Nnooo will be publishing Legend of Kusakari, Librage’s grass cutting Nintendo 3DS game, outside of Japan. It’s often described as The Legend of Zelda, if The Legend of Zelda focused Link cutting grass. That’s absolutely true, but it’s more about accuracy and strategy.
In Legend of Kusakari, players control Kusakari. He’s a man with a scythe and a plan. Your goal is to help him clear grass in all 50 levels of the standard adventure and cut grass for as long as possible in the endless mode. This isn’t too difficult a feat, as the task isn’t exactly taxing. You press B for a more controlled swipe, which can take out two patches of grass directly in front of Kusakari or press A for a special spin attack to take out four surrounding patches. Both cut estimations take into account proper positioning for optimal grass cutting at the lowest level. Cutting grass levels the scythe up, sharpening it, but breaking a combo and cutting open air too often will cause the level to lower. If the scythe is at a higher level, he’s able to take out more grass.
However, Kusakari isn’t the healthiest gentleman. He tends to get exhausted rather quickly. In the first 20 or so levels, of the 50 in-game, this isn’t a problem. They can be completed in a manner of seconds. Later, you come to rely upon patches of blue grass, as they’ll restore his health. Since activity and running into people or enemies who happen to be in the field can diminish health, you have to think about where the blue grass patches are and when the proper time to cut each one is.
You can also hold down the shoulder buttons to dash, but at the expense of precision. Kusakari gets sloppy and floaty when you run. This is intentional, as it can work to a player’s advantage. As he drifts, you can cut grass. This allows you to take out huge swaths at once with a level 2 or 3 scythe. You’ll even hear an unseen crowd roar when he cuts six patches of grass or more at once. (My best so far is eight patches at once in the endless mode.)
The Legend of Kusakari may look light and simple, since the objective is to clear a screen of grass, but it takes a lot of thought. The game keeps track of your time in the 50 levels, assigning scores for efficient cutting that takes care to avoid fighting couples, soldiers facing enemies, and creatures roaming the field. In the earliest levels, you want to be done in 20 seconds or less for the best grade, which isn’t too troubling. But once you pass level 11, you start getting to areas with multiple levels, and Kusakari can very easily fall off of one to the other if you’re dashing.
It’s surprisingly thoughtful. Each level can’t be played just once. Even the first few require multiple playthroughs to find tricks. You want Kusakari to always be cutting, and it’s satisfying when you work out the timing to avoid incidental people roaming around and manage to chain cuts from one patch to the next. Especially when you start encountering faster enemies, different kinds of terrain, and patches of grass that must be cut multiple times to clear.
My favorite part, however, is The Legend of Kusakari’s Endless Mode. It’s like bubble wrap. The sound of the grass as it falls under the scythe with a slash. The satisfaction that comes from a cleared area of the grid. Seeing new growth, which gives you an excuse to dash back over and clear it again. It’s intoxicating.
It’s also the perfect opportunity to test your skills. The longer you survive, the thicker the grass grows and faster the slimes move in the aisles. You have to adapt. You learn to temper Kusakari’s dashes. You realize the importance of consulting the map, as it will show the blue grass patches when they randomly appear. Yet, you also learn not to over-rely on the lower screen and it’s information, since you have to keep an eye on Kusakari’s immediate environment to survive.
There’s an intensity and urgency in The Legend of Kusakari that’s found in puzzle games like Perfection. You need to be exact for the best results. It’s also like the boss rush mode found in RPGs, because you know your best time is never good enough. Using one cutting technique, instead of the other, could have shaved seconds off of your time. It’s a surprisingly addictive and satisfying Nintendo eShop exclusive.
The Legend of Kusakari release dates for North America and Europe have yet to be announced. The Nintendo 3DS game is immediately available in Japan.