There is no doubt that squareenix, still has to offer beyond the final fantasy, between remakes and numbered. In June of this year, at the Nintendo Direct, it was announced Harvestella for the Nintendo hybrid. At first glance, it seemed to be a farming simulator with hints of action RPG.
Developed by Live Wire Inc., With Harvestella they offer us one more title than Farm Simulator, an Action RPG with more or less lite farming and farm management mechanics. With an intriguing story, one of those that take hours to start and a very elaborate gameplay for what the game appears to be.
Cycles of seasons and time travel
To begin with, Harvestella begins slowly in its approach, all so that the player understands in which world this adventure unfolds. It has an intriguing story with some of the familiar recurring themes that anime lovers will have seen many times before. Starting with the most common cliché of many games, we are a mute protagonist who does not remember who he is.
There is a phenomenon called Stillness, manifesting every change of season and deadly affecting everything within its reach. The locals blame this phenomenon on beings they call Omens. However, the Stillness grabs the protagonist in the middle of a forest and miraculously nothing happens to him, other than the loss of memory.
Thus begins a story, as I said intriguing, in which time travel is discussed, a race frowned upon by society and aristocratic horses. Underneath that, we have a deep plot in which we must learn from others, know how to forgive, not take away appearances and other issues that are not always addressed.
However, the interactions between characters were addressed with short sentences in the conversations. The protagonist does not have a voice, and those who do only say phrases such as a greeting or a member of our team informing us of the imminent danger. This takes away a lot of the personality a game should have.
Action with time to cultivate
First of all, we must create our character that can be male or female and does not have a deep avatar creation system. At the beginning, we are taught how to farm, like many farm simulators, it starts with plowing the land, then planting seeds, pouring water on them, repeating the next day and waiting for the crops to sprout. Then you can sell what you have harvested to have money, and buy objects, better tools and extensions for your house.
I must say that the farm component is not the law motive from Harvestella. Of course, it is very useful in matters such as feeding our protagonist, raising levels, creating new tools, etc. The action component is where the most effort was put into creating the game, and we will notice it by the mechanics that we will handle.
The game allows us to engage in combat in real time with the use of melee weapons. The combat system is deeper than other games of the farm and action genre, since we can make use of special abilities and we have a job system very interesting. In addition, you can visit towns like any other RPG, talk to NPCs, buy new equipment, complete side quests and go through intricate dungeons.
However, we have the time factor, where each season lasts 30 days and each day passes in a matter of minutes. Minutes go by as we move from one city to another, carrying out complex activities and this will play against us many times, because we will feel that time literally flies by.
depth in combat
The battle system covers several aspects that give the game a lot of depth. We already mentioned jobs, which change certain gameplay mechanics. Each job has a skill tree that we will develop with Job Points or PT. We can only carry three jobs at a time, and when switching from one to another we must wait for a cooldown time.
Another detail is that for each task and action a toolbar is required. stamina which decreases over time. This bar can be filled by feeding or resting in our home. If it is completely emptied, we will fall to the ground and be taken to our bed, so we must always be aware that it does not happen.
About the dungeons we must bear in mind that these are very extensive and in a single day we will not be able to complete them. However, we will create shortcuts along the way so that in a second lap we reach the end faster.
Also, we will have boss fights at the end of each dungeon. Unlike normal enemies, these have mechanics to defeat them, such as filling a stun bar to avoid a special attack. They are not a walk in the park and we must go to the farm to be up to the task.
The graphic section of Harvestella has a very nice artistic design, but due to the nature of the Nintendo Switch (where it was tested), the result falls somewhat short. The game suffers from some issues like blurry textures, some areas of the game look dark and it drops below 30fps in docked mode. In portable mode it runs much better.
The soundtrack pulls more for quiet themes, although that changes in moments of action. The music is one of the best in the title and we will have very relaxing pieces. About the voice acting, I must say that the voices are scarce, although it comes with texts translated into Spanish.
Harvestella is an RPG action game with hints of farm management that some people will like and others indifferent. However, it is better than most that have done the same because of its depth in its combat mechanics. As a farm simulator, it offers just enough to fit into this genre. It has a deep story, although something already seen in other productions. Aesthetically it’s a nice game, but it’s clear that with the Unreal Engine on Switch, not much can be done.
Note: This review was done on Nintendo Switch and the code was provided thanks to Square Enix.