Most games released these days are either AAA or indie titles, but if you are looking for something in between, then our Harvestella Review is meant for you. Developed by Live Wire and published by Square Enix, it is an RPG released for Switch and Steam.
It reminds me of a cross between Final Fantasy and Run Factory, and it mainly focuses on daily life farming simulation during a plague known as Quietus. And our review here will help you get to know more about this game and tell you if it’s worth your time or not.
Story And Setting
The setting of Harvestella is a world where the four seasons are controlled by four enormous crystals known as Seaslights. But recently, these crystals have begun to behave strangely, and a new season known as Quietus has emerged, also known as the season of death. The death dust that rains during this season kills anything living that comes into contact with it, and the locals blame its existence on creatures known as Omen.
Our protagonist is an amnesic who manages to survive the effects of the Quietus and wakes up one day on the outskirts of a town called Lethe. After waking up on the ground, the locals allow you to stay in one of the sheds in a particular part of the town and use the land to grow plants. You eventually become engrossed in looking into the problems affecting the town and become a member of the local community.
The plot is divided into chapters, and although the story’s pace does pick up occasionally, players will generally need to be very patient. The initial setting is interesting, and the narrative holds your attention for quite a while, but the story is a little off sometimes. There are times when the plot is very linear, and other times. Story beasts seem to have been chosen completely randomly.
Harvestella combines farming simulation and the combat JPRG genres without one of them outweighing the other. And although the combat itself is very simple and lacks depth, it is serviceable if your interest is purely in the farming aspect. Otherwise, it fails to be engaging or all that interesting.
Similar to how classes work in other RPGs, players can choose from 12 different jobs in this game, and these let you use special skills in combat. Every time a new party member joins, you gain access to new jobs, which range from traditional roles like FIghter and Mage, all the way to more unique classes like Mechanic and Pilgrim. During combat, characters can switch between up to three jobs that are currently active. Each job also has advantages of its own, such as being able to utilize specific magics or weapon types. And if you don’t level up the jobs equally, you’ll find yourself in battles with a character who is not as diversified as you would expect.
One thing to point out is that the game does not have a dodge mechanic, and the only way to defend yourself is to flee from danger. Additionally, certain classes all bust guarantee that you will exchange slashes with enemies in close-quarters combat which is not ideal for a title where you cannot dodge. The lengthy combat animations are also a letdown because they leave you vulnerable after striking.
Stamina is another element that constantly grabs your attention while playing. If both your stamina and stomach meters are empty, you won’t be able to swing a sword even if you are fully healthy. So you’ll frequently find yourself munching on berries and other edibles in a corner, even during boss fights to refill your stamina so you can resume fighting.
You’ll also travel across different regions with your party members, with each location having unique elements like crops, food dishes, quest chains, etc. There are many dungeons on the way that are well-designed and quite intuitive, and they all contain rare items and loot for you to use.
However, it’s unfortunate that the in-game clock will force you to return to your home just when you start getting into the fun sections of dungeons. During your adventure, new party members will join your party to accompany you in your investigation and combats, but in terms of actual cooperation, your members will just do their own things regardless of your actions.
The farming gameplay is also very basic, and it includes cooking, housing livestock, and a variety of crops that are dependent on the seasons. Each season lasts for thirty days in the calendar, and because time is of the essence and moves quickly, you must carefully prioritize your tasks. To get the most out of the farm, you’ll need to be diligent about things like watering the crops, sowing the seeds, harvesting, etc.
This game’s farming is just the same traditional loop that players have probably seen a dozen times. Plant seeds, water, harvest, pack harvest in the shipping box, sleep, and wake up the next day to get a pittance of money for a tonne of work. It is not controversial to say that farming in Harvestella is just a way of making money after investing several hours in it, but it serves no gameplay purposes apart from that. This is probably due to the lack of innovation and the game’s emphasis on combat rather than farming.
Visuals And Performance
While Square Enix did a decent job of making the game look attractive, there are a few noticeable flaws. When you look closer, it’s clear that the textures are low resolution and don’t do much to improve the game’s visual presentation.
Although Harvestella has calming background music, it is not sufficient on its own. There is no voice acting other than the grumpy sounds that characters make when they jump, attack, take damage, or speak briefly during interactions. No one speaks a single word throughout the entire narrative. The silent protagonist and the blatantly artificial-looking animations didn’t portray an emotionally engaging experience for someone like me who enjoys listening to their characters speak and interact with other NPCs.
In terms of performance, the game manages a stable enough performance. During my gameplay, I didn’t notice any kind of bugs, glitches, or FPS spikes, and to be honest, it would be extremely disappointing if a game as plain looking as this did have performance issues.
Harvestella attempts to deliver on both the role-playing gameplay and the farming sim front, but unfortunately, it never manages to deliver on either. The combat is extremely basic but has no depth, and the farming serves no real purpose apart from generating money.
If you are really desperate for a niche little game that will satisfy your JRPG cravings, then give Harvestella a try. But otherwise, there are a lot of better RPGs out in the market right now.
This has been our Harvestella Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.
- Pentiment Review
- Godlike Burger Review
- Sonic Frontiers Review
- Victoria 3 Review
- God Of War Ragnarok Review
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- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
Harvestella attempts to deliver on both the role-playing gameplay and the farming sim front, but unfortunately, it never manages to deliver on either.
- Intriguing Plot
- Calming Music
- No Voice Acting
- Barebones Combat Mechanics
- Farming Is Repetitive