Harvestella: “Do not push your judgement on me before it is time.”

Harvestella is Square Enix’s fresh offering, developed by Live Wire and whaouh… Is it a real treat! They’re an awesome company that appears to be treading comfortable ground when it comes to game design, but in the modern age that itself is fairly brave where each developer is thirsting so desperately to break the mould that they end up destroying their own work in the process. 

The Short: Grindy, Casual and engaging experience. The cost is a bit extravagant for what it is at $60, but I still don’t know just how many hours I’ve put in… I just know it’s a lot of hours though and I have enjoyed each one. I also think it’s a good game for kids to play as much as it is for adults which is a huge plus (and it would make a cool, albeit addictive gift). Not to mention It’ll occasionally tug on those heartstrings and present a few philosophical dilemmas. [skip to The Guide]

Harvestella is a farming game (literally watering plants and waiting for them to grow) however the objective is also to complete RPG styled core quest elements like the Final Fantasy series. I would classify the game as a casual game since there is no need to “game the game” to finish the game.

The player character is limited to some degree by time (the hours in an in-game day) and stamina – most productive actions take a little stamina, and time passes in “10 minute intervals” that aren’t really ten minutes long (that would be exhausting!). It is also noteworthy to mention that the growing of crops relies on seasons within the game, but you can worry about this later since the game is quite forgiving in how it introduces you to these mechanics. 

The narrative is structured fairly linearly with two or three options with differing outcomes. I don’t personally mind this, since it feels you’re not missing out too much on a singular play through and that it respects your time enough to allow you to commit to one save rather than ten plus saves [am looking at you, Dragon Age: Origins], this game is rather forgiving .

I will state, however, that the characters in this are in many ways two dimensional, but I don’t think this hurts the game. It might be slightly frustrating to those who recognise these archetypes to see these story progressions happen but there were clear limitations in the scope of the project and I believe that the development time went to where it was needed. Rather than a few more options, we can select the characters we resonate with and ignore the ones with whom we do not. That said, Unicorn’s story truly brings me anguish, and as so often is the case… comedy and tragedy are rarely far apart. 

As a bit of a fan, the music appears mainly inspired from other Square Enix releases and typical RPG fare, but there are hints of Kei Wakakusa and Noriyuki Asakura in there too. But that aside, let’s talk about my frustrations with the game.

My frustrations with the game are simple, there is no breast slider for character creation, so, realistically, there are not too many options on who to have in the party, realistically we must weigh Dianthus against the Shadow Assassin girl, and mhm. Goth chick beats toaster… even if I were a robosexual. Also some things are simply annoying to find, try travelling to a waypoint and moving back into the previous zone if you can’t find the quest location. The loft is a massive waste of potential too.

Overwhelmingly the game works well. There are low-few bugs, the game is consistent. Half of the cast may fall under the tsundere trap and the main story will keep you entertained throughout.

Buy it now if you like the sound of it, buy it on sale if you aren’t enthused, move along if you don’t care, since it’s all good at the end of the day. Attached below is a small guide to point you in the right direction if you’re struggling, though I recommend you avoid guides if you can help it.

You spawn, and are given prime real estate that is bigger and better than anyone else in the game. Some things are genuinely hard to find and this is annoying more than it is grindy. A sci-fi tale of time travel, mystery, fantasy and magic with a little tragedy sprinkled in on top,

This is Harvestella.

The Guide:

  • I recommend you are always a little stronger for each boss fight than you need to be, especially if you don’t like repeating cutscenes. I had to watch one cutscene over and over and over again. A general rule is that if you can carve through the FEAR monsters, you’re probably more than OK to fight the bosses.
  • Check your mailbox sooner rather than later, people can mail you some items that need to be taken from the mail especially that creepy mayor.
  • Forget fishing for early money. Fishing isn’t a money making skill. Sure, if you spend weeks and weeks fishing, you’re going to make a moderate amount of money which will make your life easier, it is definitely an option that you can take– but personally, I believe goals like getting the four fairies take precedence since they make you more efficient and efficiency reduces the time to perform actions .
  • Stellar wheat feeds your chickens, grass feeds your cows. Getting farms early is good too, you want to be loving those chickens and sheep as much as possible.
  • Most things sell for 20 money, anything that does sell for 20 money is not worth farming with the sole intent to sell unless you’re doing some crazy challenge run.