“And if you keep talking to me through this darkness, through this night, I’ll be alright.”
Rakuen is a indie game romp through a whimsical and colorful world created by video game composer Laura Shigihara. If you’re not familiar at all with Laura Shigihara, she’s a small yet beloved composer and songwriter for various video games. She’s done work on games like Minecraft and Plants vs. Zombies, but she’s arguably most famous for her theme song “Everything’s Alright” for the heartrending adventure game To The Moon. Previously she designed a rhythm game called Melolune, so this is her second foray into the indie scene.
Rakuen tells the story of a hospitalized boy who travels between the real world and a fantasy world where everything seems so much livelier, and the art styles between the worlds really creates sense of wonder. If you’ve played To The Moon, you’re probably already making a lot of connections. It’s a fair comparison, as both games are seemingly lighthearted adventures based on real life situations but end up taking on some very heavy themes. But Laura Shigihara has gone through and made sure that Rakuen got its own identity, and you can see that through the art style and the gameplay. While still dealing with real life issues, Rakuen sports a bright and lovely art style during the fantasy portion of the game that’s a stark contrast to the sharp, dull colors of the real world.
It’s light on gameplay, dealing with puzzles here and there, but the real meat of the game is getting to know the characters and the struggles within. If you enjoy story heavy games with some tear-jerking situations, give Rakuen a shot. It’s a super unique adventure game that will probably leave you with in tears. Oh joy, right? Rakuen launched on May 10th, and is available now for $9.99 on the Steam Store.