PC, PS4, Switch: Edelweiss
This unusual take on virtual farming has you battling demons – when you’re not tending to rice paddies
Another entrant in the (surprisingly populated) virtual farming genre this year is Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, a combat-heavy take from Japanese indie duo Edelweiss. Banished from the celestial capital for a regrettable pyrotechnical transgression, the arrogant harvest-warrior goddess Sakuna must purify a demon-infested island while reluctantly sheltering a band of helpful but annoying humans. It’s a grand premise for a game that’s really about the mundane things in life.
You explore said island (and kill said demons) with a shawl that is also a grappling hook (stay with me). It performs great in frantic combat, though not so well in annoying run-and-jump segments. Battles feel bracingly kinetic as you whip around the screen like a tiny divine Spider-Man, sending hapless demon rabbits crashing into their porcine comrades. Fighting is never quite as responsive as you’d like, though, and can prove monotonous in long stretches.
Selected by softengoxford