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Laura Shigihara wants to make you cry with Rakuen

May 10, 2017 1 min read

Generally speaking, hospitals are places that people want to avoid if they can. There's no denying the necessity of these buildings, but it's unsettling if you really stop and think about how much disease and death occurs inside them every day. The discomfort everyone experiences when they walk through the doors makes them the perfect setting for horror games, but you don't often see an exploration of the space in other genres. 

Rakuen, out today, is unusual in that it utilizes a hospital setting as a backdrop for a very different kind of game. It's clearly a personal story for the developer and publisher, Laura Shigihara, best known as the voice of the Sunflower in Plants Vs. Zombies and for her vocal work in games like To the Moon and Cosmic Star Heroine. Rakuen is relentlessly cute, but there's always a hidden edge, like a stiletto concealed inside a Hello Kittydoll. It's like nothing I've ever played before, and I'm still trying to decide whether it's genuinely heartrending or just maudlin and manipulative.

Laura Shigihara wants to make you cry with Rakuen screenshot

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