Rakuen Review - A World of Warmth and Sorrow
In the realm of indie games, standout titles aren’t always those that possess astonishing graphical prowess and/or unique design elements. Oftentimes, some of the best indie games are ones built upon a solid story foundation and supported by an array of believable characters.
However, the three-person team behind
The core premise of
In fact, many of his interactions in the hospital revolve around other sick children. This alone is enough to make you empathize with his desire to see
The game is primarily an exploration game with some light puzzle solving and heavy narrative focus. If you’re looking for a game with combat or a lingering sense of danger,
Arguably one of the best aspects of
The very act of clipping the wings of your text can become problematic in a game driven by its story. To put it into greater perspective, authors have around 300 pages inside a carefully crated novel to sufficiently introduce you to know each character and the world they’re living in.
In a game like Rakuen, you’re bound by the visuals, circumstances, and interactive dialogue. To help buoy each character’s individual circumstance, Rakuen delicately coats the backdrop with a soundtrack that is, in its own way, a story itself. In fact, I’d go so far as to say
There are games where a soundtrack can feel like a tacked-on afterthought, and in titles where gameplay is your biggest draw, you can get away with a mediocre string of songs here and there. Yet in
Thanks to the mind-blowing soundtrack, the "RPG Maker" type overtones of
As you venture through the fantasy world of The Forest, the purpose of each quest is never far behind you. There’s so much lighthearted whimsy in Rakuen that you almost forget the game is (at its core) a sad tale. The moments of clarity, where you sit back and contemplate the boy's hospital stay and the reasons why the other children are there at the hospital have a sneaky way of tugging at your heart.
Rakuen is truly able to move you despite being a game stripped to the barest of essentials. I'm still impressed by the impressions Rakuen left on me. If you have $10 to spare, and you love games like To The Moon, you definitely need to check out
- Engaging story and well-written characters.
- One of the best game soundtracks you'll hear this year.
- A lot of love and care went into Rakuen, and it shows.
- If you're not a fan of RPG Maker titles, Rakuen may not be for you.