Top Critic Average
Developer: Maple Powered Games
Publisher: Merge Games
Genres: Adventure, RPG
I do think that Maple Powered Games is on to something here with Monster Harvest. Its mishmash of systems accomplishes, for the most part, what they were trying to do – this is undeniable. Just be forewarned that under nearly every rock, and within the leaves of all those trees, there will sit a bug waiting to suck the entertainment out of it. And what you get out of Monster Harvest will vary depending on how willing you are to put up with that. Still, there’s a lot to enjoy here, and if you’re a fan of Stardew Valley or Pokemon, you owe it to yourself to check this one out.
Monster Harvest is retro in how it looks, which is great, but also in how it plays, which isn't as great. The gameplay doesn't feel addictive enough for a farming simulator, and the monster battle portion feels tacked on. I had fun with the game, but I never felt drawn into the world.
Perhaps the biggest downside is that, as of right now, Monster Harvest isn't particularly long for a farming sim game. I think I finished it in just over twenty hours or so. To be fair, I was grinding so I could write this review, but by the time I finished the first year in-game, I had already reached my maximum XP cap and unlocked the bunker. In the first week of Year Two I had fully upgraded all of my tools and had enough materials (just short on cash) to finish upgrading all of my farm buildings. In week two I beat the SlimeCo boss. If the developer doesn't have plans to make events a real part of the game or expand the story and dungeons, this unique experience just isn't worth a full price investment.
Monster Harvest is a good example of why great ideas also need to be followed up with great execution. There's nothing wrong with the idea of a farm sim with monster-catching elements, but Monster Harvest does a rough job of convincing you of that. The monster RPG content is so poorly done that it might as well have not been implemented at all, as it clearly took focus away from the decent farm sim portion of the gameplay. Amazingly, the farm sim gameplay still redeems this enough that it's not a complete dumpster fire, but we'd only give this the barest of recommendations to anybody looking for another entry in the genre. Take our word for it, you're much better off just starting over with a new farm in Stardew Valley, or picking up Rune Factory 4.
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