Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is a side-scrolling adventure game with a third person farming simulation. Developed by Edelweiss and Published by Marvelous (XSEED), Sakuna is the story of a spoiled Goddess banished from the comforts of the heavenly realm to claim an island overrun by demons.
With a ragtag group of humans (who are low key to blame for the situation) and her celestial partner Tama to both help and guide the goddess on her journey. Uncover the secrets of the island and the history it holds for Sakuna as you turn this dangerous land into a new home.
Sakunas main gameplay is side scroll fighting and exploration. However, after a hard day’s work of fighting and gathering, you return home to a rice field that you must maintain and cultivate. As you progress through the levels and hit milestones, you slowly unlock new and even harder areas that must be claimed. Side scroll games can sometimes feel very straightforward and in my opinion boring. Sakuna defies this however by making the levels interesting and gives you a need to stop, explore, and replay levels. Adding the need to gather ingredients and materials it’s easy to get lost in this game.
While the combat is fairly straight forward with a basic and heavy attack, it is both fun and challenging to master, and can be used in different combinations for combo attacks. Along with the general attacks, you gain a list of special moves as you progress, and each of the mortal NPC characters adds their own talents to your journey, from cooking your meals that give stat bonuses, to creating new weapons and new clothes for more drops, as well as bonuses to defense and offense.
On the flip side, this game also comes with a third person farming aspect where the better your rice crop is the better your stats, so as you move through the seasons you must till your rice field, plant your sprouts, make and spread fertilizer, adjust the water level, keep weeds and pests at bay.
Eventually, you will harvest your crop gaining food, skills, and stat increases. Farming is a lot of fun, even if you’re just trying different methods for a greater yield. I did and still do find the planting to be difficult, as controlling your character while in planting mode can be tricky. Ultimately though, it is my favorite part of the game.
Sakuna is a stunning game that brings a cartoonish look to the beautiful Japanese landscapes. The art style of the characters is very much focused on the younger viewers, featuring an anime style with slightly exaggerated features. The two contrasted together along with the demon creatures makes for a perfect mythical aesthetic. The music in the game is heavy with Wagakki style sounds, keeping with the traditional folk music of Japan. The voice acting is great and gives a unique flavor to each character as they all speak in a different manner.
I did not run into too many difficulties in the game, but there were more things that had to be practiced so I had more control over things. A few of the environmental parts of the game were a little off, such as the springy mushrooms. You can jump on them as a platform but if you walk to the edge you will just fall through, which can lead to some difficulties.
Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is an amazing experience that keeps itself engaging by having a multitude of gameplay options. Along with a story that has both real and slightly fabricated lore from traditional Japanese mythology and folk tales. It is a joy to play, has enough content and activities that will keep most gamers engrossed.
- Multitude of game styles in one
- Level replay value
- Easy controls and interesting farming mechanics
- Beautiful traditional music and art style
- A steady level of difficulty to keep it interesting
- Can get very clustered and chaotic in some fights
- Day cycle is very quick not allowing for a lot to get done in one day
- Falling through environmental platforms and such can get annoying