Rakuen is a fantasy role-playing game designed by Laura Shigihara, a creator best known for her work as a soundtrack composer. In this game, you take on the role of a young hospital patient trapped in a drab, monochrome world. Through the magic of a storybook, the boy and his mother also explore a lush, colourful fantasy world populated by strange creatures that reflect the problems of his fellow patients.
A unique fantasy RPG
Rakuen isn't like most fantasy adventure games. There's no combat, and not very much danger: instead, the drama comes from the gradual unveiling of the hospital's story and the resolution of each patient's challenge. Most of this is done through puzzles and exploration, with lots of interaction with the strange creatures that populate the different areas of the fantasy world. Despite the game's whimsical graphics, which give it a childlike feel, the story is a sad and haunting one, with powerful themes of loss, isolation and grief. The graphics are simple, reminiscent of classic 16-bit or Game Boy RPGs, but portray beautiful, compelling environments.
A compelling story in a strangely beautiful world
If you like games that are a little out of the ordinary and don't mind a lack of white-knuckle action, Rakuen may be the game for you. It's hauntingly beautiful and compelling, both in its storybook look and its strange, memorable characters.