If popular culture has taught us anything, it’s that villages are not necessarily places to be trusted. As Sergeant Howie found out to his cost in The Wicker Man, the small outlying areas can be dangerous places to visit. Thankfully no such fate awaits the player in Akimi Village, the latest title from Ninja Bee on the PlayStation Network.
The game begins with the player selecting from either a boy named Matthew or a girl called Norah, before finding themselves waking upon a floating island overseen by what appears to be a Raccoon with a Candle on its head (yeah, we don’t know why either…). It’s not apparent if Rohypnol was to blame for either of our protagonists being spirited away to this floating island, but at least neither of the characters appear to be suffering from any kind of *ahem* “interference�?…
Our Procyonidae friend charges the player with restoring balance and harmony to the populace by helping them gather raw materials, which in turn can be used to build farms, brickyards and the like. These initial chores attract the attention of little blue-skinned critters called Akimi, which can then be used to perform the chores that were initially carried out by the player’s character.
What follows is a gentle excursion into resource management as the player guides the Akimi around the island, doling out instructions, executing orders and generally bending our blue friends to their will. Whether or not this is some kind of allegory for the current welfare reforms sweeping across the United Kingdom, it’s hard to say. However it does seem to be in-keeping with that ideology, in so far as you’re getting people to work for no reward other than servicing a ruling elite. Or something like that.
The most obvious comparisons will be with the Keflings series on Xbox Live Arcade, and it’s certainly a valid one. The basic template is there, even down to the grid formations and the ability to give a swift boot up the backsides of the Akimi, just as you could with the aforementioned Keflings. Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be the same level of craft or engagement found in those games, as the controls aren’t quite as intuitive. While imitation is classed as the most sincere form of flattery, cribbing so strongly from these titles merely throws up comparisons to the Live Arcade releases – unfortunately Akimi Village doesn’t come out against them all that favorably, lacking the same zest of NinjaBee’s other, similar titles.
As a title for those looking to get started in the fine arts of resource management, Akimi Village is a good point to jump in. For those already acquainted with other similar titles that are already established on other platforms, it might be a tall order asking players to downgrade their experiences learned elsewhere in order to take on board this particular band of curious villagers.