Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin PS4 Review – Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is a unique hybrid side-scrolling Action-Platformer/Farming Simulator which makes it not only fun but educational. XSEED Games and developer Edelweiss provide a fun experience that features some great writing and fun gameplay behind a story that explores the differences between a higher class of living and a lower class.
Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin PS4 Review
A Wonderful Story With Plenty Of Charm And Charisma
Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin tells the story of Sakuna, a harvest Goddess who is expelled from the land of the Gods along with trespassing humans. To make her way back, she must clear an island of demons. Teaming up with the humans who led to her downfall, she must learn to live, in her opinion, a peasant’s life.
Sakuna isn’t afraid to talk down to the humans, blaming them for her situation and demanding that they cater to her every need. The writing in Of Rice and Ruin is quite exceptional and preformed to a high degree.
The constant banter between Sakuna and humans is something to enjoy, but it’s also heartwarming to see when she begins to realize just how important life and the work humans put into their everyday lives. Watching Sakuna grow as a character from the spoiled Goddess who had everything she wanted to a hard-working person is a great transformation to witness.
Some of the best moments come when you sit down for dinner at the end of every day. Sakuna and humans have great conversations about everyday life and the hardships they went through before coming to the island.
Most of these conversations are quite humorous, especially when it comes to Sakuna’s ignorance of real-world dangers that humans have to deal with.
Sakuna Feels Like Playing Two Completely Different Games
The game is split up into two completely different mechanics. The first is the side-scrolling action platforming, and the other is farming. Primarily growing and harvesting rice.
When it comes to the side-scrolling action-platforming, Sakuna is a fast and nimble character. The demons aren’t what you would expect. For the most part, they are inhabiting the island as giant hogs, red-eyed rabbits with bows, spears, and knives, and menacing wolves.
When it comes to the actual combat Sakuna is quick with attacks, though she mostly fights with farming tools. But trust me, you’ll never know the difference. Sakuna is equipped with a short-range, fast weapon and a two-handed heavy weapon. Sakuna is great at combining attacks and juggling enemies with her fast strikes, she is terrible at defending herself.
Sakuna can’t block or dodge attacks, but she can use her kimono’s ribbons as a hook of sorts. Sakuna uses the ribbon to flip behind enemies, pull enemies closer to her or pull them up when you’re in the air to keep a juggle combo going. The ribbon is also used to reach high places and traverse the environment.
Simple Problems Hold The Exciting Combat Back
As fun as combat is, I did run into a lot of problems. My biggest complaint comes in the form of a weird drift when controlling Sakuna. Whenever I run up to attack an enemy, Sakuna would start swinging in the opposite direction. At first, I thought this was a drifting problem with my controls analog stick, but it seems to be the only game it was happening in. It led to way more deaths than I could have possibly imagined.
The other big problem is that you don’t have as much time to actually explore the world and complete the various regions you go through. The reason is the day and night cycle. The time flows quite fast, and you really only have time to get through one area before it gets dark.
You can explore in the dark, but the enemies become impossibly hard to defeat. It took me a long, long time to finally get the tools and level up high enough to even have a chance to defeat the simplest of enemies.
Another problem is that you can’t really make Sakuna stronger than she already is. You can craft new weapons for her, but the only way to make Sakuna stronger is by leveling her up through growing rice. At the end of each game year depending on how well your rice turned out, Sakuna will level up her stats.
It’s a unique way of levelling up a character, but my goodness, you will be stuck in many areas for a while farming materials to craft the weapons you need
Farming Has Never Been This Fun To Learn How To Do
The other half of the game is all about farming and it is quite easily the most enjoyable part. Farming rice will have you pretty much go through the process step by step. Racking the soil, planting the seeds, pulling weeds, and controlling water levels for the rice. It’s actually quite a detailed amount of work you have to go through, but it’s also a great learning experience.
Because the rice-growing is essentially modeled after real-life farming, the attention to detail and the work that constantly goes into everything you do will determine how well you eat at the end of the year and how many stat points increase you get.
At the start of every year, you have to make your own fertilizer. Depending on the material you combine into the fertilizer, determines what stats increase at the end of a game year. The way you farm will also play into your stats.
Suppose you plant the rice seeds too far apart or if you don’t rake the soil enough? How about if you use too much water or pick up bugs around the farm? All of these factors affect your harvest and how well you do at the end of the year.
A Big World That Looks Better The Further You Get Into It
The game’s world is split up into different regions and levels in those regions. Each location features materials to find for cooking, crafting, and fertilizer use. There are also plenty of hidden secrets to find, from scrolls that unlock new abilities to specific items that will permanently increase specific stats when you collect an entire set.
Of Rice and Ruin is quite a looker of a game, the environments pack plenty of detail, and the character designs though simple, are quite good. Though it may take a while until you see the more gorgeous environments, the wait is definitely worth it.
When it comes to sound design, the music is competent but doesn’t have any real memorable tracks. What steals the show is the fantastic voice work. Each character is voiced and fans of English dubbed anime will easily recognize many of the game’s voice actors.
A Fun Game That Suffers From Simple Issues That Can Cause Serious Problems
Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is a fun game but the drastic split between the farming and action-platforming causes some issues. Though the combat is fun, it does suffer from the real lack of defensive abilities, and in my case, Sakuna is constantly facing the wrong direction when I’m trying to attack enemies. With great writing, voice work, and gorgeous level design and characters, there is plenty to still love about Sakuna: of Rice and Ruin.
Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin releases on November 10, 2020 for PS4.
Review code provided by XSEED Games