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Harvestella Review


Developer: Live Wire
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: Switch (Reviewed), PC
Release Date: Available Now
Price: $59.99 USD – Available Here $84.95 AUD – Available Here


When it comes to farming life sims there are certain series that immediately spring to mind that have been around for decades and when you combine them with fantasy action, there are even more that have combined RPG elements with farming to relatively great success. In recent years many new entries in this once small genre have appeared and now it is time for Square Enix to take a crack at things with Harvestella. Offering a new take on the fantasy farming RPG genre, is Harvestella worth checking out for fans of the genre?


The world of Harvestella is ruled over by four giant crystals that are called “Seaslights” that control the passing of the seasons and, in recent years, have introduced a new dangerous element into the world. Every time that one season comes to an end and before the next one begins, an event known as “Quietus” occurs and kills everything that is caught outside. On one such occasion players find themselves wandering outside during this day of death and falling ill as a result. They awaken with complete amnesia and are helped by the local village and offered a small house on the outskirts of town where players will begin their journey in finding out just what happened to them and the many mysteries of the world beginning with who the stranger is that crash landed inside a crystalline chunk with a futuristic interior.

Although Harvestella may feature an incredibly generic opening and, unfortunately, does take some time to get rolling, once the story does start building up speed players will find that it has perhaps some of the best storytelling found in the genre. By avoiding the simple trope of being given a farm through inheritance and dropping things there, Harvestella is able to make use of massive amounts of worldbuilding that plays heavily into the various twists and turns that occur throughout the core storyline. In fact, things can often take a far darker tone than one would expect in a game from this genre though that is a bit of a given thanks to the fact that, even as a game with farming in it, Harvestella prompts players to save the world. 

Although the game may lack a core set of villagers that players will interact with every day, it makes up for it by offering a more extensive offering similar to what one may expect from a full RPG. As players continue through the game they will travel to multiple towns with each one having a unique set of characters, items to buy, and dungeons to explore. Many of these characters are simple in nature outside of named characters that play a larger role in the story, or as main assistants in a town, or even as party members that will fight alongside the player but that doesn’t mean that they are all one-note villagers. Side-quests in Harvestella often have a simplistic completion requirement such as hunting certain enemies or delivering a set number of items but the story that goes along with most of these side-quests goes a step beyond what one would usually expect. Many of these side-quests even feature continuing storylines that will progress as players complete them, making for some interesting developments.

The various party members that players will be able to bring along with them also come with eventual side-quests that reveal more about their personalities as well as their backstories. It is worth noting that while players can raise their “closeness” levels with party members, unlocking various buffs at the same time, it is not handled the usual way romances are presented in games such as these nor is there any form of real marriage beyond having a chosen partner move in with the player. Named non-party NPCs are especially given plenty of room for growth as well as some great interactions with the player. In fact, a certain unicorn may be one of the best characters in the entire game.


With Harvestella dropping players onto their farm and tasking them with uncovering the mysteries of the world all while trying to prevent its destruction it only makes sense that it tries to find some balance between its farming and action RPG elements. Farming in the game is fairly standard with four seasons lasting thirty days each and players always needing to keep an eye on the clock as time passes through the day. Every action, be it swinging a hoe or a sword takes stamina in some form though players can eat food or drink juice to restore it as well as some health though the game has given players a small limitation of food consumption by having a “fullness” meter that will deplete over time. This works as both a way to passively regain stamina as well as a limitation on how far players can push themselves in a dangerous dungeon as they cannot heal continuously as a result.

As one would expect, players will start with a small plot of land littered with rocks that they must turn into a thriving field by tilling soil, planting seeds, and watering them every day before they are ready for harvest, rinsing and repeating as often as players want to either use their produce as ingredients for dishes, requests, or simply to sell as is. Eventually players will be able to obtain various livestock that they can raise for various things such as milk and eggs as long as they are properly cared for. Unfortunately, it must be said that while the farming mechanics are quite solid in Harvestella, they don’t really stand out in any exceptional way and raising crops always feels simple rather than a fleshed out mechanic compared to other farming games. There is a nice variety to the amount of crops players can raise but not only are many rarely worth it outside of completing certain objectives or tasks but the actual process of improving the farm feels limited thanks to rewards being incredibly specific and offering no way to actually focus on one thing that players may want to improve.

On the other side of things, players will find themselves traveling through fields and dungeons filled with enemies and places to gain various materials. Dungeons in Harvestella are rather massive affairs with a labyrinthine design that fills out a map as players progress through it. Most dungeons are so large that players will need to take multiple days to conquer one even if they are properly equipped as the title offers numerous ways to create shortcuts through a dungeon making return trips easier. Dungeons can also contain special FEAR enemies that are massive foes that are far stronger than anything else in the area, serving as a dangerous obstacle that players will need to avoid the first time they encounter each one, only returning far later and much stronger before even trying to take one down.

Combat takes place in real time and sees the player and their party take part in battles against foes as they are encountered in a field. Each enemy has certain weaknesses that players can target thanks to them having the ability to equip three jobs at a time and swap them on the fly to unleash powerful skills to put down an enemy. The player’s party will act on their own during these fights and it is partially possible to build a party that best fits your playstyle and favorite job, though the classes in the game are not quite balanced the best and often combat is simply too basic to make the most out of what is on offer outside of boss battles. For example, the starting warrior class allows players to take the fight to opponents fairly quickly and can quickly seem to outpace classes that should be stronger but due to their slower nature often don’t feel as rewarding to play as. This is especially true in the case of the Mage class that, while powerful and capable of targeting foes with weakness exploiting spells that attack from a distance, take too long when battling in a party. It is also worth noting that while some character classes eventually gain some defensive abilities, the lack of a dedicated block or dodge for every class is rather shocking.

Visuals & Audio

The Square Enix pedigree shines in Harvestella‘s presentation as the art style chosen for the world is absolutely gorgeous. The areas that players travel through are nicely detailed and there is a great fantasy feeling to the world all heightened by the great designs of the monsters that players face off against in a wide variety of dungeons and other locations. While most NPCs are not given character portraits and instead have simple looking 3D models, those that do have character portraits are extensively detailed and given a wide range of expressions and designs to work with. It is a bit unfortunate however that the Switch does appear to limit the game’s graphical fidelity as most parts of the world and 3D models are a bit fuzzy looking at best and the game does suffer from some stuttering during heavy action in fights.

It is worth noting that there is a bit of voice work in Harvestella but it happens only during exploration which is an odd and incredibly limiting choice. The soundtrack on the other hand is quite impressive as it offers a wide range of musical tracks that fit perfectly for the array of tones and areas that players travel through. This includes some great battle themes as well as relaxing tracks that work great when tilling soil on the farm and feeding your Cluffowls.


Harvestella feels like a solid first entry for a company not entirely familiar with the farming/action RPG genre mix. The title offers perhaps some exceptional storytelling once things finally get going and has some absolutely wonderful characters to interact with but both its farming mechanics are a bit too simple for those who prefer that side of things. Even then, while the combat is more interesting and offers some strategic elements, especially when it comes to diving into Harvestella’s massive dungeons, it too has a number of poorly thought out elements that stop it from really standing out. As such, Harvestella does its best to create an enticing world for players to get lost in all while offering simpler than expected gameplay elements.

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Harvestella tells an enthralling tale filled with gorgeous designs and interesting characters but it's simple gameplay mechanics hold it back from truly shining.
Travis Bruno
Travis Bruno
After playing games since a young age and getting into anime a bit later on its been time to write about a little bit of everything.
<i>Harvestella</i> tells an enthralling tale filled with gorgeous designs and interesting characters but it's simple gameplay mechanics hold it back from truly shining.Harvestella Review