At this year’s Tokyo Game Show, we got to play an early build of the upcoming action RPG Sand Land. A brand new title from beloved Manga artist Akira Toriyama, Sand Land is an adaptation of his work from the early 2000s. Toriyama is known for his work on Dragonball and Chrono Trigger.
While our demo was brief, we were given an early look into how the game is expected to be presented when it is finished. Sand Land was only announced this summer. It is likely that it could be a 2025 title as no release year has been announced.
Sand Land Gameplay Overview
In Sand Land you will play as Beelzebub, the son of the devil. The driving story element here is to reclaim resources from a greedy king who has deprived the local civilization of water. Given how beloved the manga is, as well as its writer. It is easy to put faith in a narrative that will surely be enjoyable. I have never read or heard about this franchise until today, and in my short time with the game, I did fall in love with the characters.
The first thing you will notice is the comfortably familiar art style, and I believe it is a great idea to market this game around that. Visually it has translated into a hand-drawn cell-shaded art style. The desert area and light anime colors remind me of something like Borderlands. Yet the visual fidelity has surpassed that series for sure.
To complement the art style there is a Japanese rock soundtrack that canvases alternative, techno, and industrial. From the small slice that I played, the score seems like it could be something special. Overall on the art side, there are a ton of small details that combine together for a fantastic environment.
How Does Sand Land Play?
Sand Land is a third-person action RPG with a significant element of car combat and traversal. Hopping out of the car and engaging in a battle feels great. The combat has a simple quick attack, a heavy attack, then a special attack, system. Special attacks cost points, which you must build up. The larger the attack gets, the more it will remind you of the high fantasy attacks from Dragonball. The character details and attack explosions add this complementary contrast color of light pinks and blues to the brown sandy landscape.
Finally, we can not wait to find out more about Sand Land. The game has not been in development for much longer than two years. With that we expect it could be some time before a full retail release. Today, the official site lists the game as a cross-gen title for Xbox and PlayStation but, I would not hold publisher Bandai Namco to that.