong sequence and she later confirms that the bard's father has moved back home. He became a Dissappeared Dad due to being a workaholic and only when he factory was taken over did he realize he should come home.
  • 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 themself could count for having Magic Music. Their singing is able to not only communicate with wildlife but also make contact with ghosts, cause plants to move around in the direction they're 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.
  • Merged Reality: 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.
  • Missed the Call: The Bard is alerted to the universe's impending end by a dream where they are tested by being given The Sword and using it to fight the Angel. They later learn that Audrey had the same dream and they speculate that 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 their 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: Two of them.
    • The standard ending happens upon beating the game. Audrey kills the Nightmare King, and the universe begins to be remade, but the Bard and everyone else manage to sing the Wandersong, convincing Eya to take the world into the new universe.
    • 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.
  • 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 them, but the Bard was knocked out for the entire event.
  • Oh My Gods!: Two commonly used phrases are "Eya almighty" and "Eya's sweet chords!".
  • 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.
    • The Bard hasn't seen their father since a very young age and barely remembers him. In their hometown of Chismest it's implied he works in the factory, as their 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. It is implied that they steal the beans from somewhere.
  • Playable Epilogue: Side-by-side with the credits.
  • Pungeon Master: The mail carrier in Chismest.
  • Recurring Traveller: 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 that Mask mentions, they 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.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: On the scene selection screen, different sound effects—all provided by voice—play depending on which act the cursor is in. For Act Five, where the background on this screen is a starry sky, it includes two voices saying "twinkle".
  • Sheathe Your Sword: Two of the three options when dealing with Markus in Act 3 involve either just letting him hit you eight times or giving him a cup of coffee, both options which give him an epiphany that acting out on his aggression isn't solving anything.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • Slide Level: There is a quick slide section in the 3rd chapter.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • 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.
  • The Stars Are Going Out: As a symptom of the universe ending an Astronomer notices that the stars are all disappearing.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: While Bard and Miriam were the ones to save the world (and by extension know the truth behind Audrey and her role), Eyala, Saphy and (implicitly) the Spell Squad are likely the only ones who know. Everyone else either believes Audrey was the one to save the world, or they merely thank the Bard for mending their interpersonal issues.
  • Take a Third Option: At the end of Act 2, the Bard is given the choice between returning home or staying in Delphi. They reject both choices, insisting on finishing their 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.
  • Title Drop: Implied. After the climax where the Bard saves the world by leading everyone to sing, Eyala mentions to them, "What you sang wasn't the Earthsong... it was something special!" Judging from the fact that the song that plays during the finale is titled Wandersong on the official soundtrack, it can be inferred that the song the Bard sung and the "something special" Eyala was referring to was, in fact, the titular Wandersong.
  • Tragic Monster: The King of Hearts is the corrupted Beast of Ichor Mountain, but he does still have some semblance of who he used to be underneath (mainly, his love for music).
  • 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.
  • Transplant: Calliope was a character created for Coin Crypt, one of Greg Lobanov's games.
  • A True Hero: The story has Audrey, a Nominal Hero chosen by fate, who isn't afraid to use force on anyone and anything in her way, contrasting with the Bard, a Friend to All Living Things who refuses to engage in combat whenever possible. A major theme is the player character questioning who the real hero is.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: 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 they make another plea to the monarchs of Chaandesh and Ruule, they sing in a chorus of the kingdom's people pleading for them to end the war and stop further suffering.
  • Villain Shoes: In a brief intermission in-between Acts Three and Four, you play as Audrey and make your way to the corrupted Queen of Winds.
  • Was It All a Lie?: The Bard has a reaction like this after realizing that the Angel didn't expect them to get so far. By the time that they have all but one Earthsong piece, she has fully come around to their side sincerely.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Queen Chaos, the Moon's Queen and the Sun's King hardly get a chance to establish themselves as characters before they die.
  • 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 their pacifistic philosophy.
  • Wham Shot: Queen Chaos rising up to face the Bard... Only for Audrey Redheart to zap her with lightning, killing her instantly.
  • 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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