Harvestella Review: IN THE MIDDLE OF FACING DOWN A SIREN IN HER UNDERWATER LAIR, A FEELING OF DREAD RUSHED OVER ME: Did I really forget to water the tomatoes?
Before I could return to the combat, the siren destroyed me, and when I awoke the following morning at Lethe Village, I saw that all of my tomatoes had dried up.
You simply can’t win all the time.
Harvestella stands out from the swarm of games competing to fill a void in the agricultural simulation genre by incorporating Square Enix’s distinctive storytelling and gameplay. The overall effect is a unique JRPG that skillfully incorporates agricultural sim aspects, albeit not equally.
Harvestella succeeds despite not being very innovative thanks to a streamlined experience complemented by a nostalgic universe full of endearing characters. Sometimes, all you need to do is be good enough.
Harvestella Hack And Slash
With amnesia, the player awakens on Harvestella‘s planet during Quietus, a seasonal event in which everything outside perishes. You are offered a place to live on an abandoned farm after being transported to the peaceful village of Lethe.
Discovering who you are and guiding your friends toward an understanding of Quietus and its potential solutions is the main narrative thrust of Harvestella.
In Harvestella, you can design your own character. Players can create non-binary characters, which is a first for Square Enix. Although this is a positive addition, the universe of Harvestella itself lacks diversity. Character creation has extremely few customization possibilities, but Harvestella isn’t about being who you are. It involves taking on a very particular function.
Harvestella makes extensive use of the conventions of a JRPG. It resembles a long-forgotten Final Fantasy game with its enormous elemental crystals, a world map that looks like a diorama, and a job system. Particularly, Harvestella is remarkably similar to Final Fantasy V.
Extensive dungeons are one of the primary challenges that players will encounter on their adventure. These dungeons are multi-floor labyrinths that can take several in-game days to complete, necessitating that you focus all of your free time on advancement. Every dungeon has a boss encounter that serves as its grand finale.
These boss battles have AOE marks to avoid and phases to remember, just as in Final Fantasy XIV. There are ten combat jobs available to the player, three of which can be equipped and switched between while in a dungeon.
These vocations are diverse and include both traditional members of the genre like the Monk (referred to as Assault Savant) and Dragoon (referred to as Sky Lancer) as well as uncommon careers like the Woglinde class, a song-based mage.
Combat in these occupations is rather straightforward, despite the range of fighting methods offered. In a fight, there are only ever two buttons to press: a standard attack that can be pressed repeatedly and a special attack that must charge up. The challenges in Harvestella are never too difficult for the player to overcome.
However, in Harvestella, fighting is only one aspect of the narrative.
Harvestella Cottage Core
Harvestella may be marketed as the Final Fantasy agricultural simulator in an elevator pitch. While correct, this does not tell the entire tale. Any game that is just a farming simulator, such as Stardew Valley, will never be replaced by Harvestella. In actuality, the game is probably 30% farming simulator and 70% JRPG.
This is not to argue that you should completely disregard farming. You will require a consistent income flow, and the easiest method to achieve that is to collect crops.
This will allow you to improve weaponry and purchase necessary supplies. As is customary in agricultural sims, you can upgrade the crop space you have access to, add animal quarters, and partially renovate your home. But just like combat, farming has streamlined and simpler mechanics.
Developing a workflow to improve crop development and farm management will take a lot of real-world and in-game hours due to the intricacy of a game like Stardew Valley. Unlike Harvestella, no. Most improvements made after regular business hours won’t significantly change the character of your home.
Harvestella does not have to be Stardew Valley, though. By providing the player with both a conventional JRPG and an adequate farming simulator, they can select how they want to spend their time. It has built-in burnout prevention. It took me five in-game days to complete the game’s main dungeon.
I gave up on my attempt in the middle because I got tired of the continual fighting and took a day off to clean up my farm and go fishing. I felt refreshed after my brief break and prepared to finish the dungeon.
While Harvestella’s absence of more intricate combat or farming features could give the impression that it is a jack of all trades and master of none, I discovered that the two aspects of the game work well together.
The majority of my time with Harvestella has been spent in brief, one-hour play sessions on the couch. I used Harvestella as a way to unwind after a hectic season of grandiose prestige titles.
Beyond dungeons and farming, the world of Harvestella is a shockingly realistic parody of life in this fantastical realm. There are many side-quests to complete, many of which won’t drag on for too long and contain some really lovely dialogue.
It feels more authentic because characters are shown to have ties all over the world. Parts of these stories are frequently told. I would be interested to see a familiar face and find out what new adventure they had found themselves in when I unlocked a new town on the map, which will also offer up new side-quests. The fact that you can pursue a romance with a select few characters doesn’t hurt either.
Harvestella is successful because it is competent enough at everything it incorporates into its overall design. This is Square Enix’s most approachable JRPG yet because of how easy the combat and farming sim mechanics are to understand. one that embraces the comforts of warm gaming and encourages participants to spend time outdoors without asking them to understand intricate rules.
The ideal way to play Harvestella is in handheld mode on a Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck while curled up on the couch. Even while it doesn’t deliver the best farming sim or JRPG, it is the only game that offers both experiences simultaneously, making it a standout entry in a crowded genre and a breath of fresh air.