Even in an business with unlikely style hybrids like MMO/shooters and puzzle/RPGs, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin presents an odd mixture. It’s a fast-paced motion sport that has you unleashing trendy combos towards a display screen stuffed with monsters. However, it’s also a farming sport that emphasizes the worth of group and rising high-quality rice. Finding a harmonious steadiness between these extremes of the gaming spectrum might sound unattainable, however developer Edelweiss makes it work surprisingly effectively. However, even with that important problem overcome, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin nonetheless succumbs to minor pests and blights that eat away on the enjoyable over time.
Sakuna is a deity whose dad and mom are the god of warfare and the goddess of the harvest, and gamers expertise that heritage in separate-but-connected methods. Most of your time is spent leaning into the entire warfare factor, traversing 2D phases and combating demons with an array of weapons and magic powers. The fight feels satisfying, and you possibly can execute your whole strikes with easy button mixtures; it’s straightforward to knock enemies backward, carry out a dashing slash, or summon a twister. You additionally earn and degree new expertise alongside the best way, and experimenting with totally different mixtures is enjoyable. I loved launching enemies into the air, slashing mercilessly, and sending them crashing down into environmental hazards and fellow demons.
Navigating most ranges additionally includes platforming, which requires Sakuna’a divine raiment – a glowing scarf that permits her to seize onto partitions and foes. Though I admire potential mobility the raiment provides to Sakuna’s moveset, it’s frustratingly unreliable. You use the analog persist with intention it, however the raiment is strictly locked to eight-directional vectors, so until you line it up precisely proper, you possibly can simply overshoot the ledge or ceiling you’re hoping to safe. I don’t thoughts retrying small jumps, however when a slight miscalculation places me on a deadly collision course with a river of lava, I begin to lose persistence. I had an analogous drawback latching onto particular enemies – significantly bosses who all the time have a crowd of lesser demons close by.
When you aren’t out exploring and combating, you spend time at your homestead rising rice. Simple minigames aid you put together and course of your crop, like sorting the rice with mud, or pounding the grains to hull them. How you full these duties has an affect on numerous qualities of your closing harvest, like how hearty your rice is, or how good it tastes. However, due to the paradox and uncertainty surrounding the entire rising course of, fine-tuning your rice to desired specs looks like a guessing sport. Even so, precision isn’t required for achievement, and because you aren’t managing enormous fields or rising a ton of various crops, the farming aspect by no means turns into overwhelming.
This pastoral gameplay additionally feeds into the motion components effectively. The meals you put together provide you with short-term attribute bonuses and buffs that can assist you deal with the day’s challenges, and every crop of rice you full bestows everlasting enhancements; it’s successfully the way you degree up. On the flip facet, the gadgets and substances you collect within the action-focused segments are used for fertilizer, crafting, and meal substances, which creates a intelligent loop to attach the 2 totally different aspects of the expertise. This interaction is the principle factor that stored me invested, particularly for the reason that story (centered on Sakuna’s redemption) isn’t something to get enthusiastic about. Several of the characters are off-putting and obnoxious, with an excessive amount of dialogue that has too little to convey.
Even if the motion and simulation components work collectively, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin nonetheless faces issues with its repetitive construction. Simply ending ranges isn’t sufficient to maintain you transferring ahead; every stage has a handful of aims that elevate your “exploration level,” which is a quantity that arbitrarily gates which areas can be found to you. That means it’s essential revisit previous zones a number of occasions, aiming to finish uninteresting duties like “defeat 30 enemies with magic” or “collect 3 pieces of ore.” All of those targets are slight variations on comparable themes, in order that they don’t result in any distinctive moments – they’re simply routine busywork you’re obligated to finish once more and once more.
Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is stuffed with highs and lows. From one second to the subsequent, it may be numerous enjoyable. Farming and combating are every entertaining independently, however the methods supporting these central ideas really feel unrefined. Combat is cool, however the pacing interrupts its momentum. The rice-based development is attention-grabbing, however the story and characters are usually not. All of those trade-offs stop Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin from delivering its full bounty, although you possibly can nonetheless reap the advantages of its novel mixture of concepts.