Rakuen [official site], the first game from Laura Shigihara, has been five years in the making, and is out today. “Laura Shigihara?” you say, “I know that name from somewhere!” Indeed you do – Shigihara came to fame when she wrote and performed the fabulous song that accompanied the original Plants Vs Zombies. She has since composed and performed music for many independent games, perhaps most notably the gorgeous To The Moon – a game that was a big inspiration for Rakuen.
Looking very likely to be similarly tear-jerking, this is the tale of a hospitalised young boy who escapes to a fantasy world in order to help himself and fellow long-term patients. And it’s literally looking similar too, built in RPGMaker. I’ve already started playing, but it’s far too soon to report more than it looks lovely, the close-up character art is absolutely gorgeous, and perhaps unsurprisingly the music is delightful. So those are all good signs, but the story will be the key, and I’ll report back to you on that in due course.
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Shigihara compares the game to an eclectic mix: Maniac Mansion, To the Moon, and The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past (although the game features no combat). It’s out for Windows, Mac and Linux via Steam for £6.99/ 9,99€/$9.99.