Review Aka (eShop Conversion) | Nintendo Life

Review Aka - Screenshot 1 of 4
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

It is a story as old as time: the hero defeats the enemy, then rides off into the sunset. But what happens next? In aka, we find out. This open-world life simulation comes from solo developer Cosmic Gatto, the pen name of a former DreamWorks animator. It follows the eponymous and lovable Aka, a red panda who is also a retired soldier. Aka may be soft and smooth, but he’s at the center of something a little rough around the edges.

The game opens at the end of the ‘great war’. Aka (Japanese for ‘red’) left the battlefield and sailed to Pine Tree Island to reunite with her close friend Thom and use her katana to chop wood instead of limbs. It was the beginning of his new life. The island is a secluded piece of paradise where grass grows wild and the neighbors include an array of colorful characters inside and out. Here, Aka can spend her days taking care of her farm and the needs of her neighbors.

This game gives the champions a break, because it forces you to slow…to…down. It doesn’t have a linear story, so skimming is impossible. But hurry is not the problem. You have to spend hours chopping down trees, searching for mushrooms and seeds, and patiently waiting for those seeds to grow. You’ll then look up from your screen and realize the sun has set outside – the ultimate sign of a good game. Like Aka, we often find it difficult to relax in our lives. ~busy modern life~ so this is a good reminder to take breaks when we can.

Review Aka - Screenshot 2 of 4
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

The direction isn’t always clear, which may seem fine at first since independent exploration is the object of open world games. It’s fun to wander around Pine Tree Island and go to town to exchange trash for seeds or play some mini games. But if you have trouble moving beyond the first island (like we did), exploration will be limited. We don’t mind planting seeds and mowing the lawn for a few hours, but after that, we feel a bit lost. Some other guide will be helpful at first or even just a guide with tips that we can refer back to.

In the version we played initially, we had to unlock Aka’s ship to go beyond the first regions to the other islands. We had a glitch on this mission and were a bit annoyed trying to do it. It was completely removed in the most recent patch – and it’s great to see Cosmic Gatto continue to address issues with the game. The ship is key as it opens up a whole world of different localities and climates on three other islands, also named after the trees: Red Leaf Maple Island, Tropical Palm Island and Traditional Bamboo Island system inspired by Japan.

Farming requires some complex strategy, with a mix of crops inspired by permaculture. For example, carrots and onions go together because they attract and deter different pests. The goal is to create optimal conditions for plant growth. Targeting with a pickaxe and watering can seems a bit cumbersome. However, farming is not the center of the game. There is no currency, so harvesting is not for profit – just completing quests or recipes.

Review Aka - Screenshot 3 of 4
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

The day is very short (about 10 minutes in real life for an in-game day), which is okay since you don’t need sleep, although you can curl up in a hammock or atop a giant water guinea pig (! ) to take a nap. You don’t have to eat it either, but watching Aka’s gobbling animation is well worth it.

There are also ghosts that haunt Aka, but they are cute ghosts, we promise! They often describe a moment when Aka treated them badly while they were alive. To get revenge, you will need to bring them an item or sometimes just listen to stories with valuable lessons like “even invisible spirits need care”. The stories seem designed to fool guilt, even though they are never emotional enough to stir us up. soul did.

It’s clear that a lot of work has been put into the game’s art style: hand-painted watercolors viewed from an isometric camera angle. The background is a bit impressionist, the lights and shadows change as the day goes on. The lush green color represents a sense of ‘back to nature’ that reflects Aka’s retirement, while the slow-paced movement reflects his own efforts to slow down. Cosmic Gatto’s animated roots are evident in Aka’s laughable waddling sound, bouncy tail, and twitching ears. The melodious flute and piano-led melodies also harmonize with the heavy rhythm.

Review Aka - Screenshot 4 out of 4
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

There are other issues that interfere with gameplay and halt progress, which we find annoying. We had trouble moving or organizing things between the warehouse and the warehouse. When we try to craft something, we often can’t order it. And poor Aka every time we open our backpacks it gets stuck in a position so it just hovers on the ground. There are also times when the task is not completed even when we have completed the requirements. These glitches take away from the meditative fun the game was intended for. That said, a few bugs were eliminated and Cosmic Gatto was speak Adjustment is happening as we write.

For all its cuteness, Aka always lacks ideal enjoyment, with glitches that spoil an otherwise enjoyable game. We believe this has the potential to become a fun and laid-back favorite. As it stands, it’s a nice-looking game, although the seams show a bit too much for it to be great.


In Aka, you become a cute hero in a beautiful setting, taking a nap and strolling through the trees. It’s so dreamy! It’s a pity that the game came out with so many bugs. The frequent stalling in progression and base quests causes a bit of fatigue and the player needs a bit more mastery to grasp the objectives. At this stage, we recommend waiting for a few more patches, then playing the game in all its smooth glory. That way, you can immerse yourself in the red panda’s lavish life. Who wouldn’t want that?


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