Songbringer Review: A Love Letter to Old School Zelda

is meant for one type of gamer (and one type only). Someone who really, really LOVES The Legend of Zelda. Although Songbringer has been out for almost a whole year on another platforms, it’s recently come to the . The console/handheld hybrid is the perfect platform for Songbringer. Songbringer just requires a certain mindset and a not insignificant barrier to entry.

Songbringer is a throwback in a lot of ways, from its art style to its gameplay. The indie release, by developer Wizard Fu, takes some heavy inspiration from the Legend of Zelda series, specifically Link to the Past and earlier. There’s few modern gaming conventions to be found in Songbringer. The game drops you into its world, a mix of science fiction and fantasy, and hopes you can keep up. Songbringer is a love letter to old-school Zelda, warts and all.

The main hook of Songbringer is that its world is procedurally generated. Every time a new game (or in Songbringer’s lingo “seed”) is started the game world map is created anew. Songbringer’s story doesn’t change which each new game file, nor does the necessary path needed to reach the endgame shift. Yet everything else changes and that’s, by far, the best thing about Songbringer.

The game manages to perfectly capture the sense of wonderment and exploration that the best Legend of Zelda titles contain. Songbringer is stuffed to the brim with secrets, dungeons and hidden items. The process of making your way through the game’s newly created map is a joy. Moving from one part of the map to the other is a surprise, one that never dulls no matter how many times the game is restarted. Every corner can (and probably does) contain something to uncover.



With its adherence to an 8-bit style Songbringer isn’t the most visually impressive game. (Although some lightning effects are added to give it a more modern look.) Yet even if Songbringer isn’t the prettiest game, there’s something mesmerizing about its look. The world might be randomized but it also feels so alive. The visual fidelity is traded in for a real sense of personality. Songbringer isn’t just a game where you can explore every nook and cranny. It’s a game where you want to explore every nook and cranny.

This reliance on exploration is what makes Songbringer so perfect for the Switch. A full playthrough of Songbringer isn’t long, about 5 to 8 hours, but it’s wonderfully suited for a pick-up-and-play style. The handheld mode of the Switch fits Songbringer like a glove. The game can be played in quick bursts or long stretches. The handheld mode of the Switch offers an accessibility and ease of use that no other platform can. Though the game can be found on nearly every other major gaming platform, the Nintendo Switch is the definitive version (and not just because it lumps in the game’s one DLC, free and upon release).

Yet for all its retro splendor there are some downsides to Songbringer, which could end being real deal breakers for certain consumers. The game refuses to hold your hand. Songbringer begins without warning or tutorial. You’re stranded on a foriegn planet and you need to figure everything out. There’s not even the help of online game guides to assist you because every map is unique to the individual. The same bosses and enemies appear in each game, but getting to them is the biggest challenge. That challenge is totally defined by the game’s procedurally generated maps.

It’s an unflinching bit of game design that can either be an unmovable obstacle or one of Songbringer’s greatest assets. It’s all up to personal preference. However, even though Songbringer is uncompromising it never feels impossible. Veteran gamers will have a pretty good idea of where to go and what to do when starting up the game. Songbringer does obfuscate everything unecessairly. Other aspects of Songbringer, howevercan be a real pain.



Songbringer’s greatest shortcoming is in its combat. The game takes the top-down style of Zelda, and other retro games, and runs with it. Unfortunately, it does very little to update that style. Items and power-ups that you receive throughout the game do change combat and strategy slightly. (Eventually you get the chance to parry attacks and blink out of existence to dodge.) However, most of the time Songbringer’s combat boils down to wildly swinging your sword and mercilessly bashing the enemies that fill the screen before they annihilate you.

This style of combat makes Songbringer’s special permadeath mode, where you get only one life, very brutal and wholly unappealing. Most of the deaths you suffer in the main game don’t feel particularly fair or justified. They’re not the fault of the gamer but the game for throwing a bunch of enemies at you and with no warning.

The story of Songbringer also leaves a lot to be desired. Some of the dialogue in the game has nearly as much personality and humor as the game world. The player character Roq will frequently banter with his robot companion Jib (and vice versa). However, the overall arc of Songbringer is one of blandness and cliche. Roq and his spacefaring crew land on the planet of Ekzera and awaken an ancient evil that must be defeated. It couldn’t be more of a paint-by-numbers plot.



Thankfully, the narrative is minimal and can be mostly ignored. However, for all Songbringer’s Legend of Zelda inspirations, that franchise’s storytelling prowess isn’t one of them. Any time the game tries to make you really care about the game’s story or its character, it comes up woefully short. There are multiple endings to Songbringer but the only reason to experience them is because of a desire to play the game again with an all-new map. The story itself is not nearly that satisfying to demand multiple playthroughs and/or endings.

Songbringer is designed and crafted for a certain type of gamer and the game doesn’t pretend otherwise. This isn’t a product meant for mass appeal. It’s for someone who longs for the old-school challenge of The Legend of Zelda series or any action-adventure franchise from the NES or SNES era. Songbringer isn’t for everyone, but if you want to scratch exploration itch created by Breath of the Wild, it’s a dream come true.

However, when entering into Songbringer it’s important to remember though that, while beloved, the 8-bit era of gaming does with its own unique frustrations and challenges. Frustrations that, for better or worse, Songbringer brings screaming into the modern era and onto Nintendo Switch. Songbringer honors the retro era of gaming by creating a new entry that has all the benefits (and deficits) of the genre.

is available now for $19.99 on the Nintendo eShop. A code was provided for this review.

3.5 out of 5 (Very Good)

Source web :  Screenrant

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