Can You Play SAND LAND Without Knowing Anything About the Manga?

Can You Play SAND LAND Without Knowing Anything About the Manga?

By  William Brett - 30th Apr 2024

 Non-manga readers unite!

Can You Play SAND LAND Without Knowing Anything About the Manga?

Recently, I got the chance to play through Bandai Namco's latest title based on Akira Toriyama's manga SAND LAND! My main worry going into the game was that I wouldn't be able to understand the context of the narrative or connect as well to the characters because I never read it. Not only was I not aware that he had other work aside from Dragon Ball, but I'm also not a big fan of anime or manga in general! Still, I was intrigued, so I dived in. Truth be told, I went in so blindly that I barely understood the main premise of the story — I just wanted to learn about how the developer and publisher had brought Akira Toriyama's lesser-known work to the videogame industry.

As someone who tends to miss information quite easily, I didn't find myself struggling to retain anything! The game's pacing is very nice, allowing me to really connect to their characters as I unravelled their backstories. Despite booting it up and having no idea who Beelzebub was or what the Legendary Spring implied, I've understood everything and even taken a real liking to the characters! While I can't vouch for how appropriately their personalities have been translated from their other available media — such as the manga and Disney+'s adaptation — I felt like they were adequately fleshed out, with rich interactions and a feeling of a more profound connection between one another. 

I don't feel like I know the manga more after playing the game, except for the characters who I can now recognise, but I don't know if they interact or even have the same roles. As someone who didn't play SAND LAND coming from the perspective of a fan or even a knowledgeable party, I genuinely found a lot of enjoyment in the lighthearted themes and silly interactions! The simple yet entertaining gameplay fit well with the characters, though the setting and stories sometimes got darker than I expected. 

Another thing that didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment was my lack of knowledge of anime and manga in general; while I have seen some here and there, I can’t count more than a handful of them, and most of them being quite short or mainstream. That was enough for me to get the comedy and undertones with their facial expressions, however!

If you like what you see in SAND LAND, there's definitely no harm in dipping your toes into it! It might be a great way for manga and anime lovers to find another cast of characters to follow. Who knows, maybe this is my debut into the manga and anime spheres, too.


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