Combining two distinct genres with each other is a task many developers have grappled with, and Harvestella is no exception. Following the trend of popular games such as Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon, and My Time at Portia, Harvestella aims to make its mark as a new farming life-sim RPG.
Like other games in the genre, your priorities are to manage your land, build relationships with villagers, go on quests, and at times, fight monsters. And Harvestella nails every aspect of what a good farming life-sim RPG is, like with mechanics such as farming, gathering, cooking, raising livestock, crafting, and fighting monsters. The game also looks and sounds beautiful with its stellar graphics and phenomenal soundtrack. However, despite how good the game is, there are some quality-of-life changes that need to be made or improved upon to make the experience even better.
8/8 More Character Customization Outfits
One of the most common complaints among fans is the lack of customization for your character. Character customization is a mainline feature for any new RPG, whether it be from a big studio or an indie team. So, to find that the character customization was limited to choosing hair and eye color was a slight disappointment.
The most likely reason as to why it wasn’t added is due to your character changing clothes when switching between any of the jobs. However, and it would genuinely make players happier if they could choose their own body types or, if that's not possible, at least change their own fashion and style.
7/8 Additional Voice Acting
Many of your popular JRPGs will have some form of voice acting to accompany their characters, whether good or bad. But, in the case of Harvestella, you can only hear voices when fighting bosses, walking with companions, or going past an important character. Unfortunately, when there is dialogue between characters, the voice acting is non-existent, with only goofy, sad, or action music in the background. It's a shame, because when you do hear the voice acting for the main characters and bosses, it's very good.
The voice acting doesn’t have to be for every side quest either. The main storyline would greatly benefit from it. Especially since, regardless of it being good or bad, the game would still ultimately feel a lot better to play rather than only getting to hear the voice acting occasionally.
6/8 Extra Animations
When you’re playing a farming sim, there are often plenty of animations for every action you take, to make it look better and for pacing. The only notable animations in Harvestella are from different characters doing certain poses whenever they’re expressing some emotion or when fighting against monsters, which all look relatively good and add to the gameplay.
Not only would the game look better if extra animations were added, but it would make Harvestella feel more like a traditional farming sim. And, although the characters are one of the few things animated in the game, they need some work, since when they’re not striking a pose, they’re either slightly T-posing or moonwalking forwards.
5/8 Skip Button
A quality-of-life feature that is absolutely necessary for any dialogue or cutscene-heavy games is a skip button. Often, when progressing through the game, you’re forced to sit through cutscenes or conversations that you’ve experienced more than once like when you faint after a big fight or fall asleep past midnight.
This game can be especially annoying for players who went into Harvestella to check out the farming or combat when the introduction is nearly 30 minutes of unskippable dialogue. The developers decided to also regularly throw in unskippable cutscenes of your character walking to a particular area for ten to thirty seconds at a time instead of transitions from one place to another.
4/8 Empty Environments
While roaming around Harvestella, you’ll notice how beautiful each area of the game is. From Nemea with its cherry blossom trees to the Holy Capital of Argene, showing off the rich snowy landscape and fantastic architecture. But apart from the main towns with their stores and side-quests, every other place you visit will feel rather empty.
Take the Jade Forest, for example. It’s a forested area between a mountainous volcano and a beach town. There are tons of monsters throughout the entire layout of the forest and a beautiful green backdrop, but little to no shrubbery, rocks, or logs despite there being set pickup points to mine and gather materials. Instead of leaving the environment empty except for white material lines, the devs could perhaps add some foliage.
3/8 Better Dialogue Options
Dialogue options for Harvestella are lacking when responding to NPCs, even for what people would call a standard JRPG. When talking to someone, you’ll have between two and four choices of dialogue to respond with. Most of the time, your choices make your character sound like you still haven’t grasped the concept behind interacting with other people normally when everyone around your character is acting serious and depending on you as their leader.
Considering that interacting with NPCs is a major part of the game, the least that the developers can do is spruce up the dialogue options a bit with more logical or friendlier choices to befit the situations that they're in.
2/8 Better Stamina System
Stamina is such a significant factor when considering farming life-sims so that your character has an incentive to plan out their day, do the things they need to do, find ways to recover stamina, and eventually upgrade it. Harvestella takes a different approach, where your stamina is maintained by the food you eat.
However, it’s a waste to constantly cook and prepare food when even doing something like sprinting drains your stamina in about a minute. This makes you have to walk everywhere, maintain what skills you use in combat, and eat food to recover stamina when you’re not down on health. And to top it off, they limited how much food you can eat to maintain stamina, making situations where you need health and stamina even more drastic.
1/8 More Combat Options
Combat is lacking in a few ways in Harvestella. Your main attack is hitting the same button repeatedly, while sometimes using an extra unlockable ability that drains stamina. The game changes up combat by providing ten unlockable jobs that you can switch to during battle for different skills and attacks.
However, despite switching to a new job, you’re still clicking the same button, and most jobs are only unlocked halfway to the end of the story. And, because enemies get increasingly difficult in each area, switching to a new job is often detrimental when you’ve already upgraded the jobs you got in the beginning. The best way to remedy this is to make your extra abilities on less of a cooldown, use less stamina, or provide a secondary attack.
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