Harvestella, the review of the curious mix between farming sim and JRPG


Harvestella, the review of the curious mix between farming sim and JRPG
Written by aquitodovale

Harvestella, the curious mix between farming sim and JRPG proposed by Square-Enix, arrives on Nintendo Switch and PC. We reviewed it on the Nintendo console.

In this 2022, Harvestella represents a bit of the new course of Square Enix in terms of publisher of apparently minor titles, but in reality absolutely prominent on the gameplay profile. If it is true that the Japanese giant counts intellectual properties of strong weight in the videogame panorama, it is also correct to say that under the same umbrella live an endless series of products with a more modest media value, albeit characterized by a real and pulsating soul.

Harvestella stands as another link in a rather simple chain to read: Square Enix is ​​deeply differentiating its production, entrusting software that could be defined as “Single-A” the task of representing the many talents who live together, perhaps clouded by the media, inside. the famous “House of the JRPG”. We are faced with a JRPG farming simulation, one of those category joints that rely on experienced authors to blend genres without betraying the central core.

Let’s see if Square-Enix has succeeded in the attempt in ours Harvestella review.

Amnesia and aliens in armor

Harvestella’s character design is inspired, with well-drawn faces capable of keeping them hooked in their development

L’narrative incipit is certainly not the most original, but it serves as an introduction: our protagonist, created with a very spartan editor, wakes up in a village without memory, in the midst of a phenomenon known as Quietus, which happens between seasons and kills everything that meets. It takes little to reach the first village, where you can get to know the characters with whom to chat in the early parts of the adventure and discover that the meteorite crashed a short distance away was carrying a being in armor, known as Omen, reputed to be evil and responsible del Quietus by the villagers. The Omen turns out to be a girl from the future, also with little memory, but determined to find out how the crystal near the village called Seaslight has to do with her personal story.

Harvestella is definitely a very, very JRPG start, rather slow in its execution, with a particularly rhythmic rhythm, seasoned with frequent narrative stops (such as going to sleep often). The story takes a while to get in gear: consider that we counted 5 hours just to reach the first semi-boss, in what is the first – rather simple – dungeon of the plot and still the feeling was to be in the middle of a long tutorial. Probably, you will discover everything that the game has to offer no earlier than ten hours, a much longer period than average.

The time spent, however, has a non-trivial implication: the seraphic calm of the narrative allows us to deepen and breathe the rather peculiar atmosphere of Harvestella, in a stylistic mix between Bravely Default and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. The reference to fairy tales is palpable, thanks to a delicate palette, fairy-tale environments and bedtime story situations, constantly soiled by the awareness of an underlying malaise of the setting given by the Quietus. The rarefied air is present in the villages and cities, in the dungeons, in the external world (not open world) that connects the environments, all marked by the passage of time that regulates some routines of the characters and the need, in the middle of the night, to go to sleep.

Harvestella’s is a plot that sinks into a set of elements ascribable to today environmental themerespect for the different and pollution, with a cast of characters certainly not among the most charismatic ever, but capable of accompanying with ease in a world that does not shy away from its own mystery.

Walking around the field

The simulation part of Harvestella has limitations, but the satisfaction of seeing carrots and onions grow is always good
The simulation part of Harvestella has limitations, but the satisfaction of seeing carrots and onions grow is always good

If we wanted to divide Harvestella into parts, the one from farm simulator it is certainly the biggest: the basic logic is that commanding the main character costs effort and to recover energy you have to eat, filling the stomach. In the event that we are unable to feed ourselves we will have to give up running, dodging and many other pretty fundamental things.

Why, however, deprive yourself of the pleasure of cultivating your own field in the headquarters, in a beautiful forest, with land to plow and sow and ponds to fish? The core of Harvestella’s most simulated gameplay is in the constant dedication to sowing, selling the crop, searching for more important seeds, accumulating fish, timber, metals and so on. Not to mention all the part more properly linked to the creation, be it of dishes in the kitchen, tools or other.

Harvestella proposes an external world that acts more as a bridge between environments than really explorable structures
Harvestella proposes an external world that acts more as a bridge between environments than really explorable structures

Let’s not talk about a gameplay complex, yet rewarding in its simplistic essence and aimed at keeping us standing in the dungeons. Despite a slow start here, it will be going forward that the sense of progressing in this part will prove fun. There will come a point where you will take possession of a fairy book, a kind of huge to-do list to get rewards and constantly improve your money factory and become an agricultural machine. Of course, don’t expect anything particularly complex: the simulation part is an addendum to the JRPG component, an extra with which to entertain, relax and get out money and products to advance in the main part, the real role-playing part.

Harvestella, on the other hand, does not shine in the part relating to life simulation in the villages: the characters are very static in the same places and the feeling is that of the typical JRPG where everyone is waiting for us exactly where they have always been, without giving that idea of ​​a village in motion. Cute instead friendship systemthanks to which to deepen the links with specific quests and to have access to peculiar objects and statistic increases.

Combat Rudiments

A Harvestella fight
A Harvestella fight

The other part is the one from JRPG action, in which to venture into battle scenarios with enemies on sight, combat in real time, skills and shortcuts. Again, Harvestella presents a dish with the ingredients you expect, but their development and management is rather simplified, as well as not too layered. Aside from an often somewhat anonymous flow of fights, it’s the dungeon structure that knows a little bit of it, drawing heavily from a list of JRPG clichés that seem to want to talk to those who have played a few.

It intervenes to support a system of Job and skill to differentiate builds, trying to mess up cards with elemental weaknesses and special moves. Everything, attention, it also works, the important thing is to approach it knowing that the density of the offer is. Square-Enix has opted for a soft approach, almost wanting to fill the combat system with a sweet and muffled air, corroborated by the usual mechanism for upgrading weapons and building a team controlled by artificial intelligence. It almost makes you smile, knowing who the publisher is, to see the rather short extension of the trees of each Job, once again a symptom of a publisher’s desire to speak to the less experienced, perhaps the less accustomed to JRPG actions.

A glimpse of Harvestella
A glimpse of Harvestella

In each dungeon you can expect to have to return by teleportation at the beginning and then to sleep, as it is difficult that you can do it in a single day of play: it therefore becomes more of a shortcut hunt, in a landscape that still manages to remain dignified on the artistic profile. Speaking precisely of technique, it is evident that the offer is in line with a smaller production: models, textures, resolution, framerates are all elements in the average, they do not shine but they do not even disturb. Of course, it is reasonable to expect much more from Nintendo Switch, now almost used as an excuse than as a console to be exploited. In portable mode as in fixed, the resolution is unfortunately rather low, with a noticeable detail difference between interface and game which makes some scenes a bit blurry. Considering that the animations are certainly not anything complex and that the artificial intelligence does not present who knows what advanced management, we simply believe that it would have needed a little more time to optimize everything. Thumb up instead for the soundtrackwell packaged and inspired on the wings of a dreamy atmosphere, in line with Harvestella’s sentiment, so skilfully straddling fairy tale and reality.


Tested version Nintendo Switch

Digital Delivery

Steam, Nintendo eShop

€ 59.90

Slightly more than the sum of its parts, Harvestella offers a mix between rural simulation and JRPG, with the limit, however, that the depth of the two experiences is proposed more to a novice than to a fan of Japanese role-playing games. To win is the underlying mystery of the setting, which, however, are not behind as we would have liked the two souls of simulation and combat, present, alive but a little weak, almost unambitious overall. In any case, Harvestella promises a certainly fascinating world despite the performances on Nintendo Switch, capable of intriguing and carrying on, thanks to a plot that straddles today’s themes and time travel accompanies with ease. Recommended more for those who have recently approached both genders than for the greedy devourers of JRPG since time immemorial.


  • Plot and mystery of the game world
  • The atmosphere is successful
  • How JRPG stands upright


  • The farming part has obvious limitations
  • Very slow start
  • Production values ​​are not excellent

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