In lesser hands, Harvestella's balance of JRPG and farming sim could've ended up as a bland mishmash. Instead, Live Wire and Square Enix have created a solid blend. Its effective gameplay loop and engaging story push you down surprising paths that are fun to travel.
Mixing Final Fantasy with Harvest Moon feels like it should result in something more stimulating than this awkward mishmash, whose disparate elements all prove disappointingly underdeveloped.
Harvestella’s systems feed together in a way that forces you to engage with nearly everything it offers, whether you want to or not. But those slice-of-life activities are mundane and get in the way of letting you enjoy the RPG elements on your own terms. Maximizing a day’s schedule is sometimes rewarding, but the sluggish pacing makes it tough to stay engaged for the long haul. Harvestella forces you to do a whole lot to complete comparatively little. At 70-80 hours, it’s one of the biggest chores I’ve played in some time. That’s unfortunate because the combat, story, and characters are decent enough that, in a more traditional RPG framework, they’d shine brighter. As it stands, squeezing this fruit isn’t always worth its small amount of juice.
Solid and definitely have an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
Harvestella starts from a very interesting proposal, combining a story in the style of Final Fantasy with mechanics of games like Stardew Valley, but fails to give the chest by not delving into any of its elements. Add technical defects and we have the clear case of an AA game that with a little more time and budget could be AAA.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
A good mix between life-sim and GdR, Harvestella seems to be a game addressed to the less experienced players, rather than the expert ones.
Review in Italian | Read full review
Harvestella is a solid life simulation RPG, which has its farming system and intuitive mechanics as its biggest draws. While the presence of beautiful visuals, a flawless soundtrack, fluid overall mechanics, and a charismatic set of characters and narrative manages to set the game apart as one of the most charming, although not without its flaws, RPG experiences of the year.
If you can overlook these issues, and are a fan of stuff like Rune Factory, Stardew Valley or even the slept-on Level 5 title Fantasy Life – the latter a definite kindred spirit in terms of its JRPG tropes, action, farming and jobs – then you will get a lot out of Harvestella.
An engrossing JRPG that uses the framing of a life sim to ground its twisty and overblown story.
Harvestella stumbles before it finds a decent pace, with the biggest drawbacks being the slow start and temperamental graphics. If you can get past these shortcomings, there’s plenty to be enjoyed here and a hefty completion time to keep you busy. While it offers an enjoyable blend of RPG meets life sim, there isn’t enough substance on either side to take the game from good to great.
Harvestella is a fresh coat of paint on a familiar wall. It's a good wall, solid foundation, level, able to withstand the elements, and damn good paint. But it's still a wall. If you want to play the newest, most innovative farm sim to date, it's not going to be Harvestella. If you want to play the best version of the farm sim for the modern era, look no further. While it does some odd things, like invisible walls to areas you can clearly see, or not being able to jump on a rock, in the end, those don't matter. Farming is fun, dungeon crawling is fun. The visuals and soundtrack help make Harvestella one of the best possible versions of the farm sim.
Harvestella isn’t trying to innovate anything. It’s a cozy throwback JRPG that stands apart by having a heavier emphasis on life sim elements. But it’s a story driven action JRG at its core, not a farming sim. Harvest Moon fans will probably be disappointed by its lack of farming mechanic depth, but fans of classic JRPGs who don’t normally love life sim games might really love it. Anyone who really enjoyed Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, or the multi-gameplay-style of the ActRaiser games should really take note.
Harvestella may have unsightly character models and rote combat, but it offers a satisfying blend of farming sim and action RPG that scratches the itches it's supposed to.
Harvestella is a rather blurry but calming and eventful RPG farming simulator that fails to capture the beauty in its two primary genres. Its gameplay is busy, often distracting, and ultimately leaves plenty to be desired. While this game is definitely enjoyable to play, it just doesn’t quite hit the mark, nor does it bring the exciting unique style it so adamantly promised.
Our test of Harvestella took place on Nintendo Switch, but the JRPG is also available on PC. With a playful soul constantly poised between Action RPG and life-simulator, the JRPG alternates real-time clashes, cultivation of the fields and socialization activities with its traveling companions.
Review in Italian | Read full review
If you're looking for an enjoyable title that won't require you to bend over backwards on its difficulty or mechanics, then Harvestella is the perfect candidate!
Review in French | Read full review
Overall, I would definitely recommend Harvestella to fans of games such as Rune Factory or JRPGs like those in the Tales series. I would not necessarily recommend it to any fan of farming games, however. Definitely pick this game up if you are ready to focus primarily on questing and not farming. If you are used to more laid-back experiences like Stardew Valley or Story of Seasons, this game could serve as a nice introduction to JRPG elements.
Harvestella is a game full of immersive environments, beautiful music, and an engaging and meaningful narrative for both its world and main characters, which is enough to redeem the game's more mediocre elements. There are several areas of Harvestella, like it farming, animations, and social simulation elements that would have greatly benefited from more depth and care put into them, but despite these flaws the game manages to be incredibly addictive. It's easier to notice these issues when comparing Harvestella to games like Rune Factory, but standing on its own Harvestella is a fairly strong title that's worth players' time. It may not be perfect, but it's very easy for players to fall into a "just one more day" loop in Harvestella nonetheless as they uncover the mysteries of its universe.
Harvestella could be described as one of the best 'good' games you'll play this year. Its performance issues and rather simplistic mechanics hold it back from being great, but its quest design, dungeon exploration, and successful fusion of very distinct gameplay mechanics make it quite compelling all the same. That launch day $60 price tag feels a little high for what's on offer here, but this is absolutely a title that we'd recommend farm sim fans buy when the inevitable sales start to crop up. Harvestella may not be a challenger to Stardew Valley's crown, but it does enough to distinguish itself as a worthwhile experience anyway.
Harvestella is a basic JRPG and Farming Sim that just never seems to stick the landing on any of its mechanics or narrative. It starts out fun and then eventually becomes a chore with unskippable cutscenes.