Review: Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin
Sometimes you have those separate concepts that just work like you didn't expect before. Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is one of those concepts. This game mixes multiple genres and does it well! Read why in our review.
In Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, you play a young goddess named Sakuna. And although she looks young, she is not afraid of a little alcohol in the system, something many Dutch people crave at the moment. She is responsible for guarding her city, but is banished to the Island of Demons because she oversaw some invaders in a drunken stupor. However, these invaders are not there with bad intentions, they are looking for a better life. Together with the family, you as Sakuna will cleanse the island of these demons. They are not good at fighting, but they are good at working on a farm. This is where you will be playing multiple genres at once.
The story tells itself in a fun way. There is enough humor in it, the pacing is okay and the voice acting is not bad for an indie game. It's nothing groundbreaking though, but does enough to keep the fun factor high. Hence the name, which draws the words rice and ruin into a sentence.
Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin brings with it a low-threshold combination of buttons. The game plays well, is simple in controls and can be very challenging at the same time. The controls may be simple, but the amount of enemies on your screen can make the game very challenging. Boss fights are also quite challenging, where timing could be a challenge for me. You can combine light and heavy attacks for better combos and you also have a grappling hook called the 'Divine Raiment'. You can use this in combat for mobility and utility. You will also use this to go through the sidescrolling map. You also eventually unlock skills, which will help you in combat. I found the combat very satisfying, considering the controls easy to remember wears. This also made it easy to pick up the game again after a few days of not playing.
The other part, outside of that exploration with combat, is the peaceful rice growing part. The combination here reminded me a lot of Dragon Quest Builders, a game that mixes combat with building and working on a farm. There is plenty to unlock in your rice farming farm. You always find new ways to expand or improve your cultivation. This part provides a lot of quiet gameplay moments, which, by the way, play away very nicely. The game also has a social aspect, where you will eat, talk and sleep together with the family! You can feel the bond between Sakuna and the family members constantly growing. The combination between action RPG and farming simulator works fantastic here. The game isn't fantastically groundbreaking here either, but it does what it's supposed to do!Each play session allows you to explore new areas to find new recipes and ingredients, but also to get closer to your goals. It's also easy to monitor and watch your progress!
The drawing style of Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is fantastically beautiful and perhaps one of the better elements of the game! It's colorful, has that anime vibe and the characters have been given a cool style. This in combination with a cool soundtrack just works! The game also runs well. Even with a lot of enemies, my Switch was still able to cope and I didn't notice any slowdown in the game myself.
Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is a super cool indie game that mixes multiple genres well. However, it's also nothing more than that. It's nothing groundbreaking and it mixes aspects from other games that we already know. All in all, this makes for a rather unique combination that simply plays well. Nothing more, nothing less. I can recommend the game to any indie fan. Even if you're a farming simulator fan, you'll love the game!
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