These games and awards were decided during the Wardcast’s Best Games Played 2019 episode, where we considered any and all games played by the members of the Wardcast in 2018, even if they weren’t released that calendar year.

At its brilliant neon core, Simogo’s Sayonara Wild Hearts is about experiences — it’s about taking the good with the bad that life hands you and moving forward with your head held high. It’s a lesson that we all have to learn at some point, often at our lowest lows. Condensing that lesson in such a beautiful combination of music, visuals, and a high BPM just makes it that much better.

Each level — or song in this self-prescribed “pop album video game” — is such a different experience and vibe, whether it’s riding your motorcycle through the calm of the forest or willing yourself catch the embodiment of death. Music, lyrics, and visuals combine in such a way that you can’t help but tap your toes in tune with the tracks. I promise you will be humming and singing these songs weeks after driving your hot pink muscle car through the desert night.

At the end of my time with Sayonara Wild Hearts, I truly felt different. As the album nears its final tracks, you revisit previous levels — past experiences — with the story’s protagonist, The Fool, having changed. They aren’t fighting against their memories anymore; they’re owning them and coming out stronger because of it. We get to witness their growth through heartbreak, and it feels like Simogo is telling us it’s okay if we need to do the same.