As someone who is both a food editor and lifelong video game enthusiast, I’ve predictably played a ton of food-themed games. Over the last year, games have kept me excellent company, serving as a satisfying and consistent way to pass what I’ll refer to as “time.” I revisited the food-centric games I previously loved, like Stardew Valley, Overcooked, the eerily realistic Cooking Simulator, and every last Cooking Mama. I’ve cooked my way through Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Final Fantasy XV (whose food imagery is stunning), and World of Warcraft. But when I popped recent release Sakuna: Of Rice & Ruin into my Switch a few months ago, I felt genuinely connected to the food I was interacting with on the screen for the first time.
In this farming, friend-feeding, and enemy-pummeling role-playing game, rice is king, and you happen to live on a paddy. Oh, and you’ve never grown rice before. Additionally, you’re a harvest goddess coming down from quite the hot mess of a sake bender (see: “& Ruin”), so the stakes are pretty high.