[Review] Akimi Village


Akimi Village was a very interesting experience for me. While I was downloading it I thought this would be lame and boring, but after a couple hours I was pleasantly surprised and even played it to 100% completion and obtained all trophies which I rarely do for PSN titles.

This is a village creator game, themed around a floating island inhabited by a crazy raccoon and Akimis (very short blue guys), the art style and setting is very Japanese and made me interpret this game as a virtual sand garden, where you have to keep things tidy. This is a very relaxing game and a good getaway from all the tension of Dark Souls and the blood and gore from Dead Island (the games I have been playing lately).

This is an unpretentious adventure, with zero challenge and it compels you to take your time and enjoy it. There are no limitations in terms of difficulty, you’re given a quest to revitalize this little island and you can do it for as long as you like. Despite it being fairly easy and simple, some smart thinking should come into play if you want to make a fully functional home for you little blue friends. Like any strategy game you must collect resources to build stuff, the difference though is that those basic components must be transformed into many other different ones through the use of different buildings. Creating a viable non-stop gathering and production of all materials really made me slightly addicted to this game, definitely the main incentive if you’re a perfectionist like me. Those materials are then used to create different structures that combined will make dozens of different buildings. The pacing is completely up to the player, but having a smoothly ran village will certainly speed things up, otherwise you’ll probably waste a lot of time gathering stuff and that would be boring. There is no need to create multiple buildings of the same kind if you place them all well enough, which is kind of cool and shows an interesting level of balance to the game.

The game is no graphical wonder, but runs smoothly at 1080p and looks better than the average PSN game. Most things about it are built with the Japanese culture in mind, so you can expect to see a lot of Sakura trees, dragons, gates and things of the sort. This certainly made the game feel ever more “zen” to me and fit the overall concept of it perfectly. The colors are very bright with high contrast, as most games focused on a younger audience are, but also has some interesting darker tones and models on “gloomy” areas (places where you can’t build). Most things will glow and sparkle when active or going through some sort of transformation, those effects are also decently done and work well for the theme and purpose of the game, never feeling overdone or getting in the way of everything else.

The soundtrack is very peaceful, though it got repetitive after a couple hours, but since I didn’t play it for longer sessions than that it wouldn’t annoy me when I got back to it. There are few sound effects, and those also get repetitive after a while, but since they’re not continuous possibly it isn’t as bad. Playing with the music on is certainly the way to go though, in case you’re one of those people that like to turn off all sounds and choose your own tunes the immersion and therefore the relaxation will be certainly a lot less effective.

In terms of gameplay Akimi Village functions are very simple, you walk and interact, basically using two buttons, however it’s very easy to access and navigate the menus with blueprints for the buildings as well, which is nice, since it’s a rather important part of the game. The interface for creating new structures and interactions with the environment are also extremely effective and very helpful, making the game a lot more enjoyable than if you had to guess where things go. My only complaint is the same that afflicts most PSN titles I’ve played: camera angles. I seriously don’t understand why a game that allows you to rotate and zoom does not offer the option to actually change it, instead you’re forced to actively hold the camera on the desired position. I also believe the overall ease of navigation through the island is hindered by it, and I’d certainly would like to have seen a top view with more distance. It isn’t a major problem, you’ll get used to it, but it would have been a great feature.

As I have mentioned earlier, the game is fairly addictive and encouraged me to go all the way and get 100% completion and trophies (the gold trophy is “missable”, so watch out!), it took me approximately 7 hours to do so, but unfortunately there’s very little replay value to it if you’ve gotten everything on the first go. You can keep playing after you finish the main “story” if you so desire, but again, this will only interest those who haven’t really put too much effort into it, and chances are if you haven’t you won’t want to do it anyway.

Akimi Village is certainly a fun game and worth purchasing if you’re looking to relax from a stressful day at work. It’s a nice little break for anyone that doesn’t need realistic graphics or blood to entertain yourself. While playing, I had a strange feeling that if EdEN had created a video game, this would be it, don’t ask me why though. As a long time fan of Harvest Moon, I have always loved tidying things up and this reminded me of that, which was nice. Some mechanics will appeal to those who like real time strategy games and others might enjoy the weird sense of humor. This is a unusual game, where the player sets all the rules and challenges and utterly decides how much fun can be had with it, so if you’re up for it, this shall definitely be much appreciated.

Review

ProsCons
Very relaxing
Interesting mechanics
Fairly addictive
Low replayability
No challenge
Rating
80%

This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of Akimi Village provided by NinjaBee.


Written by: pedrolabate - News Contributor


  1. #1 by CHEETO on November 14th, 2011

    I saw your post pending earlier, so I went ahead and looked up some gameplay videos. The game certainly looks interesting in terms of the gameplay and execution. It reminds me of Harvest Moon, as you said earlier, which was indeed a fantastic game. For the right price, this actually could be a decent time off the AAA titles we had lately, not sure people will give up on their precious Skyrim, but nothing less, it is definitely worth checking. Yes, this game has EdEN written all over it, if it wasn’t for his broken PS3 he would probably be on this like a kid in a candy store lol
    Great review my friend, as always.

  2. #2 by Pedro on November 14th, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    Thanks buddy, it is certainly an entertaining game, many will appreciate, but if it were me, I’d never put Skyrim down for it ;p

    I can’t wait to actually get it… damn you Brazilian Customs, why do you have to be so painfully annoying and overly bureaucratic!?

  3. #3 by EdEN on November 14th, 2011 [ 136079 Points ]

    See, colors other than gray, black and brown ARE good for us! Hahaha.

    Very fun game. Does remind me of Animal Crossing/Harvest Moon which is always a great thing.

  4. #4 by dragon290513 on November 15th, 2011 [ 7218 Points ]

    great review! saw you played this quite often last week :P

    how long did it took you to 100% its trophies?

  5. #5 by Pedro on November 15th, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    It took me about 6 – 7 hours to get everything, it shouldn’t change much for anyone if doing things correctly.

  6. #6 by hobbes on November 15th, 2011 [ 30071 Points ]

    i really enjoyed the demo, for 4.99 or lower i’d bite, on the price 7-8hrs isn’t worth the admission at 9.99, especially with my backlog, i’m just tempted to bite on the b1g1 50% off at amazon right now for uncharted 3 and skyrim

  7. #7 by EdEN on November 15th, 2011 [ 136079 Points ]

    @hobbes: new IPs deserve our money over sequels!

  8. #8 by Pedro on November 15th, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    @hobbes: new IPs deserve our money over sequels!

    blasphemy! well, as far as skyrim goes ;p

  9. #9 by EdEN on November 15th, 2011 [ 136079 Points ]

    @Pedro: Yeah, like Bethesda will dissappear and go bankrupt if YOU don’t buy a copy hehehe. Support smaller games and new IPs like Okabu, Akimi Village, Rochard, Eat Them, The Undergarden or Swarm!

  10. #10 by Pedro on November 15th, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    @EdEN, not what I meant! Skyrim deserves my money because I deserve Skyrim ;p

  11. #11 by EdEN on November 15th, 2011 [ 136079 Points ]

    @Pedro: Attitudes like that is why Brazilian customs hates you so much hehehe.

  12. #12 by Isli on November 15th, 2011 [ 42785 Points ]

    @EdEN: I would support new IPs more freely if they made full release title games. I like the occasional PSN games, but you can only play so many before you go nuts.

    Also, Skyrim isn’t quite a sequel, so it will always rock.

  13. #13 by dragon290513 on November 16th, 2011 [ 7218 Points ]

    but it is kinda risky that way :( the reason both movies and games love making sequel

  14. #14 by Pedro on November 16th, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    honestly, I’m not super fond of sequels myself, I even made a post about it sometime ago, but some are really worth it.

    I wished there were more new IPs as well, but with the same quality as some established franchises, unfortunately that doesn’t seem to happen. Maybe publishers don’t want to spend too much money on a new idea…

  15. #15 by wolfkin on November 18th, 2011 [ 6633 Points ]

    better than I thought it would do but I’ve seen the demo and I sorta get where you could stick an Avatar in it (people have said it’s like that Avatar game for XBL) some part of it just didn’t stick with me.. can’t say which but no matter maybe if it goes on sale I’ll look for it.


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