Aka is an indie game made by French developer, Cosmo Gatto and published by NEOWIZ. The game tackles a lot of themes and is very overt about them, not shying away from the horrors of war and how it affects people after it. The game has a strong theme of moving on, trying to rebuild while also trying to forget their experiences. So how does the game fare up? Let’s find out in our Aka Review.
The game opens up by giving you control of Aka, a red panda, as he tries to escape the battlefield and leave behind the horrors he has seen. Coming to a new island to start over, Aka is quickly adjusting to a new life while being reminded of the past in multiple ways. As you explore the island, you meet a delectable cast of characters who also share their experiences of the war with you – with some affected by it more than others.
As you explore the island, you learn more about its secrets and history. As you start building up a new home for yourself, you end up helping others along the way in minor ways. This gives the game all the character it needs.
Learning about the horrors of war from such a unique medium is an experience because the cutesy graphics hide a lot of contexts that are worth exploring.
The game has a little bit of everything. This is a more mature Animal Crossing, which is the easiest way to put it. The game’s main features revolve around gardening, crafting, construction, and exploring the world to gather materials. As you play the game, you unlock other features such as traveling to new locations on the boat, taking on quests, mini-games,
You’re rewarded for exploring by meeting new characters and learning about their time in the war.
What makes the game even better is that you are free to take part in gardening, construction, and a lot of other activities within the first 10 minutes of the game. There is no waiting required. You can choose to do farming and construction for yourself or do favors for other inhabitants on the island. There are multiple ways to go about how you want to play the game.
All in all, the game is, to the roots, a simple experience that you play at your own pace. You set your own objectives and play the game as you want to play it. There are no objectives or constant reminders to tell you what to do next. You are free to keep the quests where they are. Players can also choose to grow their farm, harvest all the possible materials on the island, and have even more possibilities for players to explore. I found this approach quite relaxing and accessible. The mechanics are simple but engaging, with quite a bit of variety.
The game has a unique graphical presentation that looks like a page from a children’s book. The cutscenes use watercolor, and the game itself looks like it. The graphics are a big appeal for the game and really help with the look of the game.
Some might say that the game’s visuals may not help deliver the gravity of war and its horrors on a serious note, but this can be a subjective opinion. I personally found the game as a great way to encourage players to keep playing the game without getting overwhelmed. This is a good contrast to what we see in other games in different genres exploring the same theme.
Aka is a simple game with a very compelling idea. It tells you about the mental and physical difficulties faced by people who are adjusting to a new life. You are left to your own devices and made to explore these at your own leisure with no forced narrative pushing you forward. You control the speed of the narration for the game. This can be categorized as a “comfort” game if you are willing to accept the game’s themes because it emphasizes storytelling, progression, and playing the game your own way.
What did you think of our Aka Review? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
This review is based on the PC version of Aka. The key was provided by NEWOWIZ.