I’m totally charmed by Rakuen. This upcoming adventure/puzzle game is being headed up by Plants vs. Zombies comoposer Laura Shigihara and it looks like a fantastic time for old-school gamers. On the gameplay front, Rakuen looks like a classic RPG, but the focus is on exploration and puzzle solving. The graphics also feature old-school flair, but use a distinct color palette. The music I’ve heard so far is lovely and totally works for the game’s dreamy tone.
Speaking of dreamy, I believe that the word rakuen is Japanese for paradise (I only took one semester of Japanese). The game’s story is about a sick boy whose dreams become a reality. Here’s an excerpt on the story from the game’s official website:
Rakuen is a story about a little Boy who lives in the hospital. His mother reads to him everyday from his favorite storybook, which is about a tribal child living in a fantasy world called “Morizora’s Forest.” One day the child wakes up to find that everyone in his tribe has disappeared. He soon learns that in order to escape danger, his tribe sailed away to a paradise isle called “Rakuen.”
The Boy deals with questions about empathy, hope, and what it means to leave behind a legacy by coming to terms with your own story.
On paper, Rakuen looks like one of those games that will melt your heart with a touching story enhanced by charming graphics and music. As a huge fan of 8-bit and 16-bit games, I’m predisposed to Rakuen’s perspective (that’s how the world is supposed to look, damn it!). I have a feeling that this game will work for me on every level and can’t wait to see more of it (and also play it, duh).
Rakuen is due out by the end of 2014. Check out the trailer and screenshots below, and let me know what you think of the game when you have a chance.