My Heart Is On My Sleeves
High Sweet, simple, compelling storytelling.
Low Metagames sometimes break up the narrative flow.
WTF WHY CAN’T I SOLVE THESE PUZZLES?!?
YOFUJII and Isolation Studio’s Goodbye World traces the origin of Kanii and Kumade’s friendship and chronicles their gamedev adventures including the good, the bad, and the not-so-bad.
Their unlikely partnership is forged after Kanii has an argument with another student about a videogame project design choice. Although the two immediately foster an interesting friendship, their inability to make ends meet as a gamedev twosome tests their relationship.
The crux of Goodbye World, a narrative adventure game with visual novel elements, centers on Kanii’s struggle to stay true to her artistic vision and create a game that can draw the interest of developers while keeping her friendship with Kumade intact.
Goodbye World is split into twelve parts, each accompanied by one of Kanii’s deceptively complex meta-games. Each one is modeled as a pixelated side-scroller similar to the “real world” that Kanii and her sweet companion, Kumade, inhabit. These metagames also mirror the trials and tribulations the two face throughout Goodbye World’s duration, a detail that added a fair bit of nuance to the narrative.
That being said, the metagames are a bit tedious, and I dreaded completing them. The purpose of each is to locate a key in order to progress to the next level, but players can only access the key by breaking, creating, and dodging blocks to reach them. As the story continues on, the metagames become more difficult, and players must finish each metagame within three tries or risk failing. Players can restart each level if they’d like, but doing so will cost players one of their lives. Much to my delight, however, failing the metagames does not prevent game progression; life goes on, even when one fails.
The controls are remappable, but I nevertheless struggled. The amount of times I passed away is truly embarrassing — like, it’s bad. As time passed and I became more frustrated, I began yeeting myself into spikes and letting the killer frogs devour me to continue the story. These tough moments would momentarily sever my connection to Goodbye World’s narrative flow, but the heartfelt story nevertheless transcended my abysmal meta-game skills.
Indeed, where Goodbye World really sings is the tale of the precarious relationship between Kumade and Kanii. Their intimate connection is heartening, and following their journey was my favorite part of the experience. The in-game dialogue is simple yet resonant, and Kanii has a struggle with mental health that is portrayed with care. I won’t spoil anything here, but Goodbye World’s ending is beautifully done, and I found myself feeling satisfied.
All in all, I genuinely enjoyed Goodbye World’s narrative landscape. Although the metagames were a pain to get through, the poignant storytelling, charming characters and beautiful design more than made up for it. Kanii’s and Kumade’s connection was palpable, and it was a treat to spend time with them.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
— Taylor Pryor
Disclosures: This game is developed by YOFUJII and Isolation Studio and published by PM Studios, Flyhigh Works, and IndieArk. It is currently available on Switch, PS4/5, PC, XBO/X/S. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS5. Approximately 3 hours of play were devoted to this game, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E and contains Mild Fantasy Violence. The violence takes place in the metagames where players are expected to defeat non-intimidating baddies to progress through the story. There are some moments where Kanii is depicted struggling with her mental health, but nothing too graphic or traumatic.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: Goodbye World offers subtitles, but they cannot be resized. Audio cues are not necessary for game progression. Therefore, the game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: This game’s controls are remappable. The game does not contain a control map diagram, but it does have a button mapping diagram. Every command in the game can be remapped to any button on the PS5 controller.