Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin from Edelweiss and Xseed Games was originally announced for PC and PS4 but was later confirmed for Nintendo’s hybrid console as well. With gameplay showcased on PC and Nintendo Switch over the time leading to release, I’ve been wondering how it would play across platforms. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been playing Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin on both PS4 Pro and Nintendo Switch (including Nintendo Switch Lite) and here’s what you need to know.

PS4 Pro

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin PS4 vs Nintendo Switch graphics

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is a gorgeous game borrowing from Japanese mythology and it absolutely nails the aesthetic it goes for. Edelweiss’ farming simulator and side scrolling action hybrid game is more ambitious than I expected visually. 

The farming simulation portion of the game takes place in a hub where you have free camera movement across your farm and while exploring the various facilities around it. The combat and exploration portion of the game takes place on a 2D plane with 3D enemies and characters. There are a lot of great effects during attacks in combat and the farming aspect of the game is very detailed both visually and mechanically.

On PS4 Pro, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is perfect visually barring some shadows on characters. It looks like there’s some flickering on the shadows on certain characters during cut-scenes that can get distracting. Barring that, I have no complaints with the PS4 Pro version.

Nintendo Switch

On Nintendo Switch, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin has lower quality textures and shadows as the most noticeable changes. The overall image quality is also lower than PS4 Pro. The art style holds up well both docked and handheld on Switch but this game is definitely pushing the hardware with the amount of battery it uses during gameplay. 

For graphics, PS4 Pro gets the edge for sure here. On Nintendo Switch, expect shimmering, shadow flickering in some parts, and a drop in visual fidelity as compared to PS4 Pro. It isn’t a blurry mess like say Xenoblade Chronicles 2 but it is noticeable when switching between consoles.

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin PS4 vs Nintendo Switch frame rate

Ever since Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin was confirmed for Nintendo Switch, I was a bit concerned about the performance. Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is a gorgeous game with a lot of post processing effects across its lush environments. The side-scrolling combat and exploration portions need to be responsive to feel good and having played the game on Nintendo Switch both docked and portable in addition to PS4 Pro, I came away impressed with the Switch version despite the performance issues.

Nintendo Switch

On PS4 Pro, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin targets 60fps across the board and it holds that target well. Be it in the free camera portions of the farm and hub areas or the side-scrolling action focussed portions. Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is a joy to play on PS4 Pro. On Nintendo Switch, the hub area targets 30fps and it mostly feels fine despite drops considering the gameplay here. The camera movement feels a bit too slow here. During combat and exploration, the frame rate target is 60fps and performance on Switch varies. It never drops too much but don’t expect a locked 60fps or even close to that on Nintendo Switch. 

The game is responsive but there are frame pacing issues or minor stutter in many parts of the 2D side-scrolling segments in my testing on both a regular launch Switch and a Switch Lite. A game like Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is perfect for portable play so I hope future patches can improve the performance further because it can drop a lot when there are many enemies on screen and you are using skills that have a lot of visual feedback and interactions with the environments.

One aspect worth highlighting is how despite the lower performance, the UI on Nintendo Switch is super snappy and crisp just like the PS4 Pro at all times. 

PS4 Pro

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin PS4 vs Nintendo Switch what to buy

Given the graphics and performance differences, the PS4 Pro version of Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is an easy recommendation without any caveats to potential players. If you want to play on a big screen and not portable, don’t even bother with the Nintendo Switch version thanks to the performance on PS4 Pro. If you want to play portable, there’s no other option but be prepared for an unstable performance and a drop in visual fidelity. I’ve been playing Sakuna more on Nintendo Switch than PS4 Pro despite those issues.  

Given the visuals and scope of Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, I’m more than impressed with the Nintendo Switch release because of how good it can look and how great it feels in the locations where combat is smooth. Hopefully these issues can be ironed out in future updates because Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is perfect for Nintendo’s hybrid system. As of now, if you want the best console experience, you need to get Sakuna on PS4 Pro.

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is out beginning today on PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.