Aka is a cozy, open-world farming sim that takes place in a post-war world as the inhabitants of four islands try to forget painful memories, restore their lands, and find joy in the smallest places. You play as the titular Aka, a cute red panda who arrives on Pine Tree Island looking for a fresh start. But finding your inner peace will require helping others find their own.
As you progress through the game’s nonlinear narrative, you’ll meet adorable villagers, animals in need of food and shelter, and ghosts from your past who are trapped on each island. With every quest you complete, you’ll earn their friendship, and you’ll hear stories about the war that changed their lives.
When you sail onto Pine Tree Island, your old friend Thom — a tall fellow who resembles an ox — greets you at the docks. After speaking with him, you learn he invited you to start a new life because he believes in two simple things: you need the island, and the island needs you.
Thom is a strong, reliable friend. He only wants you to find peace and happiness, and he’ll stick around to see that you do so. After setting you up in an empty house underneath his home, you’ll be able to ask him about gardening fundamentals, and you can tell him about familiar ghosts you’ve noticed appearing at night around the island.
With oversized glasses and a love of knowledge, Sibylline runs a library where you can find blueprints for items you’ll want to craft for your garden as well as a backpack recipe to increase your inventory. In other games, you may expect to pay a fee to get these blueprints, but Sibylline offers them for free.
Sibylline believes in the power of books above all things, and she’s content with the company of words. Although leaving the library is an option, books already allow Sibylline to instantly travel anywhere in the world without having to step outside her door.
Along your journey, you’ll stumble into a shop with games, cards, and a wide-eyed mouse who introduces himself as Cortus, the youngest inventor of all time — in the village, at least. Cortus comes from a family of inventors, but unfortunately those inventions were misused in the war. To avoid this tragedy from happening again, Cortus has dedicated his craft to making games.
You can challenge the confident mouse to a game of cards or try out the marble maze prototype, Cortus’ prized invention. Interacting with the maze triggers a minigame where you can guide a marble through wooden pathways, adjusting your speed and direction to avoid holes along the way.
When you meet the queen bee, Beeatrix, she can already sense that you’ve put the war behind you, and she hopes your past does not haunt you still. Like others on the island, she tells you that the war destroyed the surrounding lands, but you could help the bees by expanding your garden.
If you agree to help, Beeatrix will give you tulip seeds to plant, as they are the first flowers to grow after a long winter. As you continue to help the island, you can also return to Beeatrix later to get more flower seeds, and she’ll encourage you to continue your efforts.
At first, Xen is a spooky incorporeal voice you hear through the trees, but once you travel through a path hidden behind a fence, you’ll come to a quiet alcove with a tree at its center. There you’ll meet a pink owl-like animal who has strong opinions about nature and war.
Xen claims to be the voice of the forest, and he’s wary of your sudden appearance on the island. He’ll remind you that you must “change from within” before you can change the world. As you clear away traps, dead trees, and fishnets, Xen’s opinion of you will be the thing that changes, but his assertive personality will stay the same.
Gaagi is a ghost you can find on Palm Tree Island. To hear his story, you’ll have to beat him at a game of cards. If you win, he’ll retell his memories of the war, which prompts a cutscene where you can see him separated from his friend, Misao, as he scouted ahead to check if there was danger nearby.
After listening to his story, you’ll remember that Gaagi was once your friend as well, and he’ll ask you a few questions before passing on peacefully. However, in his place, a pink fireball floats at the table, which you can challenge to a card game once again.
At night on Pine Tree Island, you can travel down to the stone structure near the dragon cave, and you’ll notice a small space enclosed with prison bars and a dark figure trapped on the inside. This is the ghost of Lenno.
After finding a key to free the ghost, Lenno explains that he was a prisoner of the enemy during the war. He was forgotten in his cage, and he remembers that he saw you — Aka — pass by. But you didn’t see or help him before he perished. However, now that you’ve freed him, apologized, and worked through your guilt, Lenno can finally find his peace.
Ari, a small black cat, waits alone between a lake and fish pond. When you first talk to Ari, the little cat will begin sneezing and coughing. You’ll then receive a new quest, which requires you to come back with a medicine potion.
Ari is hesitant to accept your help any time you arrive with something new, whether it be a potion, sandwich, or shelter. Eventually, Ari explains that they always believed that they had to fend for themselves, but after your selfless acts, they learned that it’s okay to trust others as well — a good reminder for those who often have trouble asking for help.
On Bamboo Island, there is a tombstone you can approach at night to meet Tekoa. Helping this ghost will send you on a quest to find a pink flower called a rhododendron, something you remember from your childhood, as well as a bamboo candle.
After completing these quests, you’ll suddenly remember who Tekoa is — your mother. She admits that the following quests were only given because she wanted to spend more time with her child before leaving this world. It’s a confession full of love and grief. Aka and Tekoa embrace, holding onto their good memories for another moment before Tekoa disappears.
1 Oh well
Meeting Naya is unlike any other character or ghost in the game. When you pick up a jar from the storage inside your house, you’ll see a cutscene of Aka cradling Naya who is dying. She tries to lighten the mood with laughter, but also requests that you take her to the top of Mount Kanak on Maple Tree Island, her final resting place.
After scattering the ashes on the snowy peak, Naya’s ghost will appear. She thanks you for bringing her to the place she always wanted to be before saying goodbye. This final act is a bittersweet, heartfelt moment that embodies many themes of the game, such as finding inner peace and balancing sad feelings with good memories.
Next: Aka: Beginner Tips