After weeks of tedious gameplay, I’m finally writing my review of Square Enix’s new farming simulator slash JRPG, Harvestella. And let me warn you in advance: if you enjoyed the game, you’re probably not going to like my review. But my goal isn’t to please you; it’s to provide my readers with my unfiltered opinion about games.
(The one saving grace of Harvestella is Brakka. I’d replay the game any day just for him ♡. )
In Harvestella, you play as a character who’s lost their memory and must traverse several worlds to try and save it (typical of JRPG plotlines). The game also features a quasi-romance feature where you can romance one of your teammates by completing multiple quests. And honestly, Square Enix’s latest release left me underwhelmed, unimpressed, and cursing that I bought the digital version because I could have returned a physical copy.
Overall Rating: 5/10
Console: Nintendo Switch
So let’s get into what I liked and disliked about Harvestella.
At first glance, Harvestella looks like a beautifully-designed game with stunning graphics and immersive gameplay. But don’t be fooled by the pretty exterior – beneath the surface lies a shallow, disappointing, and mediocre mess of a game that spent too much of its budget on certain in-game graphics and not enough money on everything else.
First off, the lack of voice acting is a major letdown. Despite having a beautiful soundtrack, the game barely has any voice acting. Occasionally, an NPC will say something, but you’re reading barrages of texts for the most part. And for nearly $60, I expected a lot more. If I wanted to read, I’d play one of my otome games, and even my otome games have incredible voice acting!
Second, most of the in-game graphics looked like images you’d expect in a concept pitch, not a final product. For example, while some of the food CGs were beautiful, the game’s background items were blurry and angular…objects. I couldn’t play the game for too long at a time because, at some point, my eyes began to hurt.
And finally, the battle system requires a steep learning curve if Harvestella is your first real-time battle game. Now I understand that some people might disagree with me and say I shouldn’t pick up a battle game then, but I’d counter and say that since the match marketed itself as a farming simulator, a good portion of consumers may be new to this format of battling too. Also, the revival system is insane and punishes new players. I remember desperately selling crops to make a profit, only to lose it all because a monster killed me. If I wanted to play something punishing, I’d play a rogue-like game.
Of course, I need to mention the farming simulator aspect of the game, and frankly, it felt like a prettier version of Stardew Valley. Sure there are side quests you can accomplish to unlock certain features, but they felt more like afterthoughts rather than intentional farming game design.
But it gets even better! Not only is Harvestella severely lacking in the gameplay department, but it’s also overpriced. Square Enix has tried to pass this mediocre mess off as a premium experience, but it’s not worth the cost. For $59.99 plus tax, you can buy several other games that’ll deliver in terms of voice acting, graphics, storyline, art, and more.
So if the game is so dreadful, why did I finish the game, you might ask? My answer is simple. Brakka. If Harvestella were an otome game, he would be my ultimate crush. His design is gorgeous, his storyline is heartbreakingly beautiful, and I loved his battle style. I’m a Brakka stan. But let me clarify – I only stuck with the game because of Brakka, not because of the gameplay itself.
In short, Harvestella is a forgettable game, and if I had the physical copy, I’d probably use it as a coaster. So don’t waste your hard-earned cash on this disappointment – plenty of better games are out there. And if you want it, wait for the holiday sales! I’d hate for someone to spend their hard-earned money on a game with worse graphics than some mobile games. And before anybody gets too upset about my review, remember that it’s just a game, and part of the fun in gaming is critiquing gameplay.
Let me know your thoughts! Are you still going to buy Harvestella, or did you already buy it?