Mixing two completely different genres often results in great games.
Persona is one of the best examples, as there’s nothing quite as relaxing as coming back from an intense dungeon crawling session to hang out with your familiars and hone your social skills.
If you get it right, the tone shift will keep you from getting bored and keep you hooked for longer.
That brings us to the newly released Harvestella for Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam, which blends a story-driven action RPG with a relaxing farming sim.
It’s a concept I was immediately hooked on as I’m a huge fan of both things – I have as many hours in Stardew Valley as I have in Xenoblade Chronicles so bringing them together sounds perfect.
The problem with doing two things at the same time, however, is that you have to find a way to balance the two in order to succeed, which Harvestella can’t quite do.
The problem is that unless you’re determined to focus mostly on the farming side of the game, the RPG side of things will completely overwhelm things, as it’s by far the deeper part.
There’s nothing wrong with the farming mechanics, but it feels like it just ticks the basics.
You have a variety of crops that require varying amounts of care, and as you progress you can process these crops in new ways to slowly make more money and grow your farming empire.
You can buy animals, craft machines, expand your land – everything you would expect – but that’s about it.
The biggest problem is that it has very little impact on the RPG side of things.
It serves as a source of income, which is nice, but would it really be any different if that money came from the monsters you kill instead?
The only other major impact is that you have a stamina bar and a hunger meter. You can use some of your farm’s produce to deal with your hunger, health, or status effects.
If you want a decent farming sim but don’t have the patience to play something as deep as Stardew Valley, then this might be what you’re looking for.
As you progress through the story, you get enough farm-related objectives to keep you busy, but it only works if you don’t care as much about the RPG, which the game clearly wants you to focus on.
Speaking of RPG, it’s fun but an acquired taste.
As you gain new companions and advance further in the story, you’ll unlock a variety of different jobs, all of which level up separately.
You can choose three jobs to switch between freely in battle, giving you a lot of different options.
In addition, the game can throw a variety of enemies at you without worrying about what you can and can’t do.
The fight itself is fine. It’s not particularly flashy or complicated, but it does require you to pay close attention and find a strategic balance between defensive play and killing.
It can be quite punishing in the early game as your ability to do simple things like dodge is limited, but once you get a few notches up the skill tree it becomes a lot more fun.
Story-wise, nothing special happens here. My main complaint is that all of the characters seem too similar.
Apart from a few antagonists, they all have the same tone when they talk, nothing sets them apart or makes them stand out for me.
There are cool designs and useful allies, but they never gave me enough to hold on to in terms of personality.
However, there is a decent mystery at the heart of the game that compelled me enough to want to figure it out.
Ultimately, I don’t really know who Harvestella is for. I found it thoroughly entertaining, but the two sides of the game don’t meld or reinforce each other in any meaningful way.
If you’re a big fan of farming sims, then you want something you can really sink your teeth into and spend hours in one sitting.
If you love action RPGs, you’ll want something intense and expansive, too.
Harvestella offers good versions of both of these genres, but you’ll probably want more from both sides.
Written by Ryan Woodrow on behalf of GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9728830/harvestella-review/ Harvestella Review: Bringing Farming and Combat Together