Since November 12th, developers Edelweiss and publishers have been condoning us XSEED on PC, Switch and PS4 for field work to ensure a rich harvest. Has as an action role-playing game with farming simulation Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin In any case, to offer a mix that was previously only known from Rune Factory. You can find out in our test whether this combination is also convincing in terms of play or whether we lose ourselves completely in all the work and have no fun.

Hunter and gatherer at the same time

The focus of the game is clearly on the hybrid game principle. On the one hand, we as hunters go about our duties by exploring the world around us and gathering provisions. On the other hand, a fertile rice field awaits us after we return home, which would like to be cultivated diligently.

We play the goddess Sakuna, who, as the daughter of a god of war and a goddess of harvest, combines some of the key talents. However, exemplary behavior is not one of our virtues and so it happens that we are banished from the kingdom of gods as a result of an accident. Since our future comrades-in-arms are partly to blame for our misery, they accompany us with us. Together we relate to the island of demons, with the mission to get to the bottom of an increased number of demons in the mortal realm. To make matters worse, it is not only important to explore a demon-infested island, but also to ensure the survival of our comrades-in-arms. These grow dear to us very quickly and the maturation of Sakuna leaves us with a feeling of pride. The main story is told in the form of dialogues and nicely made cutscenes. The background stories of the characters and the Lore fictional world, which often becomes the topic of conversation at dinner together, are also charmingly integrated.

The island is explored from a map that gradually shows more and more place markers. Once we have decided on one of these locations, an action role-playing game in side-scroller style awaits us. Here we move through different levels in 2.5-D optics and, in addition to some quests that increase our exploration level, we deal with a variety of opponents and some bosses.







There is a lot going on on screen during battles, but combos help us defend ourselves effectively.



There is a lot going on on screen during battles, but combos help us defend ourselves effectively.

Source: PC Games




We have several options for this, because we have the choice between a one-handed and a two-handed weapon and the use of our divine robe. This is primarily used as a kind of grappling hook with which we swing through the levels. But it can also be used, for example, to hurl opponents away or to evade. As befits a role-playing game, equipment can be changed and reinforced, just like our skill set can be adjusted. Four skills for weapon attacks and four more skills for using our robe can be set here. The fights are dynamic, combo-heavy and usually take place against several enemies at the same time. Still, all of this could be a little smoother. For example, it takes out steam when enemies on the ground interrupt our combo. Due to the gathering of required resources, we also inevitably explore places several times, which is repetitive in the long run. Later, however, we have the opportunity to send our roommates on a collective tour, so that we can fully devote ourselves to fulfilling exploration quests.







Unfortunately, there is also work to be done and so we start our preparations in the frosty winter with loosening up the earth.



Unfortunately, there is also work to be done and so we start our preparations in the frosty winter with loosening the earth.

Source: PC Games




When we come home after a hard day hunting, we can devote ourselves to the second main task of Sakuna, namely the rice field mentioned above. Unlike in the side scrolling dungeons, we move around our small property in 3D. At first glance, it is quite manageable, but it offers far more complexity than the first impression suggests. Our work begins towards the end of winter. This time of year is ideal for plowing our fields. At the same time we have to prepare the fertilizer, for which we add other ingredients in addition to our necessities as the main component. With this we influence the resistance and the quality of the rice. The quality includes the aroma, the hardness, the taste, the yield and the stickiness, all of which each represent an attribute of our protagonist. If we have placed our focus on improving the taste, for example, our strength will increase later for harvest, while emphasizing the hardness in turn increases vitality.

After the preparations have been completed, we sort the sowing and in spring we devote ourselves to sowing the seeds. Over the coming months we will regulate the water supply and remove weeds and other disruptive factors at the same time, until the harvest can start in autumn. This is done in the same way as plowing and sowing by hand. Then it goes off to dry, before it slowly means: off towards the final spurt! After the rice has dried sufficiently, it is threshed and peeled. We handle the peeling at our own discretion, so depending on our preferences, everything from brown to white-polished rice is possible. These processes repeat themselves year after year and thanks to a very detailed evaluation of our approach, we can constantly adapt our approach. In addition, we become more efficient from harvest to harvest, as over time we also gain new skills for more effective land management.







We can see the status of our rice plants at any time and thus better plan our next steps.



We can see the status of our rice plants at any time and thus better plan our next steps.

Source: PC Games




Hunting and exploring on the one hand and rice cultivation on the other are closely interwoven, as indicated. With every successful harvest, Sakuna's attributes increase, because our level is linked to the rice status. This means that we do not become stronger by fighting and defeating our opponents, but by successfully growing rice. The fights bring in materials, ingredients and amber. We need materials to make new weapons and clothing, and amber to reinforce them. The extracted ingredients sometimes flow into the fertilizer of our rice, but are mainly used to cook dishes that temporarily increase our status values. All of this means that both of these issues are key elements that need proper attention. Neglecting one of the two areas ultimately hinders all progress. Since the activities could not be more contrasting, enough variety is provided. At the same time, the change is a challenge that should not be underestimated, and demands a certain amount of organizational talent.







Our divine garb also proves to be an essential tool for reaching distant areas outside of combat.



Our divine garb also proves to be an essential tool for reaching distant areas outside of combat.

Source: PC Games




Both want to be planned carefully, since Sakuna's days progress in real time. Each day corresponds to a whole month and makes no difference between hunting or farming, because the clock is ticking non-stop. The time of day significantly influences our hunting behavior. Hunting takes place when the sun is shining, because when night falls, not only does a barely visible darkness fall over the dungeon, but the enemies also gain strength. Some exploration quests require that we kill enemies and bosses at night, but that will only really be possible when we have the resource of oil to use for our lamp.

Time goes by in an instant. We hardly have an opportunity to explore the sections extensively, because before you know it, the sun is going down again. That quickly creates time pressure on pretty much everything we have to do. It's comparable to back then when you were yourself at The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask constantly thinking about which tasks are best approached, how and when. Unfortunately, that reduces the fun of Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin a little, as you can rarely devote yourself to one thing completely without panicking that you might have forgotten something.







The spoiled goddess does not have it easy and now has to grapple with the problems of mortals.



The spoiled goddess does not have it easy and now has to grapple with the problems of mortals.

Source: PC Games




Sakuna can playfully convince despite a few quirks. Technically, we have even less to complain about: The game is presented in a softly drawn, watercolor-like graphic style reminiscent of the action-adventure classic Okami recalls It is a treat for the eye to step out of the hut early in the morning and see how the morning sun is reflected in the water of the rice field. The various characters, like the enemies, are very varied and cute across the board. You like it musically too, both the quiet and the action-packed moments are suitably accompanied. Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is surprisingly complex, especially when it comes to rice management, which could function as a game on its own. But the action aspect is not neglected either and convinces with its very own mechanics. This gives you a wide range of fun that is only dampened by the annoying time pressure.

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin (PC)

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin (PS4)

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin (NSW)

Unique mix of action RPG and simulation
Surprisingly complex
Sugar sweet staging
Lots of nice ideas, such as Conversations over dinner
Real-time component ensures time pressure
No German text edition

The adventure of the harvest goddess is demanding and extremely charming fun.