First, I had a chance to play against Sakuna Edelweiss and XSEED: Rice and ruin on the E3 2019. I literally knew nothing about it until I took the case: It was an unexpected announcement, a game that would make me completely blind and I had a lot of fun. I didn’t have much time to play the demo, but I loved the graphics, the Japanese feudal animation, and I was especially fascinated by their gameplay, which was a mix of 2.5 platforms and a piece of life. The game won’t come out well for a year and a half and I’m very happy with the end result. It was worth the wait for Sakuna.

Oh, he’s so charming! Do I really have to beat him up?

In the distant past, a group of humble Japanese, rightly called the children of the people, fled their troubled country ravaged by war and famine to find a bridge that would connect the human world with the world of the gods. There they accidentally find an arrogant and arrogant harvest goddess named Sakuna, who eventually chases them and lures them into a trap in the rice bunker of the kingdom. She accidentally burns this place down and as punishment she is forced to go to a nearby island torn by monsters, with a mission imposed by the oldest goddess: to explore this place, to purify it of all the evil monsters that live there, and to learn to be a better human being and to help the children of the humans to harvest and survive in this hostile environment.

I fell in love with the plot and presentation of the game right out of the ghetto. Sakuna: Van Rijst en Ruïne are absolutely beautiful. It’s one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played on a switchboard, with stunning anime graphics combined with great character design, great animation and really impressive lighting effects from a system that I was absolutely sure I couldn’t shoot at all. It can even run quite smoothly, up to 60 frames per second in the 2D sections and 30 frames per second each time you return to the main node, where you can move freely in 3D.

I don’t know if she’s just saying that because I’m a real god, or if she thinks I’m just great.

Another interesting aspect of Sakuna is the sound design. Like most high quality feudal fantasy games on the market, their soundtrack consists of melodies using classic Japanese instruments such as shamis and bamboo flutes, mixed with modern pop sensations. That’s good to hear. The voice isn’t bad either! Whether you play the game in English or Japanese, their respective voices deliver exceptional performance, thanks in part to the intelligent and entertaining gameplay scenario.

Our protagonist is such an inspiring role model.

Of course, the presentation is excellent and I absolutely love our main character, because she is cheeky, sarcastic and ridiculously strong, but what people really want to know is whether Sakuna : Rice and ruins are fun. Well, like I said in my preview for E3, yeah, that’s right. It is a very dynamic combat platform with an emphasis on reconnaissance and elegant combat sections. Remember, this isn’t a subway: You’re free to choose a level in the outside world and explore it until you’ve completed enough tasks to unlock a whole new one. Most levels have no beginning and no end: All you have to do is explore them until you’ve collected all the available items, then stop in the game, press the X button and go back to the skipped item.

Don’t be fooled by the cartoon look. There are some hard fights with the bosses in Sakuna.

Sakuna is a fierce fighter. It has countless weapons and devices, but you can always use only light offensive weapons, powerful offensive weapons, some accessories and the reliable magic belt, which can be used as a grappling hook and long-range weapon. You can make several unhealthy combos with the weapons at your disposal. You can even make four different special moves using a combination of the A Button and one of the D-pad designations, just like with Super Smash Bros.

One thing to keep in mind is that you have to constantly look for items and ingredients that are scattered on all these levels. Since the game has a day cycle, you only have a few minutes before nightfall and the enemies are stupid to kill. At this point you should go back to your base and ask the good lady to prepare you a dinner with the ingredients you collected during this competition. Different dishes bring different advantages. You also saturate your hunger meter, which acts as a passive timer mechanism while you study the plane in 2D.

It’s not easy to make rice, yo.

In addition to the typical, well thought-out 2D actions, Sakuna: In the game Rice and Ruin there is another half: the game of rice collection. The daily cycle described above corresponds to a period of 12 days in the year, divided over four seasons of equal length, each season comprising different activities relating to the planting and harvesting of rice.

They plant the seeds in spring, water them in summer, harvest them in autumn and turn them into real rice that can be used in winter. Each of these actions is accompanied by a simple push of a button, for example to plant seeds on the cultivated soil, or to participate in simple mini-games based on the QTE after the rice has been harvested and dried. None of them are too complicated, and it only takes a few minutes between your daily planning and the completion of your project. Think of them as works from the harvest of the moon or contemporary history.

There’s nothing like a nice family dinner after killing Yokai all day.

The rice harvest is very important, because don’t forget that you play like a harvest goddess. Planting and harvesting rice actually gives Sakuna comfort, because it is the best way to upgrade her and improve her statistics. It’s not an easy game to play, so you’ll have to improve your stats somehow, whether it’s growing rice or asking one of the children in your Hub World to create new weapons using the resources you’ve collected in basic 2D levels. It’s a seemingly simple game cycle that you get used to pretty quickly.

Sakuna is one of the best games of Switch.

Edelweiss spent his sweet time polishing Sakuna: Rice and ruins as much as possible. I’m more than satisfied with the final product. It is a truly impressive 2.5D action platform tool, with the best performance of the entire Switch library, excellent graphics and an excellent soundtrack. His game is dynamic and fascinating, and his way of life is not the best, but it remains interesting and not very intrusive. Had it not had its ridiculously short daily cycle, it would easily have become an instant classic and a must for change, but it remains a simple recommendation for platform and anime enthusiasts.

One of the biggest games I’ve seen so far in the standard, with beautiful environments, character models and animations. The frame rate is quite high on 2D shots, but can sometimes drop a bit when you go back to the site. The platform is accurate and the combat mechanics is fast and flexible. The game process of the rice harvest consists of a simple QTE and a piece of vital mechanics. You’re not as interesting, but you’re not as pushy as I thought.
Excellent soundtrack, composed of classical Japanese instruments with modern pop music. The voice is also excellent. Sakuna: Rice and Ruby is an incredibly reliable action-platform program with amazing values and a very funny script. His life workers aren’t as boring as we thought. The only big question is how short the daily cycle is.
Phrase: 8.5

Sakuna: Rice and ruin is now available on PS4, PC and Switch.

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A copy of Sakuna: Or Rice and Ruin was supplied by the publisher.

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