Harvestella

All other video games not related to the main farming series - Pokemon, Stardew Valley, My Time at Portia, and other indie-developed games.
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greensara
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So as of today the Harvestella Demo is up in the eShop, and I thought since many here may be curious or planning to get it, we could have a thread for it.

Personally, I wasn't planning to get it, but demos are free and I was curious. I haven't played but to day two so far, but I do think I will try to finish the demo before formally deciding on an opinion. As of right now it looks like this for me:
Pros - Pretty world, decent music
Cons - Story, farming
I didn't think the story would be appealing to me even before the demo and I haven't changed my mind yet.
Spoiler:
Amnesia? How original. Bad enough Rune Factory thinks it can keep using it.Why is this necessary? It just seems lazy in terms of story writing. The crisis and related stuff could be interesting if well written but I'm not counting on it.
The farming so far seems a little janky and not smooth or natural, but I am a farm game "snob" so that might just be me. (I couldn't get far in the Mara demo because I hated the controls too much.) If my opinion of the farming changes as I get further, I will revise my initial opinion. It seems like it is going to be more story focused than farming though, so maybe okay if you like the story? I will have to play more to know for sure.
Last edited by greensara on Nov 07, 2022 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Kikki
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I actually liked the farming controls cuz they're smooth...the game locks you into a slide in the direction you were going for just a second or two so you can smoothly step from spot to spot to keep tilling or planting or watering without having to reposition your hitbox. I also like that she uses a watering wand, which is less weird than a can.

The time passing at LIGHTNING SPEED whenever you step out onto the map though. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? It's incredibly unfun. What is the point of that bit of realism, that it takes you so long to walk to the next area you need to go to that unless you leave first thing in the morning, the minute you get there, the game tells you it's nearly sunset and you need to hurry back to bed! (You pass out on the stroke of midnight if you're awake then.)

It's so unfun that I find it enraging, lol. Because of that, I'm not sure how to rate this game, yet. I mostly like it, but I can't get to the next part of the story cuz it keeps telling me it's too late and I need to rush back home. I already complained about amnesia as a plot device in the backlog thread a few days ago, so I won't do that again here.
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KAE
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I just finished the demo myself. Completed what story there was, got all the way to day fifteen. I'm planning on doing another run through because I definitely learned a lot over the process of the game. I was probably halfway through when I finally learned that there is, in fact, a dodge button. L trigger, for fellow Switchers.

I play a handful of JRPGs. I grew up with the Tales of and Final Fantasy series, and was really happy to see SQUEENIX taking a stab at Rune Factory's formula. I find the story pretty intriguing. The Seaslight seem to be understood at only the most rudimentary level. The Omens aren't understood whatsoever. Aria's appearance raises some questions. All an all, there's a number of mysteries in need of answers, and I'm curious to see how the story unfolds.

If you're going in expecting a SQUEENIX story, and you enjoy their style, I think you'll like what you find.

On the other hand, if you're going in expecting some Rune Factory gameplay? You would be better off leaving expectations at the door.

The characters that are presented, I really enjoyed. Cres' desires and motivations easy to sympathize with, Dianthus conflict was an intriguing one, and Aria's hot and cold personality was given depth through your interactions. I could see the characters growing, and I could see how the story was being guided by their actions. What I was sad to lose though was the daily interactions I'd come to expect with this genre. If there's a way to give gifts? I haven't figured it out. Character affection seems to progress by story (maybe quests, later?) rather than daily visits. There are no "days of the week" or holidays. Every shop is open every day at specific times. And shop owners --- ... don't have names or personalities.

The farming is a helpful mechanic but seems to be entirely for the purpose of facilitating dungeon crawling. Socializing, by my experience, doesn't seem to be a thing at all. It felt to me like the gameplay was focused more on progressing through dungeons to further the story.

In reality, it's not quite Rune Factory, and you may be disappointed if his is what you expect it to be. If you're looking for an rpg with a thoughtful story and a cozy ranch house to come home to though, you're probably going to enjoy it.

TLDR: I enjoyed the story and the character personalities. I miss having daily interactions, festivals, and giving gifts. I wish the farming were more prominent. The art gets five of five stars. The music gets ten of five stars, but what do you expect from GoShiina? He's one of the best in the business.

I liked it for what it is, but I'd sooner compare it to an rpg than the life sim it's advertised as. The life sim aspect felt pretty light.

--- On the topic of time acceleration when you're on the map, I didn't find myself having much an issue with it. You unlock teleportation at a certain point that lets you poof home though, so I only found myself using the map to go OUT places. Helped save a lot of time.
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GamerMomma2
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I haven’t finished the demo yet, but I’m enjoying it so far. Time does pass way too fast though.
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greensara
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Kikki wrote: Sep 13, 2022 7:43 pm I actually liked the farming controls cuz they're smooth...the game locks you into a slide in the direction you were going for just a second or two so you can smoothly step from spot to spot to keep tilling or planting or watering without having to reposition your hitbox. I also like that she uses a watering wand, which is less weird than a can.
Ah, I guess that makes more sense. I'm more used to there being a button to toggle like in Animal Parade to lock in position. A toggle option would be nice for this in case you want to switch or move more freely. Lol, I see the watering wand now, at first I thought it looked like a watering rifle or something. :P
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Kikki
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I hatehatehate having to continually reposition my hitbox when farming...it utterly ruins farming in a game for me. So I actually love the farming mechanics...but overall, Harvestella isn't as much fun as I hoped. It's very much a JRPG and only barely any kind of sim, let alone a farming-sim. There's no heart to the farming, it's just to make some money and healing items. There's no socializing and they didn't even bother to NAME main characters in town (I don't care if they don't name random villagers, but the only people who got named are those three pointless children, while the shopkeepers with their nice designs are only called by their career name. Smithy, Shopkeeper, etc. Doesn't look like relationships are a thing. It's really NOT a farming life-sim.) Maybe when I have more money and am not limited to 15 days of play, I could spend as much time as I wanted on farming, but in the demo you have very little money and can't spend much time making any or you won't get any of the story done...and the demo ends as soon as 15 days pass, even if you sleep the entire thing, so you have to tackle the story if you want to experience the content.

I hate the combat. I think the thing that makes me hate it most is that most of the time (not all of the time, some moments you can actually consume something...perhaps when no animations are taking place or something), you can open your backpack, but you can't use anything in it, so you can't heal, and the enemy is taking MASSIVE chunks off your health with every hit, so it happens so rapidly, you need instant healing very, very frequently. I almost won this last battle but lost simply because the game wouldn't let me eat a healing item. Makes no sense. If you've got time to open your backpack, you have time to gulp a piece of food.

The story is super interesting, actually, and the graphics and music are great, but the combat feels unfairly balanced to the enemies...they can move smoothly, darting all the way across the entire field to you in a single instant, but you're a clod.

I've spent most of my time with Harvestella feeling very frustrated and/or angry. The story is fun but...I think that's really the only reason to play this. (Though farming may be more fun in the full game when you don't have to rush through the story and can spend as much time as you want just on the farming and developing your house and field.) It's very unsatisfying if you're hoping for a sim experience, but if you were going into it for a JRPG experience, having to do farming might just be annoying?

I don't know if I want it or not. Harvestella makes me feel rushed and stressed, but that may be directly the product of it being a demo that is limited to fifteen game days.
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JustABeautifulGuy
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Honestly, it’s really just a Square Enix game with farming as an afterthought. Or atleast, that’s how the game comes across to me. I like the farming in this game; combat (however I dislike how there’s no damage break or anything, it’s a standard for any RPG game) and story are great as well but what I love about farming sims is the complete formula with characters and romance as well and Square Enix failed to sell that. With only farming as its redeemable quality, I’ve decided just to wait until it is on sale. I’ve just got other games to spend my 60 dollars on this winter.
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Kikki
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I don't think they failed to sell that. I think it's more that they never intended that at all. Harvestella was presented in such a way as to make it look like Rune Factory (or possibly like Stardew, which also has both farming and fighting) but I think they always intended this to be a story-driven JRPG with farming tacked on as an extra mechanic to draw in a few extra players from another genre. I don't think they ever meant for this to really be all that much like Rune Factory or Stardew.

I LIKE story-driven RPGs, but when I want a farming sim, I don't want farming and social aspects to take such a distant back seat to the story. (Though so far it looks like social aspects don't even exist in this game. They may, though, outside the demo.) I do think the demo makes the farming less fun, since you don't have the time to concentrate on it. If you want to make enough money and gather enough materials to get your house facilities upgraded and your field fully functional, you have to progress the story, and if you want to progress the story, you have to concentrate on it, as you need to upgrade your weapon to beat the final boss, and you should probably also fight enough to hit level 10, since you'll spend so much time unable to use your healing items...you need to reduce the damage you take by increasing your stats.

I think it's probably a good game outside the demo, but I do think they presented it misleadingly.
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Shan O 123
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Play with Josh has a video about the demo.


As for me, just seeing the gameplay makes me wanna skip the game. Only because of the clock being too fast for me.

The farming and fighting look fine and I can live without actual socializing, but if the clock is going to move as I try to get from point A to point B and the son goes down before I arrive to said destination, No thanks. Not everything has to be realistic.
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Mikodesu
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Started the demo tonight and... I am intrigued. Not sure it's worth the AAA asking price, but I went and wishlisted it on Steam.

It feels very similar to the Tokyo RPG Factory game demos I've played, but... having the extra dimension of farming, crafting, etc adds another layer to the gameplay that helps flesh it out. For anything that isn't super short I feel like I need the variety.

Farming controls are very mid. I think once you get used to them they'll be easier to use than most other games, but they're fiddly for now. I think all the complaints about the time being super speedy worried me so much that it seemed better than it is. I don't hate the idea of traveling between areas costing a certain, set amount of time, though sometimes it seems like a lot. I imagine you'll really need a lot of those warp items as time goes on. (Early enemies drop a lot of the mats for them...that tells me something.)

Story is...more interesting than I thought it would be. Seemed like a piece of Rune Factory fan fiction at first, but, the early twist got me.
Spoiler:
I'm weak. I like scifi-fantasy stories.
None of the writing is overtly bad. It's still very tropey (anime), but I don't hate it. Still no guarantee for me, but everything is good enough to say for sure I'm still keeping an eye out.
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Kikki
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I got used to the farming mechanics instantly, and love them :) They just feel so smooth to me...they never waste my time fiddling with continually repositioning the character to water or sow seeds. And I find switching between the two tasks is seamless...you throw your selected seeds with A but you don't have to reselect your wand to start watering, as that's assigned to the Y button. It felt really natural to me.

The time definitely feels like a rush to me, and that's even WITHOUT the super speedy time passage on the world map. I particularly resent that entire half days are eaten up every time there's a cutscene. In the first 9 game days, cutscenes happened every night or in the morning, so I got to start my day at 6AM ONCE in that time. Every other time it was around 1PM before the game finally let me go out to my field. (One time it was at 11AM...not sure why only that day was different, though.) When you're starting the day at 1PM and you need to water your crops first, then take a three hour jaunt two inches up the screen to the story destination, then fight your way through the monsters to get to the next trigger...it just doesn't feel like there's any time to do anything, for me.

But again, I think that's a product of this being a demo limited to 15 game days. If you want to try everything out well enough to get familiar with it as well as see the maximum allowable amount of story, you have to rush through everything. If I had no reason to hurry to see the next story event before my game days run out, I could take as much time as I want, both with farming, and with grinding for materials to do weapon and house improvements.
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K8sMum
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I was getting frustrated with being forced to go to bed but then I noticed it only happened when there was a cut scene advancing the story. The time element does take management, but it's not a deal breaker for me. Irl it would take time to traverse the world map.

I think the story is good. I'm still getting the buttons down (it took me the longest time to understand that I didn't have to actually enable a selection).

I'm enjoying the game by not expecting it to be Rune Factory or SoS.
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Mikodesu
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There's only two things I would call fiddly about farming in Harvestella...
- Button mashing to till and then holding down the button to water takes some getting used to (maybe later upgrades smooth this out?)
- Holding down a button to swap tools, when the menu to swap could just be context sensitive, is an extra thing to remember.

It's all fine, but my brain goes immediately to how it could be better. :lol: Studying game design does that to a brain. The time limit on the demo probably doesn't help, it makes me want to be ultra efficient.

I haven't passed out yet, so I don't know how severe the consequences are. There are probably days where it's better to use the time you have, and make up for it later. Maybe alternating between days out of town and days in, rather than trying to do a little of everything, is the best way to play. Sometimes a different way to play is good. I wouldn't hate it being a little more obvious, though.

(Edit: Now that I think of it, maybe THAT'S the problem with time being the way it is. The game is encouraging you to go out every day by making mining and gathering nodes refresh every day, but it punishes you for doing that by eating up a lot of your time when you go out to gather. Hmm...)

I highly doubt it, but I'm curious if there's any mention of the empty loft in the demo. You get to do SOMETHING with it, I'm sure, the question is just...what.
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Kikki
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I like holding down the button to water...feels more like real-life watering. Though I don't like having to press the button more than once to till a patch of soil. That's more realistic, too, but button clicking to till doesn't have the same feeling of reality, as holding down a button to water. (Dunno how many here are RL gardeners or farmers, but when watering with many wands, you hold down a trigger to release the spray and when you release it, the water shuts off. Though a good wand of that type should also have something to keep the trigger pressed without you having to keep squeezing it, since it gets tiring to keep your grip clenched for half an hour or more. And in a greenhouse they don't use the trigger kind but the kind with valves. Still, for the average home garden or small hobby farm, the trigger kind is pretty typical.)

The game says you'll pass out if you stay up until midnight, and I'm sure it'll give you a penalty on when you wake up if you don't, but I had so many cutscenes that I never really had a chance to try anything out. (Plus I didn't want to lose time in the morning...I'd rather go to bed early than lose the early awakening time unless I'm in the middle of something difficult.)

I didn't test to see if this happens every time, but this was definitely the case for me the one time (or two times?) I actually remembered to make note to check the time: the refresh rate for resources, like mining points and so on, has a very annoying trait. It applies to watering, too, and how long it takes the field to go dry again. They don't appear to refresh when the day turns over, but rather exactly 24 hours. So if you forgot to water until nearly midnight, you'd be forced to wait until nearly midnight the next day to water again. I really disliked that. I suppose it could have been a glitch, but it happened to me with everything on more than one day... I just didn't check to see if it happened *every* time, and I spent a couple entire days on the dungeon without doing any resource gathering or farming.
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greensara
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Wow, time is fast! I actually kind of liked the fighting set up, but the rush was not my favorite. Overall I think the game might be okay as its own thing for it's story and battling, but not for the farming in my opinion. It's not Rune Factory or a life sim, just a JRPG that happens to give you a farm. Not personally planning to get it, especially at that price, but maybe if it was significantly less though.
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