Parents' Guide to

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin

By Angelica Guarino, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Seamless genre mashup drives strong, carefully woven story.

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Have you ever wanted to play your favorite side scroller and farming simulation at the same time? Probably not, but Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin will show you what you’ve been missing. Both the farming simulation portion and the combat mechanics are equally as involved, which adds a great deal to what the story has to offer. Many past RPGs (role-playing games) have added crafting or character relationship elements as an afterthought to combat, but Sakuna blends them together seamlessly. With each completed rice harvest, Sakuna's combat skills improve based on your level of mastery through the growth cycle. These physical benefits, along with side quests and character interactions, helps you track her emotional growth over time in clearly defined stages. For instance, at one point in the story, Sakuna chooses not to punish a friend who has tried to take credit for her crops, which might initially seem out of character, but enough harvests have passed to make this change in her character gradual and believable. Overall, it's clear that the game's creators invested a great deal in historical accuracy, translation, and scriptwriting, which develops a proper homage to the culture that inspired the story, and for many players, that will be greatly appreciated.

Another great aspect of Sakuna is how it manipulates time. There's an estimated 25-35 hours of content, and while the cutscenes clock in at only about three hours in total, they're well spaced-out. They also provide such well-composed character development that players can get just as lost in the story as they are in landing the perfect combination moves for a boss fight or mastering the art of producing maximum crop yields. Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is just a beautiful game that's full of nuance and depth, and you'll be surprised at the mix of farming and combat, which is oddly satisfying and appealing. It's something that you should plunge in and try out if you're an action, adventure, or role-playing game fan.

Game Details

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