‘Sand Land’ first impressions: An Akira Toriyama manga, dropped at life

Written by Jeff Lampkin

Bandai Namco is aware of what to do when it turns anime or manga sequence into video video games. Revealed at Summer time Recreation Fest final week, Sand Land is the most recent addition, with an enormous punchy poster on the present flooring in Los Angeles, conveniently proper subsequent to a longtime hitmaker for the writer, its Naruto (now Boruto) Final Storm combating sequence.

Sand Land, although? It’s possible you’ll by no means have heard of it, however don’t let that put you off, as a result of it’s a 2000s comedian penned by legendary manga artist, Akira Toriyama. Sure, Dragon Ball creator, Akira Toriyama. The person who created the character designs for Chrono Set off, Blue Dragon and the Dragon Quest sequence. And Toriyama’s creations have by no means regarded higher.

Sand Land is an action-adventure recreation the place you’ll play because the rambunctious prince of the Satan, capital ‘d’, Beelzebub, as he explores a desert-themed world the place water is a uncommon and expensive useful resource. Demons and people coexist on this world, with the human Sheriff Rao and the demon Thief accompanying Beelzebub on his journey to unravel the water disaster.

At SGF 2023 final week, I performed a 15-minute demo that showcased just a few elements of the sport, together with melee fight, exploration and two autos: a tank and, er, a golf cart. The demo kicked off with the trio fleeing a desert dragon, and after having steered the cart away from relentless assaults, the gang ultimately needed to forged off their provides of water to flee.

Apparently, it is a beat-for-beat replication of how Sand Land performs out within the manga, and you’ll anticipate the sport to observe the identical storyline beats. That’s typically irritating for video games the place you already know the story. For instance, I do know who dies in Dragon Ball’s Frieza saga, so it’s not a shock when it occurs in one of many a number of Dragon Ball video video games. With Sand Land, nevertheless, many people can be listening to the story for the primary time.

Throughout my demo, the sport cut up into two play kinds. You’ll discover the desert, outposts, and cities together with your autos but in addition set out on foot when you must brawl with somebody or work together with issues appropriately. Bandai Namco has teased you could customise autos inside the recreation, including completely different weaponry and parts to enhance efficiency or supply tactical benefits. I beloved utilizing the armor-piercing rounds. Positive, that they had a low hearth price, however they obliterated nearly something. Automobile controls are easy sufficient however range relying on the sort and whether or not they characteristic weapons or not. Don’t overlook: my first Sand Land car was a golf cart. There was no artillery possibility.

Sand Land

Bandai Namco

When not rolling round in a tank (which might be repaired if it takes harm), Beelzebub himself can go toe-to-toe with enemies in melee fight. He has a mixture of weak assaults, dodge rolls and tremendous assaults that can cost up as you battle enemies. If it sounds a bit… easy, nicely, it’s. Bandai Namco isn’t reinventing the wheel right here. Extra strikes and assist characters may assist deepen the fight sections, so I’ll maintain judgment for now, but it surely’s additionally price remembering that this recreation is probably going geared toward avid gamers youthful than I. You’ll solely ever management Beelzebub himself, however each of his aforementioned companions will ultimately be capable of help in fights, though this wasn’t obvious in my demo.

The spotlight of this early demo was confronting a gang of bandits. They gave off a light Ginew Pressure vibe, which I wasn’t mad about. Every wielded completely different weapons and attacked in another way, providing a pleasant alternative to check out little satan’s combos, sending enemies excessive with a punch, solely to leap up and slam them again to the bottom.

Making certain even these secondary characters are attention-grabbing is proof that, hopefully, the builders are making certain Toriyama’s characters, and his offbeat humor and appeal, make it onto consoles.

Whereas there are some questionable lip-sync moments (at this level, all of the voiceovers are Japanese), this technology of consoles and PCs supply greater than sufficient energy to copy Toriyama’s detailed drawings. I gawped on the tank throughout my playthrough simply because it regarded so good. Think about how lengthy I’d stare at a tank I custom-made myself.

Sand Land will launch on PS5, Xbox Collection X/S and PC.

Atone for all the information from Summer time Recreation Fest proper right here!

About the author

Jeff Lampkin

Jeff Lampkin was the first writer to have joined He has since then inculcated very effective writing and reviewing culture at GamePolar which rivals have found impossible to imitate. His approach has been to work on the basics while the whole world was focusing on the superstructures.