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Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin E3 2019 Hands-on Preview

We got the chance to play the indie darling side-scrolling farming action game, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, at this year’s E3.

The game is a mashup of platforming, action, and farming simulator elements – set against a traditional Japanese setting and mythology.

Read our full hands-on preview below:

Brandon Orselli’s take: Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is one of my most anticipated games in development – so much so that it has been a bit painful to wait for the very small Japanese indie team, Edelweiss, to finish making the game. I got a chance to play it again at this year’s E3.

The game takes place in feudal Japan, set against the backdrop of traditional Japanese mythology. You play as the eponymous Sakuna, a spoiled harvest goddess that is banished to a dangerous island, filled with a bunch of human outcasts.

The game mixes side-scrolling action and platforming with a bit of farming simulation elements, making this a love-letter to both action games and traditional rice agriculture. In the demo you can experience both, and it’s kind of staggering how deep just the farming and harvesting elements are.

While most farming games have you plant seeds, water them, and simply collect the crop, in Sakuna you have to cut the rice stalks, properly remove the grain from the rice stalks, and then prep them to eat. It’s a complete recreation of traditional Japanese rice harvesting.

The side-scrolling and platforming action is top notch, considering Edelweiss have a panache for really snappy action mechanics with excellent games like Astebreed. It’s a game that is easy to jump into, yet you can never really get bored of the superb movement and action.

The game is seemingly even more polished and refined than before, as the pair of devs at Edelweiss are notorious for simply focusing on making the best game possible – and they’ll keep delaying it until it’s ready. I can’t wait to get more when the game (hopefully) launches this winter!

Tyler Valle’s take: Of all the games that I had the chance to play at E3 this year, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin may be the one that surprised me the most. I was not aware of this game’s existence nor have I played anything from Edelweiss in the past.

I was kind of directed over to it at the XSEED booth to give the game a try and, needless to say, I was completely blown away. In fact, I was only disappointed that there was a line of people behind me who wanted to play because had I been given the chance, I would have happily played the demo over again just for the chance to experience it again.

Sakuna has been in development for several years and it is finally coming close to its release date. For a game designed by only two people (a claim that I initially refused to believe), there is an incredible amount of polish to the game already.

Combos flow smoothly and never did I feel overwhelmed by the game’s controls or movement. The ability to use your scarf to propel yourself around the map to avoid enemy attacks or to get the drop on your foes makes the fighting incredibly exciting.

I did not have the chance to experience the farming or life sim aspects of the game during my time with the demo build, but if it as good as the combat is, I will be incredibly satisfied.

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is looking to be one of the cutest games I will play this year, and will have the gameplay to back it up. This will be my first time playing an Edelweiss game, but definitely will not be my last.

It’s worth noting we were able to interview with the two talented developers working on the game – expect it very soon!

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is launching sometime this winter in North America and Europe across Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.

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