Harvestella needs to be a jack of two trades, however winds up a grasp of none. Half action-RPG, half farming/life simulation, this mix can typically be pleasurable, however the two types conflict most of the time. The result’s a sluggish grind extra prone to repel followers of every style than carry them collectively.
As an amnesiac warrior, you awaken on the outskirts of a quaint village, unaware of your origin and objective. 4 highly effective, monolithic crystals known as Seaslight govern the environmental stability of the picturesque continent, specifically its seasons. Nonetheless, a lethal fifth season known as Quietus happens between every of the 4 regular seasons, wiping out crops and endangering people. This unusual normalcy turns into unstable when the Seaslight start behaving irregularly, seemingly triggered by the mysterious arrival of Aria, a younger scientist from the distant future. Such as you, Aria is clueless about how she acquired right here, so that you companion as much as uncover your respective origins whereas additionally combating a world disaster. Oh, and constructing a pleasant farm too.
To its credit score, the plot is participating in its absurdity. In typical JRPG style, the thriller progressively turns into extra grandiose and unhinged because it unfolds. Whereas a lot of it’s foolish, I discovered little of it boring. One revelation made me chortle out loud at how weird it’s, and I can’t assist however respect Harvestella’s willingness to take some wild turns whereas sprinkling a number of poignant moments. A big band of likable celebration members, similar to a smooth-talking inventor, an A.I.-powered robotic, and a speaking unicorn, joins the first duo, however you largely spend time with them one-on-one. As such, you don’t usually see everybody hang around collectively, and after they do, the shortage of group chemistry is noticeable and disappointing. It’s like inviting a bunch of excellent pals to hang around who know you, however not one another.
Harvestella promotes two types of play however seems like an action-RPG first and a farming sport second. Gameplay includes working by means of bland dungeons and hacking aside foes, amassing crafting supplies and substances alongside the best way. A strong job system provides number of playstyles, however I solely gravitated towards a number of of them. My favorites embrace the nimble, combo-centric Shadow Walker and the dancing floating blades of the Pilgrim class. Different jobs, just like the Mechanic and singing-focused Woglinde, merely aren’t enjoyable to make use of, and the sport not often inspired me to experiment as soon as I settled on my favorites. Even with courses and assaults I loved, the fight is middling, and managers are both pushovers or infuriatingly low cost.
Farming followers received’t discover a lot distinctive about Harvestella. You plant crops on tilled land that may be expanded in dimension a number of occasions, course of meals utilizing machines, however you solely rear two animal species. The farm modifications with the seasons, which shift each 30 days, and sure meals can solely develop throughout particular occasions of the 12 months. Quietus, which solely lasts a day, eradicates crops, however I discovered it simple to plan round, making it much less threatening than doubtless supposed.
Like fight, farming solely feels satisfactory, however is essential to success. Promoting crops serves as one of many few methods to earn cash. You additionally want a full pantry to whip up quite a lot of dishes. Consuming retains your stomach full, which in flip fuels your stamina bar. This meter governs actions similar to farming, sprinting, and even executing particular assaults. Consuming additionally replenishes well being, usually in massive quantities relying on the dish. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to’t eat should you’re full, which turns into a maddening hindrance throughout robust battles. Since conventional well being potions don’t exist, you’ll be making all your restoration gadgets. Doing so takes time which feeds into Harvestella’s greatest nuisance: the clock.
Harvestella operates on an in-game day/evening cycle that advances in 10-minute increments quicker than you count on. Evening begins at 6 p.m., and your character turns into sleepy at 10, slowing their stamina restoration. Thus, returning residence to crash in your mattress – and solely your mattress as, annoyingly, you’ll be able to’t sleep on the sport’s a number of inns – is significant. Staying out previous midnight causes your hero to break down from exhaustion, warping them again residence. Falling to exhaustion or dying comes on the oppressively steep worth of paying an more and more exorbitant physician’s charge whereas clicking by means of the identical unskippable cutscene. It’s a loathsome penalty that’s too strict for its personal good.
Since you need to drop every thing to return residence every evening, progress turns into a massively sluggish grind. Dungeon crawling consists of inching ahead earlier than you need to cease and resume the subsequent day. Merely reaching a location on the world map burns valuable minutes till quicker technique of journey open up. Even after discovering shortcuts and fast-travel checkpoints, you continue to rerun sections of a dungeon repeatedly till you attain uncharted territory. Doing so inevitably drains your meals provide, so you need to put aside time to prepare dinner beforehand. Making dishes eats a considerable chunk of the day, limiting the time to journey. Working out of cooking substances means rising extra of them, as solely a handful of staples may be bought. Meaning spending at the least a number of days ready for crops to replenish, then creating sufficient meals to enterprise again right into a dungeon, and repeating the cycle yet again.
This framework successfully makes it unattainable to progress the story for very lengthy. There’s usually a lot work that must be achieved beforehand that I used to be usually fortunate to have sufficient daylight to pursue the missions I needed. This annoyed me most when the plot hit an fascinating flip, and I needed to see what got here subsequent. It’s an terrible type of gating, as progress is bottlenecked regardless of how highly effective or well-equipped I used to be. In some circumstances, it might probably take days of labor and prep to finish a single dungeon ground.
Once I didn’t have sufficient time within the day to finish a narrative mission, Harvestella admirably gives loads to do outdoors of the principle narrative and farming. A ton of multi-chapter sidequests await, although most of them contain studying prolonged conversations, finishing a primary fight encounter, or working tedious errands. Regardless of a number of fascinating tales, these missions aren’t nice, however the sport makes finishing them worthwhile, for higher or worse. Aspect missions supply tons of money, very important recipes, blueprints, and seeds. To my chagrin, finishing as many as potential turned a essential evil. I most popular the celebration bonding missions, wherein I discovered about my teammates’ troubles by serving to them by means of distinctive storylines. These quests had been at the least extra fascinating and rewarded me with enhanced bodily perks, similar to larger power, protection, and so forth., virtually making them required enjoying.
Although it runs properly, Harvestella additionally suffers from graphical glitches that make it really feel unstable at occasions. Particularly, a wierd bug the place half of the display often flickered a strong coloration, whether or not docked or in handheld mode. The sport additionally doesn’t look nice on the massive display resulting from its low-resolution textures and fashions.
Harvestella’s methods feed collectively in a approach that forces you to have interaction with almost every thing it provides, whether or not you wish to or not. However these slice-of-life actions are mundane and get in the best way of letting you benefit from the RPG parts by yourself phrases. Maximizing a day’s schedule is typically rewarding, however the sluggish pacing makes it robust to remain engaged for the lengthy haul. Harvestella forces you to do an entire lot to finish comparatively little. At 70-80 hours, it’s one of many greatest chores I’ve performed in a while. That’s unlucky as a result of the fight, story, and characters are first rate sufficient that, in a extra conventional RPG framework, they’d shine brighter. Because it stands, squeezing this fruit isn’t at all times value its small quantity of juice.