One of Square Enix’s most anticipated games for the rest of 2022 is a life analog RPG called Harvestella. Coming to PC and Nintendo Switch, this game is all about growing and developing a homestead in a small but captivating world, while illustrating the townspeople completing quests, solving mysteries of all kinds, and facing many different types of threats. I know all of this because recently, I had the opportunity to check out Harvestella at the Square Enix event in London, where I checked out the opening part of the game.
For starters, I won’t comment too much on the game’s core storyline and narrative, because frankly, it’s a bit difficult to keep a close eye on it during the hands-on. The basic premise is that you find yourself suffering from Queitus, a seasonal change that is deadly to humans, but somehow you survive it, and soon after, you find yourself under the watchful eye of Cres, a local doctor in the village of Leyte, One finds out that your survival is a baffling mystery. Shortly after encountering Cres, the village is nearly hit by a falling object, which you discover is a pod of a perceived evil faction known as the Omen, and from now on, more questions are asked and few answers are given . Instead, we can expect them to come closer in the narrative.
However, this session does provide an interesting look at the gameplay itself, and all the different avenues that make it up. At first, the farming and life simulation system seems pretty straightforward. You can plow fields and plant unique seeds, then water and take care of them as your creations grow. But it also goes a step further, as you can craft a variety of tools to help you expand and organize your farmland, like a hammer to break down obscure boulders. Beyond that, you can customize your homestead with fences and other goodies to improve the aesthetics of the area, while managing health, hunger, sleep, and other systems that define and affect your character.
While I wish I could comment further on the crafting system and what it means, unfortunately I don’t quite see that. However, I do see the exploration aspect of the game and how this can be a factor in gathering useful resources. This starts with heading to the world map, which allows you to move your character between locations rather than simply having a quick travel kit. Once you reach the desired location, you can explore more freely, picking up resources and items that have fallen on the floor, and likely fighting off threatening creatures that call the location home. Before diving into the combat further, I’d like to add that the exploration elements I’ve seen also seem rudimentary and a little uninspired, so hopefully this will expand as the storyline develops.
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But anyway, back to the fight. It’s more like a traditional RPG that sees you use your weapon to instantly attack enemies and they do the same. There’s no turn-based system, or anything like that, it’s instant and feels very engaging, even if similar to many of Harvestella’s systems, it feels very basic and lacks depth. I say this because, there aren’t many options for how to fight. It’s not A-RPG standard, giving you many different attack options or movement mechanics. Do not. This also seems to encapsulate the style you’re seeing, and while it does fit the general theme Harvestella aims to deliver, I can’t help but wish there were deeper options later in the game.
But beyond that, it’s worth noting that Harvest Pull is an unbelievably amazing game. I tested it on the OLED Switch and the graphics looked great, full of crisp colors and a really vibrant picture. Contrary to my previous review, the time system used seems rather harsh and a bit depressing, because from what I’ve seen, the days tend to go by quickly, which means you need to be very smart about how you spend your time in the game , which is often the opposite approach taken by many life sims.
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Still, during my playtime, I was undoubtedly entertained by Harvestella. I’m looking forward to seeing how Square Enix expands some of the systems they already have later in the narrative, as the core concepts work well, it could do some further depth, and again, it would be awesome to get some answers to questions about the storyline . Either way, this is going to be a lovely and charming game with a lot of charm, and it’s definitely one of my most anticipated games of this November.