Harvestella analysis, an interesting JRPG sprinkled with life simulation elements

There’s no denying that between classic reboots, sequels, remasters, and remakes, Square Enix as developer or publisher- do not forget the original productions. Either forspoken, The DioField Chronicle, Voice of Cards, Triangle Strategy either The Centennial Case: A Shijima Storythe editor covers a multitude of novelties that go beyond the essential final-fantasy Y dragon quest.

Harvestella is another of those new games and it does so by betting on life simulators with action role-playing, a type of game that is aimed at a larger audience than many players imagine -we refer to the sales of various sagas-. The truth is that this idea, well executed, can succeed; Y the result of Harvestella it has been much better than many could anticipate. Who knows if in the future we may see a Harvestella 2 that it rests on the base that has been created to turn it into another of the stable pillars within the publisher.

Rolling and planting lettuce

Of Harvestella we spoke to you last september, and surely many of those interested in the title have tried the first few hours with its eShop demo. It is inevitable to think of him as a kind of RuneFactory in a fantasy world plagued by the phenomena of the Quietud, a time when the crops disappear and the population must be confined to their homes due to the appearance of a deadly dust. This period appears in the transitions of the four seasons of the year, directed by four crystals, the lumicycles, and if until now people had taken it with resignation, the Stillness lasts longer and is becoming a serious problem.

Of course, we will not pay attention and ipso facto we will go to the lumicycles.

Our or our-protagonist wakes up with amnesia in one of these periods and to the surprise of the inhabitants who rescue us, has not suffered damage; from here on, the plot will present new mysteries and conflicts, very role-playing style because that is really the soul of Harvestella: an RPG with some farm mechanics. In this way, Square Enix -or to be precise, the developer Live Wire- tries to balance the adventure with the importance of taking care of our garden, one of the ways to obtain resources and improve the economy. The simulation is there but it is not the main theme in terms of argument or gameplaygives prominence to the adventure throughout its 50 hours of duration.

This roleplaying aspect action RPG to be more specific – it brings a clear benefit, and that is that the combat system is more polished than in the most direct competition. Weapons, accessories and above all, a system of jobs with skills to unlock, they make exploring forests and fields, or fighting, not a heavy process, but one of the positive points of the title. Nothing he does is overly new or of above-average quality either as an RPG or as a simulator, but It is the sum of these ingredients that makes it have something “special” that brings personality.

It's not the best combat we've seen in an ARPG, but it's
It’s not the best combat we’ve seen in an ARPG, but it is more fun than other action simulation games. You can see the glass half full or half empty.

Speaking purely of the gameplay in the role-playing component, we have cities with the different locations, characters and their collection requests basically, which at least reward information about the city or this inhabitant, and some nearby areas that act as labyrinthine dungeons, with stair-type shortcuts – to cut ground if, for example, we are defeated during the adventure and wish to return. In fact you will most likely need several game days to beat the maps and collect all the rewards. In addition, inside the dangerous fauna awaits us, which we liquidate with a hack n slash, help from teammates, and various abilities that can also damage enemies’ weaknesses. The classes don’t need much explanation – the mage is oriented to ranged attacks, others are melee oriented – and they make it easy to adapt on the fly.

The biggest drawback of the action is that there are hundreds of more complex, precise and fun ARPGs in this aspect, without going very far in the same publisher, the recent Star Ocean: The Divine Force. Yes, with the bosses something new is introduced in the combat that invites you to hit with specific elements, and the truth is that being simple combats in terms of gameplay, not necessarily in difficulty- they do not usually become heavy. In addition, a social system of the relationship between our character and his companions also implies benefits during combat, so In the end, each advance we make during the dungeons or outside of them does not mean wasted time.. The fighting and everyday life feed off each other.

The tasks on the farm are simple, but they make sense in progress and are not usually a heavy burden.
The tasks on the farm are simple, but they make sense in progress and are not usually a heavy burden.

Progress therefore consists of overcoming the missions given to us in history along a calendar that goes through the seasons, which has an effect on the orchard, and while we participate in classic role-playing assignments exploring dungeons, we must attend to the evolution of our harvest, the sale of surpluses, we are asked to obtain a quantity of materials to improve tools, etc. There’s a little pressure over time and those who played the demo will be pleased to read that the final game brings a number of community-requested changes, including longer days that allow us to do more during daylight hours, reducing the time it takes to switch classes during combat , balances in certain classes, reduction in load times, changes in the interface and other adjustments that improve the experience. However, limitations are part of the grace of management.

There is no problem with the simulation and it makes perfect sense as the game and the story are presented – but it is evident that taken as a farm game it falls a bit short. We have tools to plow the land, break the stones that bother us, water and different types of seeds that will take more or less to germinate and be ready for collection. It does not go beyond fulfilling as a mechanism to solve the objectives that are proposed to us. However, again we have to talk about the sum of the different parts, and overall many of these fringes of Harvestella they hide more.

Little by little I can
Little by little you will be able to obtain more resources and better tools that allow you to broaden your horizons.

a surprisingly beautiful world

You can not deny that Harvestella be preciousand waste production values ​​greater than Rune Factory 5 and any similar farm simulator. We’ve played it on Nintendo Switch and it shows that it squeezes Unreal Engine 4 into the system, which can sometimes have the negative effect of a slight lag in the control or slowdowns in the moments of more load, a bit low resolution and we could point out that the dungeons sometimes recycle a decoration too much or that the dialogue sequences are not very expressive, but the artistic direction in scenarios and character have convinced us.

the resolution
The resolution on Nintendo Switch can be improved, although the art compensates for this aspect.

The soundtrack is good and accompanies a game that, for many hours, is relaxing. Behind is Go Shiina, a Bandai Namco veteran who has participated in multiple Tekken, Ace Combat Y Tales ofin addition to animes as well known as Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and the movie MugenTrain. The pity is that voice work is minimal, which makes these sequences less interesting; obviously nobody demands voices for an entire RPG, but what less for the key moments of the narrative. The texts, as you can see in the images, are translated into Spanish.

Conclusions

Today there is a tendency to label any release that doesn’t aim high for “game of the year” awards as flop, bad, or forgettable. The truth is that Harvestella, like most of the year’s releases, more than meets what could be required while not standing out at all. In fact, depending on personal tastes and if the simulation is not all that we are looking for in this type of game, it may like it more than Rune Factory 5 and other veteran sagas. It is certainly not the JRPG of the year on Nintendo Switch or PC, but it has charm, strong art direction, and its playable loop is well suited to short gamessomething that many role players will surely appreciate.

We have carried out this analysis in its version of Nintendo Switch with a code that Plaion has provided us.