By Steve Baltimore / February 21st, 2022
|Title||The Dead Tree of Ranchiuna|
|Developer||EastAsiaSoft, Tonguç Bodur|
|Release Date||February 02, 2022|
|Platform||Switch, PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5|
In my years of reviewing games I’ve never taken on a walking simulator. When I saw EastAsiaSoft was releasing The Dead Tree of Ranchiuna, I thought it might be time I checked one out. I thought the story sounded interesting, and walking through a detailed and immersive world seemed like a good time. I have explored all the game has to offer, so let’s see if I enjoyed my first foray into this genre.
The story follows a young man, fresh out of university, that has returned home to the small village he grew up in. The city life was just too hard on this young man, so he wanted to go back to the world and girl he knew best. However, when he returns he finds the village deserted, and has visions of something terrible that has happened here. You must now explore the area, seeing glimpses of both the future and the past, and unwrap the mystery of what has occurred here.
Personally, this story wasn’t really for me. It was a tale about how cruel humans can be to each other, the jealousy, and basically all the darkest parts of ourselves we’d rather not talk about. I don’t really think the story was poorly told, but it just never clicked with me. I didn’t feel any connection with these characters, so when the emotional events were taking place, I was sort of stoic about it. There were some great messages here, so I’m glad I played through this, even if just for those few great quotes. I think a better voice acting cast would’ve done wonders here, but I realize this is a small developer, and they have to work within their means.
There isn’t much gameplay to speak of here. You will basically explore the world from either a 1st or 3rd person point of view. The Dead Tree of Ranchiuna does offer some light puzzles to solve. These will not tax your brain in the least, but they are a neat addition to the fantastic environments. This world has a lot of detail, and each area has some nice hidden goodies for the player to find as well. The world here is completely seamless, you will never see a loading screen during your playthrough. Even if the game cuts to another area entirely, the transition is instant. The only thing you will notice is that during the narration, when the next area is loading in, the frame rate will dip slightly. This isn’t a big deal and doesn’t bring this down one bit.
The best part of this game was the sound design. The visuals looks great, but the sound team really knocked this out of the park. The environmental sounds really immerse you in this world, and the haunting soundtrack tries its best to give this story some emotion. That’s really a critique of the story rather than the music, since I feel The Dead Tree of Ranchiuna has one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in a while.
I have mixed feelings about The Dead Tree of Ranchiuna. I like the environments and sound design, but I feel like a game in this genre should really have a gripping story. The game just didn’t deliver for me in this area, but I can’t say I wouldn’t try out another walking simulator if I thought the story might fit my tastes better. This game will set you back $9.99 and it lasts about 4 hours. After completing the game, you can use fast travel to look over any area of the game you wish more closely. If you’re into this genre, and the story sounds like something you’d be interested in, then maybe this one is for you. Everyone else should probably look elsewhere for something to entertain them.
Game was provided by the publisher for review.
EastAsiaSoftReviewsSwitchThe Dead Tree of RanchiunaWalking Simulator