Review – Sand Land

'Water' You Waiting For?

Overview

Developer BANDAI
Publisher BANDAI
Genre ARPG
Platforms PC, (reviewed) PS4\5, XBOX Series
Release Date April 26, 2024

I don’t like sand…

And I’m not just saying that to get an easy reference. Most sand-themed games and desert levels are boring. I didn’t dislike all of them though. Jak 3, and Prince of Persia are fun games to me, because the devs captured my imagination. 

What about you? Write in the comments below what desert or sand games are your favorite!

Sand Land from BANDAI is an action RPG that has managed to quench my thirst for adventure despite a horrible demo experience. Allow me to explain in this review.

Content

Spirituality 

Players control the Dark Prince Beezlebub, son of Lucifer, and ruler over the demon race. This is of course ‘Japanese’ demons, where they’re more tricksters than biblical fallen angels. He draws upon the power of darkness (at night), but he is kind and caring, more than some humans (an intentional juxtaposition to the human antagonist). 

Violence

Beezlebub fights militia, scavengers, and wild creatures with the use of hand to hand combat, and mechs. The mechs vary in design but all usually contain some form of automatic fire, or something ballistic. There’s no blood, or guts, and everything is cartoony.

Language

The word s*** appears in the game.

Review

In a post-apocalyptic world, water has become scarce. Humans and demons alike are struggling to survive, meanwhile the king and his military impose supremacy over the poor people of Sand Land. One day, a local sheriff named Rao approaches the demons to seek help in finding the Legendary Spring, to help everyone. After Beezlebub asks his dad if it’s okay to help, he and his wise old friend Thief accompany Rao to bring water back.

My experience playing Sand Land has been a thrill ride of moment-to-moment action, character development, story, and gameplay. This comes as a surprise, because the demo was the exact opposite. To those who didn’t try it, the Sand Land demo placed players in the middle of a large map, and gave no direction. No markers, no prompt, and nothing to really find. I wasn’t impressed and I really wasn’t looking forward to the full game. 

Fortunately, I think I understand why. It’s because the game is so tight in its presentation, that there is just nowhere that can it can make a short snippet demo without spoiling something. It may also be that Sand Land is an older manga, so everyone knew what to expect. Still, it left my mouth dry.

best boi

Sand Land gives you everything to play with one after another, until you’re left with an arsenal. You start with melee skills and party skills, eventually getting vehicles. Tanks, motorbikes, and other specialized vehicles offer a variety of ways to travel and fight. The desert is a large open space, with unique portions that require the right ride. Don’t be like me and try to use the fat robot with no jump to cross pitch black holes.

The characters have very tiny skill trees, but there’s a lot of customization with the vehicles. From engines, to weapons to modification chips, players can put the best stats together for some serious wasteland mayhem.

There’s times in the game where you sneak around various locales for different objectives. They’re really easy moments that don’t last long, and thus don’t break the motion of the game to me. In fact a switch from the pace of travel and fighting was nice. It just seems weird that the sneak option is available outside these moments, and you don’t need it for anything. 

There’s also a small city-(re)building part of the game which ties all the side quests together for a big payoff. The relevant PCs are persuaded to come back to a certain city, and as it grows, more shops and functions get added. 

This kind of action RPG is my jam, and I’m glad the demo did not truly deter me. Sand Land is a great anime game that has a variety of gameplay and a great story. I’m recommending it to all who ask.

The Bottom Line

 

Sand Land is a great anime game, a good ARPG, and an excellent story.

 

9

Johnathan Floyd

Writer, Editor, President, and overall complete goofball.

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