Assessment: Sakuna: Of Rice and Destroy

Rinse and repeat

Sakuna: Of Rice and Destroy has been a very long time coming, and though it is dropping in an excellent crowded launch week, I am thrilled to see this spunky rice-growing action-RPG platformer lastly come out.

As a laid-back agricultural sim with monster-whacking side-scrolling motion bits, it is a fairly chill recreation, one you may throw your self into for 20 hours or slowly however certainly full over just a few months.

I had excessive hopes coming in – perhaps too excessive? – however there’s nonetheless lots to love right here. Particularly the rice.

Sakuna: Of Rice and Destroy (Nintendo Change [reviewed], PC, PS4]
Developer: Edelweiss
Writer: Xseed Video games, Marvelous
Launched: November 10, 2020
MSRP: $39.99

Sakuna: Of Rice and Destroy feels concurrently greater and smaller than anticipated.

First, the products information. Sakuna appears massive within the sense that the story – a story of redemption for a spoiled-brat goddess who’s exiled on an island overrun by demons – is surprisingly in-depth and considerate. Edelweiss put a whole lot of care into its Japan-inspired mythos, premise, and characters.

To sum it up, Sakuna’s destiny is intertwined with an eccentric household of mortals that has someway managed to walk into the heavenly realm. Hijinks ensue, they usually’re all left with no alternative however to band collectively, domesticate rice to lift Sakuna’s energy, and in the end reclaim the wretched island to set issues proper. It is an all-around implausible setup for a recreation constructed round a day by day and seasonal grind.

Typically talking, within the morning, you may do some fast chores like pulling weeds and tending to the crops as wanted in your cozy 3D homestead. At any level, you may pop open an expansive island map and warp to a 2.5D action-platformer stage during which you may pummel baddies like pig beasts, skeletal warriors, and evil flocks of birds. Most of the time, I had loads of time to clear one full stage and poke round in one other earlier than deciding to go residence. When evening falls and enemies develop stronger, you may wish to return for dinner (to quickly enhance your stats) and nourishing sleep (to heal).

Aside from Sakuna’s RPG stats that you will progressively enhance over time, she has a separate “exploration stage” that you will must rank up by finishing every stage completely. Totally different ranges have completely different alternate targets past simply making it to the top. Typically, you may want to make use of sure weapon varieties or slay creatures at evening when you’re highly effective sufficient. Different occasions, you would possibly must suppose exterior the field to achieve tucked-away objects or clear a (once-tricky) boss in underneath 30 seconds.

The extra you increase your exploration rank, the extra ranges you may unlock on the map, and the additional the story (which is usually informed in cutscenes again on the homestead) will progress. On just a few events, I solely vaguely knew what I used to be anticipated to do subsequent. Normally, it is a good suggestion to maintain up along with your rice every season, chat along with your makeshift household as a lot as potential, and totally end each stage that is out there.

Here is the less-than-good information. Sakuna additionally feels smaller than anticipated within the sense that the action-platforming ranges do not evolve sufficient. What you see within the trailers is just about what you get.

To be clear, I actually just like the just-complicated-enough fight system – in an odd manner, it jogs my memory of Tremendous Smash Bros. and Kirby Fighters – and I feel the “divine raiment” grapple/dodge means is enjoyable to wield whereas it lasts. I loved leaping round, flinging foes, and smashing them into crowds. I am unable to communicate as extremely in regards to the stage design, although. It is high-quality. Not thrilling, or uninteresting, simply… high-quality. I did admire seeing new mechanics like noxious air and levitating swimming pools of water, however they will solely go up to now.

After just a few hours of unlocking fight skills/strategies and mastering aerial-focused combos, you may have skilled a lot of the excessive factors. Most of the levels and enemy encounters really feel roughly the identical. At a sure level, it is a matter of exploring to search out secret nooks, incomes XP and supplies, crafting higher gear, and preventing the identical powered-up foes (even bosses!) again and again.

It is a disgrace that Sakuna‘s favorable first impression does not maintain up throughout the whole expertise. It by no means fairly obtained to the purpose the place I needed to stop taking part in, however there have been moments the place motivation slipped. Ultimately, the low-key soothing grind and want to comply with the story saved me going sturdy.

That, and rising rice is satisfying. The extra effort you place in, the higher stat features you may get out.

I beloved painstakingly clearing out rocks, prepping the soil, creating fertilizer with the fitting elements, spacing the vegetation simply so, tinkering with water ranges, pulling weeds, and processing the crops with a number of hands-on steps. It is intensive! The simulation begins on a easy notice earlier than layering in additional ideas. Earlier than you may ever get bored, it both provides new twists or accelerates the present course of.

As soon as you’ve got had your fill of the extra monotonous duties (like planting a whole bunch of particular person seeds), you may have the AI help as a time-saver with small caveats. It is a truthful trade-off. Total, I dug how cohesively the sim components slotted into the remainder of the sport with out being overbearing. The seasonal farming impacts the day-to-day platforming and vice-versa. None of it seems like an afterthought.

I do must stress that I would not purchase Sakuna solely for the simulation facet if that is what is talking to you most, because it’s not likely the principle focus. That is an action-platformer initially. It is a lengthy recreation. You may spend a whole lot of time caring for crops, however you may spend much more time preventing fiends.

Sakuna outstays its welcome, however I am okay with that, to an extent. Regardless that the fight encounters and stage design fail to ramp up and keep recent, I used to be captivated for a superb lengthy whereas. I by no means totally checked out even when the sport was at its most repetitive. There is a time, place, and temper for this.

If a unusual motion recreation with RPG development and enjoyable agricultural actions looks as if your type of factor, belief your intestine on this one. The Nintendo Change model is strong sufficient for me to advocate it.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]


Sakuna: Of Rice and Destroy reviewed by Jordan Devore



Stable and undoubtedly has an viewers. There could possibly be some hard-to-ignore faults, however the expertise is enjoyable.
How we rating:  The Destructoid evaluations information





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