I want to tell you about Rakuen.
I started following Laura Shihigara on Twitter after her phenomenal contribution to To The Moon, which to this day is still the only piece of video game music I love so much that I have a physical representation of it in my home. Given how much I dug To The Moon in general, you won’t be surprised that I was interested in her involvement in/spearheading of Rakuen, a game that from the little news I elected to follow of it seemed very much to be what I promise I’ll never call it again, a To The Moon-like. Same concept, but different context, setting, characters, and way the player inevitably gets their heart broken, that’s what I figured. I was particularly drawn to the recurring visual of the boy in the origami hat, since that’s one of the few origami pieces I can sort-of do myself, and the title, Rakuen. If you’d put me on the spot, I’d guess that it’s Japanese for either peaceful or paradise; I know this, of course, because I phonetically memorized the lyrics to the opening song of the Kirby anime.
Rakuen came out on Steam a little over two weeks ago. I waffled on picking it up for review purposes at first, figuring that I didn’t know how much there’d be to talk about. But I eventually decided ‘you know what, I’ll just play it, it’s bound to be cool, and I’ll see if I get any writing out of it afterwards. So I bought Rakuen, and started playing it, and eventually completed the whole story.
All of this happened yesterday.
Regular readers might remember that I sometimes play fast and loose with the description of my playtimes and -dates, especially if it suits the review story. “I just beat the final boss,” I’ll say at the start of the second page, in actuality having beaten the boss three days ago. I get it, this is my narrative style, I dug this hole for myself. Which is why it’s important for me to reiterate that all of this happened yesterday. I installed Rakuen, and started playing Rakuen, and finished playing Rakuen, all on Sunday March 28th 2017. Yesterday, from the perspective of when this article goes up. Which means that Rakuen gets the unexpected honour of having my fastest-ever review turnaround time: Since I played well into midnight to close out the story, I’ve gone from final play session to written review in less than 24 hours.
And here I was wondering I wasn’t gonna have anything to say.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, somewhat low. Mechanical, low.)
(Game source: Patreon funds.)