Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin

In Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, you play as Sakuna, a bratty goddess who was exiled from her realm. In order to regain entry into the heavenly realm, she must toil for years, growing and harvesting rice and slaying demons.

Don’t be distracted by that demon thing, though. Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is mostly about growing rice. It has a day and night cycle, in which you do your basic chores around the rice fields, and then spend whatever time you have left exploring the world’s 2D platformer sections.

Now, I keep going back to these 2D platform sections (where you fight the demons) as I’m talking about the game, because so little actually happens in the other part of the game. But the other part of the game is most of the game.

And, I mean, that’s not really a bad thing. Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin moves glacially slow. It takes almost a full year to grow and harvest a field of rice –though, to be fair, seasons are only three days long, which is something that might be a trend right now. Is there a three-day season memo somewhere that I missed?

What I’m getting at is that Sakuna is the sort of game that lets you zone out and chill, maybe put on some music while you’re at it (the game’s score is quite good, but also very repetitive, so eventually you might want to mute it and put on your own tunes for a while).

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin

In a week that sees the launch of massive action-heavy hits like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon (the North American PS4 launch, that is), Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin feels like a proper antidote to counter the deluge of sweaty dudebros that are hacking and slashing (and shooting) their way across our television screens right now.

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin maybe revels in its slowness a little too much at times, but it certainly finds its own quiet little space amidst the noise of its mid-November competition. And that’s quite something, I think.

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