Sakuna of Rice and Ruin game has a really surprising ambition and it does some impressive things. But, when attempting such successes of design, it is of utmost importance to adequately describe and balance everything. Otherwise, players will become frustrated and find things difficult to learn.
The fighting of the game is strong and the farming is very complex and specific, I think I have never seen in the game before. But not all elements are together as well as they are not. This is a good game, but due to some of its design decisions it turns off a lot of potential players.
Sakuna: About the goddess of rice and ruin
Sakuna… Oh, boy, here we go… Untold Age who looks like a little girl. The blade she speaks of is known and lives in the Holy Land along with other gods. One day, humans enter the Holy Land, chase after Sakuna and end up burning the Garner, which was accidentally used as a shrine to an important deity.
With this the goddess is angry and orders Sakuna and humans to go to an island inhabited by demons to eradicate the threat.
The team travels to the island and must hunt, collect and farm to complete their mission. Sakuna: There is a lot of dialogue in Rice and Ruin, and mostly back stories of some of the characters or descriptions of the history of the Divine Kingdom and Yanato Nation in depth. There are some long cuts that are not very common. One of them is the uninterrupted minutes of cast work singing while laying rice stalks.
Although the dialogue is well written and translated, I am often frustrated. Japanese voice acting is very similar to Japanese games, but I don’t care about the characters and mostly find them a note and annoying. Sakuna is a brat, and the other characters are no better. The plot is also very slow.
One by one
Sakuna has a light and heavy attack, which varies depending on the direction you press. She can knock enemies into the air for air combo, and then knock them down as other enemies. Sakuna: There is also dash and parry to use in Off Rice and Ruin. She is in the costume she uses to capture enemies and pull herself towards them or pull towards her.
The battle has a lot of depth and it is very satisfying to watch the enemies rebound through Sakuna’s special attacks that remove ridiculous combo and use rechargeable SP. Disgustingly, the game does not teach you its mechanics from the bat and you have to find the scrolls to learn that you can even do certain tasks. I had no idea I could go inside for so many hours.
The controls work well, although they may seem a little tight and stiff, but the fight is often entertaining. Enemies Amber – Sakuna: Releases a variety of items, including meat, hide and other items, along with the Rice and Ruin currency. Well, sort of. Things get a little iffy with levels as there is platform and level navigation to deal with.
Jumping and turning are not as good as fighting and the levels are a bit dull, though there are a lot of them and their design is pretty good. It is always cumbersome, especially with spikes and when trying to navigate, movement is not always accompanied by levels. Sakuna can use his costumes in the same way and easily drag himself to certain types of terrain, which can also lead to finding a hidden treasure.
Levels in Sakuna
Rice and Ruin also have lots of places where you can ore mine or collect plants and fish. All levels of the game are selectable from the map and each of them has challenges that will increase your search level. Sometimes, you need a high level of exploration to thrive through the story, so you need to do these.
You can also send other letters to collect in some places and they will come home with some items. Here are some amazing mechanics and ideas on display and we are just getting started.
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Rice, rice, rice, baby
Rice and destruction occur over a period of many years. But it does not perform like other farm games. There are only 12 days in each year, with three days in each of the four seasons. Naturally there is also a day / night cycle. When you are not on the levels or on the map, you are in the base of your home, which belongs to the Sakuna mother.
Unlike the levels, the base has a full 3D movement and here you can farm, dine, get side quests and make costumes and weapons using found materials. Sakuna has a fullness gauge, and as long as it is not empty, she gets buffs depending on what she ate the night before. You need to combine your menu based on your ingredients each night and choose the buffs you want, keeping in mind that many foods will expire.
Agriculture, as I said before, is complex and exceptionally precise. You start by cultivating the rice and using the soil and mixing it so that the low-quality seeds grow upwards. Then you start the seedlings in a box. Before you place each single twig in the field until you husk the farm.
After everything is planted, you plant the crops based on how far away they are, apply fertilizer daily, make sure to increase or decrease the water depending on what stage they are at, and then you will get the crop. Finally, you dry the rice on the racks, then separate and hull with mortar and pestle.
Most of these stages you can do another role, but the quality is not so high. All of this is done with sad details and the nitty-gritty is even more complicated. This is real rice-farming.
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Agricultural Mechanics at Sakuna
The kicker is the agricultural mechanics at Sakuna: if you don’t really realize how Rice and Ruin work, you will be weak. Progress is maintained through action levels and I am consistently very weak. This means you have to stop progressing and wait a year to sort out another crop. And sometimes it’s not even enough.
There are times when I reach levels and can’t do enough damage or live long enough to accomplish my goals. After waiting for the harvest, sometimes I was not yet strong and had to reject the hardship. I don’t know if it was designed for the game or if I was doing a bad job with my crops, but the game won’t tell you.
Both combat and level design on the sauna: Rice and Ruin can seem so cheap; you can easily be fooled by hordes of enemies flying over you until a huge portion of your health bar is gone. Environmental hazards can cause a surprising amount of damage and it can be even more painful to successfully manage a group of different enemies at once. Especially when half a dozen flying enemies are charged at you at once.
I like Sakuna: Rice and Ruin however it definitely has some serious clarity and movement issues. The fight has hit the right notes and agriculture is different from what is out there, but applying experience that enhances the stat in relation to being able to make progress without wasting time damages the experience.
The game is very unique and ambitious, it is worth forcing your way, but the disappointments deal with some players.