Game Info:

The Legend of Kusakari
Developed By: Librage
Published By: Nnooo
Released: August 25, 2016
Available On: 3DS
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle
ESRB Rating: E10+ for Everyone 10 and Up (Fantasy Violence)
Number of Players: 1
Price: $4.99

Thank you Nnooo for sending us a copy of the game to review!

I often find myself pondering what Link does after rescuing Zelda, or any other maiden for that matter. I came to the conclusion that he must cut down a lot of patches of grass to pass the time until Ganon returns. In an ironic twist, developer Librage has just released their Zelda inspired 3DS title, The Legend of Kusakari, which does exactly that.

The story is extremely simple. The Demon King has plunged the world into chaos, and every warrior is out doing their part to hold back monstrous enemies. We play as Shiba Kari, a legendary gardener who plans on eradicating unsightly patches of grass on the battlefield. It sounds strange, and truthfully it is. Rather than attacking any monsters, the object of each of the 50 levels is to clear all the grass in as little time as possible with your scythe. All this just so the warriors have a well-trimmed lawn to fight on. An additional 10 stages can be unlocked when certain conditions are met.

The Legend of Kusakari

Strong Points: Very familiar gaming mechanics and art style; Endless mode is incredibly addictive; Plenty of replay value.
Weak Points: The music is incredibly grating; Feels slightly hollow not being able to attack enemies.
Moral Warnings: Small amount of fantasy violence.

Controlling Kari is fairly easy. Pressing 'B' has him cut the grass, which also slowly levels up his spin cut. Level 0 is a very minimal attack, whereas level 4 will release a huge spin attack, capable of destroying multiple patches of grass. Pressing 'A' unleashes said spin attack nearly identical to Link's from any 2D Zelda title. Each time it is used it lowers the level of the spin attack by one. Holding one of the shoulder buttons allows Kari to dash around the stage. Pressing 'A' or 'B' while dashing will result in a dash attack. This is a handy way of taking out multiple patches of grass.

Stages start out rather easy, but get much harder very quickly. Clearing a stage will result in a ranking of C, B, A, or S. Only by clearing stages relatively quickly can one get an S-rank. Besides clearing the grass, one must avoid the warriors and monsters that are fighting around Kari. Getting hit by them will cause him to lose health, which is complicated further by the fact that his health is constantly draining down on its own. When his heart count reaches zero, Kari will spin around and collaspe, prompting one to retry a stage. Thankfully, there are blue patches of grass in stages that, when cut down, will restore a heart of health. Shining blue patches will recover all of Kari's health. Each of the stages have one special condition, such as not getting hit by anyone. This unlocks an achievement of sorts which becomes viewable from the Greenthumb Almanac in the options menu. 

The Legend of Kusakari
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 78%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Should you get bored with the main story mode there is an endless mode. In it, Kari must cut down as many patches of grass as possible before his health depletes. Grass will grow back thicker when cut down and will require an additional swing of your scythe to remove. All around the map are fast moving slimes, which makes navigating around the stage extremely difficult. At random times a blue patch will sprout up. It's imperative that it be cut down as soon as you see it pop up in order to maintain as much health as possible.

Graphically, The Legend of Kusakari is incredibly charming to look at. I could honestly see this being an official Zelda spin-off, and Librage should be commended for their efforts here. However, there's an issue with the music. The main theme is, well it's unbearable. A squeaky, off-tune trumpet blares along with the rest of the instruments, breaking the flow of the song. Not to mention this theme is looped on the main menu, which nearly drove me insane. I can only hope someone patches that trumpet out of the game, as the music is just fine without it.

For $5, there's a lot to like about this title. Hours of replayability mixed with charming graphics make for a great experience. Part of me still wishes I could have fought the monsters encountered, but rushing to cut grass down was oddly just as satisfying. The only thing holding Kusakari back is that trumpet in the main theme. 



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