Sakuna of Rice and Ruin is an interesting mix of game genres. It’s half side-scrolling platforming beat-em-up like Odin Sphere or Dragon’s Crown, and half farming simulator like Rune Factory or Animal Crossing. While some might find that an odd mix, it ends up working quite well. It does both of them really well.
That being said, a few things are poorly explained in the game, so I decided to put together a brief FAQ to cover game basics and some critical clues that are otherwise inscrutable. There are a lot of hidden mechanics going on; while I don’t have numbers for the algorithms under the hood, I can at least explain the overall arc of how things work.
First of all, note that game mechanics open up slowly over the course of multiple game years. You literally cannot do some things I’ll mention here, until later, so don’t worry about it, work around them or ignore anything you can’t do yet.
Important point: There is no time limit. While there is a concept of game-time that governs farming, the game has no end point. So you can take all the time you need and don’t worry about it. Even the quicktime events in the farming mini games are not timed. The only things that are timed are the day-nigh cycle progresses as you explore, and until you get stronger, you really need to go home at night or you’ll get clobbered. It is a terrible night for a curse, indeed.
General hint: hard save once per season just in case. Also make a hard save right before beating the boss of “the fort”. Just trust me.
Early Unexplained Mechanics
- You make fertilizer by scooping poop at the outhouse and dumping it into the hole in the ground near the rice field.
- Get all the question marks everywhere, they’re either gatherables or small animals that you (automatically) add to your field to eat pests, they’re all good. Check all houses, and behind all houses, and the two rooms in the main house periodically.
- Fertilize before tilling, and always pick up all rocks when tilling. Eventually you unlock holding a button to see where you’ve properly tilled.
- Plant seeds about as far apart as Sakuna’s feet are apart. Eventually you unlock a grid showing you optimal planting. 500 seeds take the whole rice field, so if you plant 100, they should roughly fit into 1/5 of the field, as an estimate for spacing.
- A meal always fast-forwards time to night, so be careful about near-dawn, or you could end up skipping an entire day. If your friends are wandering around outside, it’s daytime already. If you’re not sure, save first.
- However, a meal does not always forward to morning, you can choose to do stuff at night. If you do, though, your food bonuses will probably run out before morning, and you’ll need to eat again before dawn before going out during the day. If you do skip to morning, the food bonuses start from morning, you aren’t wasting the night time.
- You can’t plant or till or a few other farming steps at night, tho you can start just before night and run into the night. Time taken by farming takes more time than it seems – the clock runs slowly while doing the activity, and then it fast-forwards almost half a day afterwards, so be aware before you jump a day by accident.
- Food in your stomach lasts about half a day. When it runs out there’s no penalty, but you don’t get HP recovery any more on the field, and all your bonuses from food disappear. You can go home and go back out for a refill, though. And if you die during a level, you also get a HP refill. You don’t get the regen back in either case, though, for that you must eat (and make sure to have Natural Healing on the food).
- Everything you do in one area is undone if you die, all treasures and items are returned and disappear, and time is rewinded to when you started. (You keep any challenges you succeeded at, though.)
- You must unlock the challenges on the various areas to progress. Not necessarily all (some are hard or very RNG), but do go back to do them. Each one gives a couple stars, which add up to the exploration level in the bottom left of the map screen. Basically, new areas and plot are locked behind exploration level. This is a quest-based game at it’s heart.
- If it’s raining, the water level will rise while you’re away; if it’s not, it’ll drop. So, plan and set it accordingly.
- You arm scrolls to your weapons and armor by going to equipment and selecting the Change option. Each item has a certain number of slots, some are fixed and some open. The open ones you can put any scroll into. It doesn’t matter what goes on what. (Prioritize HP first, then STR and VIT, and HP drain and other recovery stuff when it unlocks.)
- You upgrade scrolls on the same menu, it should show you what you need to do to charge up the upgrade, like finding certain items, defeating certain enemies, or performing certain tasks. Items are used up when upgrading.
- You don’t gain XP from defeating enemies, just Amber and materials for crafting and farming. Stat and level increases are 100% tied to your last harvest quality each year.
- Perishable foods rot after 2 days, use them quickly or preserve them.
- You can pause during battle and jump to the map screen to get out of a tight spot so you don’t die – at least you can keep all your items and not have to redo everything.
- If you go to the menu while in the rice area, you get a different menu, where you can select or deselect upgrades to farming. The only one you probably will ever need to futz with is when planting, when you unlock the final seed pattern (chaos), you might want to press left and right and re-select “balanced” instead.
- You probably want to hull the rice to 100% to make white rice, always.
Daily Cycle Game Loop
- Send friends out to scavenge before you forget, this includes on days where you are doing farming stuff all day (though buy from Kinta and Yui first before you send them out, or they’re unavailable until the next day)
- Weed the field, fertilize, check water levels, create new fertilizer (it takes a while to “age”)
- If you’re doing farming stuff like tilling, you can squeeze a half a day of exploration in first, so that farming runs into the night, which is wasted time early on in the game anyways. Otherwise, if there’s no farming to do, go out and try to clear a new area or complete a new challenge.
- At night, come home, weed, check water levels, fertilize, make new fertilizer (if you’re hard up for amber and additives, you can skip night fertilizing – daytime is more effective)
- If you are not strong enough to do stuff at night yet, then you can still go out to some of the enemy-less areas to collect materials there before coming back home, though be aware that those green collection points fast-forward time by about 9 hours, don’t accidentally push it past dawn and miss a day
- Eat a meal… if you plan to go out at night, eat one to refill your stomach but don’t sleep til dawn – then go out and explore and come back before dawn, and then eat another meal to refill for the day
Yearly Cycle Game Loop
- Winter 3 – till the land and (later) sort your seeds (I generally sort them as heavily as possible but grow them thickly, this seems to give dependable results)
- Spring 1 – Plant seeds and keep water level at 25-30%
- Spring/Autumn – When the rice growth hits “third offshoot” (look at the menu screen, upper right), drain all water – literally leave the drain open
- Spring/Autumn – When the rice state is either dehydrated or the next growth stage, fill it with 25-30% water again until the end
- Autumn 1 – When it’s “ripe”, drain all the water for a day before harvesting, and “talk to Tauemon about rice”. This will give a weather report. If the following day is rain, pray for a dry spell. You can get one last fertilization cycle in at this point, but then stop putting in additives or you’ll waste them if they’re in the ground while you harvest.
- Autumn 2 – Harvest and leave it to dry for a day
- Autumn 3 – Bring it inside and process it (the harvesting can happen at different days each year, just make sure to bring it inside before Winter 1, even if it’s wet)
- Winter – keep fertilizing all winter! Maybe only once a day, and don’t add any additives, but try to keep the triangle full, it will make things easier come the following year.
Eventually, you can send friends out to scavenge. One at first, then two. Note that who you send determines what they pick up. Kinta and Myrthe are the most useful, as they grab crafting materials and medicine, respectively. Yui can get clothing-crafting materials. The Tauemon and Kaimaru seem to get random items, I can’t tell what their pattern is.
- The forest to the east of home is a good place for wood and hard woods – send Kinta there
- Once the one in the valley near the source of the river opens up, send Kinta there for Iron and other ores
- Once you unlock the mines to the west, send Kinta to the west-most one for gold and other ores
- Send Myrthe to pick up anything with powders, they are the best additives, and when the one to the north-east of the volcano opens up, send her there constantly for Medicine Bases, they’re the best additive in the game
The points of the triangle matter to each stage of rice growth. Root while it’s just starting to grow, kernel while in sprout, and leaf while in offshoot. The size of the triangle doesn’t seem to indicate the strength of the fertilizer, it seems instead to be a “reserve”. The rice uses up the reserves and drains the corner of the triangle. I don’t think additives get stored – what’s in the field at the moment is what get’s absorbed, not what was put in last. But the blue triangle can be kept large at all times fairly inexpensively so that when it gets to that point in the cycle, you don’t have to suddenly make it bigger.
The three additives on the first menu screen for making new fertilizer are multiplier factors, each 20%. Don’t use more than 5, it can’t go over 100%. Amber is what makes the triangle bigger, by a small amount, times the factors above.
After you make the fertilizer, you can add stuff in it. Medicine Base is the best if you can find it, then all the powders. Do NOT use the “flakes”, they’re used for permanent stat potions late in the game. Most materials other than those also have a negative effect on pesticide or toxicity. Some materials can counteract this. I found that rotten food makes it worse, but garlic or fish mint counteract this. There’s a limit to the number of ingredients you can dump in, so eventually it won’t let you add a new one.
Don’t add fertilizer if it still says “sustainability 10 days” when you check the status in the field, as that means the previous one is still in effect.
Transformation powder instantly ages fertilizer, so you don’t have to wait. It’s not really necessary but sometimes you want to rush one batch for some reason, so that’s what it’s there for.
Battle and Movement
- Your scarf goes in all directions, make use of it to either grab a ledge to climb, or to grab an enemy and swing through them.
- D-pad direction while doing hard and weak attacks changes them. Up and weak will throw enemies in the air, though sometimes only if you hit them a couple times first. Down and strong is faster than no directionality, but it’s faster still to use down as a jump attack and attack down as you land, so you don’t have a wait time or wind up.
- Both the scarf and your skills use SP (the green semicircle under Sakuna), which refills but on a bit of a delay.
- While swinging on your scarf, you have invincibility frames, so use this frequently in battle to keep out of touch. You don’t get iframes otherwise, and can easily get juggled to death.
- Enemies, on the other hand, have a ton of iframes (this is one unfair part of the system, I feel). After they’re downed, you have a fraction of a second to do an up-weak strike to get them juggling again (do a sideways weak to get to them and then up-weak to juggle, that’s easiest), otherwise they have about a 5-second window of complete invulnerability, including to crashing. Get used to this timing, it’s frustrating but critical.
- Arm skills on the menu, one for no D-pad directionality and one for up, down, and sideways.
- You can also arm scarf powers this way. The way those work is that when you use the scarf, if you hold the scarf button rather than just tapping it, and it sticks to the enemy, you have about a second to then press the D-pad in another direction to do one of those other powers, like throw the enemy or drain it of power.
- Crashing enemies into each other is an essential skill. Arm one of the abilities that tosses enemies to your “sideways” button. Note that sometimes you have to soften up some enemies before they can be flung around. Pressing sideways and weak to dart forward and strike can often be enough.
- Also, throwing enemies into the air and throwing them is critical. Use the up-weak (or up-strong, but that has a huge wind-up) to toss them into the air and attack, and on the 5th or so attack, you’ll send them crashing down, preferably into other enemies or a spike for extra damage.
- As soon as you get Swallow Strike, arm it to “up”. This will give you essentially a high jump and double-jump that you will need for the rest of the game.
- Tapping the D-pad towards the enemy just as they attack parries them and paralyzes them for additional attacks and damage. During the heat of a mob battle this isn’t useful, but for a non-spellcasting single-boss, it can help a lot.
- Double-tapping the D-pad sideways dashes, though it’s hard to chain to run (there’s no run, sorry, that’s another big wart). You are also invincible during that dash, so use it to dodge things if there’s nothing to grab onto with the scarf.
- Boars are surprisingly hard to stun and juggle. Deer are the same and also a pain the ass, you will keep jumping into them just to get kicked, take a defensive approach with them. Cockatrices are dangerous, beware their downward strike.
- In general, if a battle is giving you trouble, seriously focus on defense. Don’t rush in, do some damage and get safe. Clear out mob trash. Or even better, smash mob trash into the boss. That often does way more damage than swinging your weapon. Also, constantly be using the raiment to grab and fly somewhere – you have iframes during that.
- Beware spikes. Especially at night or hidden in poison mist.
- If you’re taking too much damage in poison, get a higher level Poison Resistance on your food and come back another day.
- A general hint for attack pattern:
- Optionally scarf them to get behind so you can attack from behind
- Forward-weak to dash forwards and get a first hit in, which is often enough to soften them up for a juggle
- Up-weak to juggle and continually attack to keep the juggle
- Either finish the juggle to crash the enemy down into other enemies or hopefully a spike, OR just before the last hit switch to use a downward skill like the explosion one or, later, the thunder one
- Repeat. If you do one cycle with finishing the juggle, one with a downward skill, there will be enough time for your SP to refill, and you can start over again.
- Using this cycle is about the easiest way to tackle mobs and bosses that include mobs.
- The first menu option with Myrthe will select what to make for dinner. As you scroll through them, you can click a button to toggle between the bonuses you get and the materials that will be used by making that meal.
- There are tabs of foods, like main course and dessert, and you can have as many of each as you want. 5 main courses, or 5 desserts or whatever, so you don’t need to keep one of each.
- Before preparing the meals, first check the storeroom. The purpose of this is to see what’s about to go bad. 2 means you have a full day before it goes bad, 1 means it will go bad before the next meal if you don’t use it now.
- Anything that will go bad and won’t be used in the meal this time should be preserved. In the preservation menu, you can pickle and brine and smoke things. Many of these stack, so you have to make Malt first and then use Malt to pickle other things. Don’t go too nuts with vinegar or Malt, but do keep a small stock so that the recipes that use them appear. Don’t bother preserving rice, it can’t be used for much else and rice doesn’t go bad. (You do max out at 999 rice though, but you don’t have to worry about this until right before the end of the game)
- Take special note of the bonuses you get from meals. Make sure to get Natural Healing every time unless you plan to do no exploration that next day, otherwise you won’t get HP regen all day. Swift Healing is another good one, and Overstuffed makes the bonuses last a little longer.
- Other bonuses are situational. Night Owl will help if you plan to go out at night, and Poison Resistance is absolutely critical in some areas – literally you cannot beat the game without it at a couple points.
- You get new recipes by finding or buying them, and you can look at them in the Item menu.
Gathering and Material-Farming
When you get to order things from the capital, definitely get a few of everything. Ginger, Onions, Potatoes and Cucumber are perishable, so go easy, but they do get used in some good recipes.
You will definitely want some of the crafting materials there, they are used in most of the weapons and armor going forwards.
Also, many weapons and armor start needing rare materials. If you can’t seem to get them to drop, the reason is this. Some only drop from minibosses. Some only drop from enemy “groups” – so you have to kill all of them on a screen and get the whirl of amber effect to get the drop. Some only happen at night. And some are enemy group AND night-time only. For example Branching Flower, Metallic Sand, etc. Learn to clear out areas at night to farm.
Branching Flower in particular is used for a ton of things. Go to the Forest of Supplication, final area (Depths). At night only. Then walk backwards to the second to last area and clear out every enemy. There are 4 groups and thus 4 chances for a flower. On average, you’ll get 1 per stage clear, but you can get zero, and theoretically 4, though I only ever got as much as 3 once.
Or for Pheasant Feathers, for example, you have to kill the white cockatrice enemy in the second area of the Forest of Supplication (go to the third area and walk backwards). You can do it once per day and once per night.
Note that some items are REALLY hidden. There are false walls you can walk through. And there’s tons of areas you need the upward Swallow Strike to get to.
Challenge and Quest Hints
- Flip a turtle by using the Round Up raiment skill (definitely). Or use the thunder downstroke skill (I think, untested).
- The weaken/drain one is also using the draining raiment skill.
- The iron ore one in the early area is super-RNG. Just keep trying. I got it right before the end boss of the whole game and not before, grr.
- The ones where you have to “arm” something are either cooking effects or the effect of a scroll that’s armed to an item. For example Waterbourne is on an item, Poison Resistance is a food buff.
- Cooking something from Ventania for Myrthe… look in your scrolls in your item list for the list of recipes that count for this. One is Beer.
- Save your “Flakes”! There’s a recipe that’s 2 Medicine Base plus one Flake, and when you prepare that and consume it, it’s a permanent stat gain.
- The items you need to upgrade the final weapons are in the final area that you can’t return from… you’d think that’s useless, but you can make a clear game save and continue from before the final dungeon, and you keep the stuff you found there – that’s how you can farm that material, “Leaf of Creation”. However, you have to kill the endboss each time to “escape” (i.e. make a new clear save).
- “New Heights” is achieved by using the raiment on a bird on the final highest area to swing upwards, and then also using Swallow Strike upwards to go even higher.
- When the ground is corrupted, you need to put the “Bounty” items into fertilizer and dump it into your crops. Merely dumping it into the fertilizer and fertilizing is good enough, even during the winter. You can put as many as you want in at once, they all count. You’ll need to get 3 of each, but most of them are found in batches of 3. Four of them are guaranteed drops from bosses of the 4 corrupted areas.
All Rights Reserved by Sean Cusack (eruciform). Copyright 2020 by Sean Cusack. This guide is only to be used by GameFAQs and eruciform.com or by permission of Sean Cusack. Original post: https://eruciform.com/games/sakuna-of-rice-and-ruin/