Review: Harvestella – A failed attempt or a winning formula? | EarthGamer

“The day will come when you must choose between this world and the one that existed before. As difficult as it is, and as impossible as the situation may seem at times…, do not turn your back on it.” It is with those enigmatic and solemn words that we enter the world of Harvestella, the new bet Square Enix that is not satisfied with being an ordinary farm simulator, and that instead offers us a hodgepodge of genres in which there are not only plants and animals, but also magic, unicorns, aliens, time travel, and even a climatic season that you won’t find in another farming game: The Stillness, also called the season of death, because nobody survives it. And the best of all this mix? It really works!

From the beginning of the adventure they leave you something clear: This is a rich and extensive world, full of many mysteries to be solved, with the latent sense of an impending evil that seems to be just around the corner. But the game does not forget what it is in essence, so right off the bat we are introduced to our new farm, and given free rein to tend to it and do what we want with it, all at our own pace; here we say when it’s time to continue saving the world, thank you!

Taking care of a farm has never been so relaxing.

Anyone who has played farming simulators knows how arduous and sometimes even overwhelming they can be, like the legendary Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness, that will have left more than one traumatized. However, when it comes to tending our farm in Harvestellacompared to others like Harvest Moon either stardew valleythe game mechanics are quite simple. We only need three tools: the hoe, the hammer and the watering can, and we don’t have to fill the latter constantly, it never runs out of water.

There is little variety of plants that we can grow, and the animals that we can have are limited to the most basic: One that produces milk, another that produces eggs, and one to use for transportation. Fishing is an activity that we can unlock with a few grids (in-game currency), after which we don’t need to buy a rod or anything like that; It should be noted that there is not a great diversity of fish to catch either.

Source: Square Enix

Then there is the space we have available for our plants and animals. Even though the world of Harvestella It comprises several cities, the only place we can use for our farm is the one they give us at the beginning, Ladera del Ojo de Ave, which is, however, a charming hill that contains more than one level of exploration, with its own lagoon to fish and specific points to mine and scavenge.

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Let’s not forget that our character also eats and sleeps

Of course, whether to tend to our farm, fish, explore or battle, we must always keep in mind that our protagonist has two bars, one of life and the other of energy.but he stays conscious even if the second runs out, he just won’t be able to perform any actions until the bar is restored, and on the other hand, this one restores itself if we make sure not to leave the poor man’s stomach completely empty.

Added to all this is the relaxed speed at which the game’s internal clock moves, unlike the one in the demo, and which ensures that we have plenty of time to do what we want throughout the day without complications .

In short, as a farm simulator on its own it’s so basic that it might seem incomplete, but it’s a necessary evil when you consider that it’s a very busy game, with more than one gameplay and story that could be overwhelming if you don’t are kept in moderation.

Harvestella has very beautiful settings
Source: Square Enix

Harvestella works as the ideal hybrid between a farming simulator and an adventure RPG, but it doesn’t get too complicated with either aspect.: It’s an enjoyable experience, it won’t give you headaches even when battling enemies, which mostly boils down to using a single button.

What it will give you is plenty of places to explore, in a style that resembles Etrian Odyssey with its mini-events scattered throughout the map, and especially powerful enemies that you must avoid at all costs if you are not at the level, or if you do not have the indicated “job”, because yes, we have a job system in the style of the first deliveries of final-fantasywith fabulous wardrobe changes included.

Harvestella presents us with a fantastic audiovisual experience

Y, At this point, it highlights another element that is out of the norm in the farm genre: character design. Harvestella shows us a variety of characters with very striking and memorable appearances, in a style that It doesn’t let us forget that this is a Square Enix game above all else, and that it comes from the hand of the artist Yasushi Hasegawa, best known for his work on the mobile game War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius.

Square Enix's new game is a grabja simulator
Source: Square Enix.

But it’s not just the characters that catch your attention, because if this world has something, it’s an incredible visual section, colorful and bright, that hooks you in each scene and that makes you want to explore each city, each possible corner in search of another great panorama; all accompanied by a wonderful soundtrack created by Go Shiina, the same composer in charge of a large number of installments of the Tales of and God Eater franchises, and, beyond video games, anime such as Demon Slayer.

We can be friends… but don’t overdo it!

But beyond tending the farm, exploring places or saving the world, we can also socialize; Throughout the game, and as we reach other cities, we meet a wide variety of peculiar characters, not all of them human, with whom we can interact and discover their stories. It should be noted that in this game there is no marriage function, as is standard in farm simulators; something that generates uncertainty when taking into account the option that the game gives us to choose the gender and the pronouns of our protagonistand that ends up leaving her without a cause.

Source: Square Enix

Harvestella It has a little of everything but nothing too much, an interesting and complex story, a wide world to explore, diverse characters to meet, and two perfectly mixed game genresall this accompanied by a very striking visual section and a soundtrack that puts you on the frequency that each scene demands.

Whether you’re an adventurer looking to enter the world of farming simulators for the first time, or a farmer looking to test the waters of battle and exploration, Harvestella is the game for you.

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We played Harvestella on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by a Square Enix representative in our region