Rakuen (video game)

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Developer(s)Laura Shigihara
Publisher(s)Laura Shigihara
Designer(s)Laura Shigihara
  • Emmy Toyonaga
  • Matt Holmberg
  • Steven Davis
Writer(s)Laura Shigihara
Composer(s)Laura Shigihara
EngineRPG Maker XP[1]
ReleaseWindows, OS X, Linux
  • WW: May 10, 2017

Rakuen is a two-dimensional indie, roleplaying, adventure video game, created by Laura Shigihara. It was built using the RPG Maker XP engine and released in May 2017. It is a sprite-based exploration game, in which text boxes serve as the primary conduit for communication.[2] The name "Rakuen" is translated from Japanese as "paradise." The game is currently available for PC on Mac OS X and Windows. The game has an estimated run time of around 10-12 hours. It has also been noted that the game is completely free of combat.


A boy is laid up in a hospital ward and is visited by his mother everyday. The mother brings a book with her to read to him, called Rakuen. It is a story about a magical land that is inhabited by a creature that grants wishes known as the Guardian of the Forest. The mother reveals a secret to the boy that the book's world is real and they can visit it together.[3] The boy asks his mom if they can visit the storybook world so he can ask the Guardian of the Forest to grant him one wish. In order to receive the wish, the boy must complete a set of challenges. The boy's main task is to collect pieces of music for new friends that he makes throughout the game, placing music at the center of the story. As the boy is exploring through the game he comes across an entrance to a parallel fantasy, one that is intimately connected to the real world. He meets really strange characters during his endeavor, (a grumpy onion and a pretentious rose). The boy also undertakes quests on behalf of the hospital patients and their fantasy-world avatars. Some of those quests include searching for lost items, collecting needed items, and figuring out logic puzzles while following basic instructions. The rewards earned from these quests is that your new friends achieve happiness, as in you feel rewarded for the end of their distress.[2]


Rakuen received "generally favorable reviews" from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic. Critics gave the game a Metascore of 84/100 and a user rating of 8.2/10[4]

Polygon rated the game a 9.5/10. [2] Polygon has also ranked the game 32nd on their list of the 50 best games of 2017, citing that "The game delivers straightforward quests greatly illuminated by a range of characters whose lives represent the anxieties we all face: rejection, loneliness, guilt, fear and pride."[5]


Rakuen received an Honorable Mention for "Excellence in Narrative" from the 2018 Independent Games Festival.[6]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun named it one of the Best PC games of 2017.[7]

GameStar rated the game an 87/100, earning a gold-award and receiving a blue star award for "Best Story."[citation needed]

Polygon placed Rakuen on its "Best Games of 2017" list. [5]


  1. ^ Shigihara, Laura (2017-01-02). "Hi Everyone! (Developer here^^)". Steam Discussions. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  2. ^ a b c "Rakuen review". Polygon. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  3. ^ "Wot I Think: Rakuen". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 2017-05-12. Retrieved 2018-05-07.
  4. ^ "Rakuen". Metacritic. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
  5. ^ a b Polygon staff (2017-12-18). "The 50 best games of 2017". Polygon. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  6. ^ "2018 Independent Games Festival announces Main Competition finalists!". IGF. 2018-01-02. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  7. ^ "Best PC games of 2017". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 2017-05-12. Retrieved 20 May 2019.

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