One unexpected theme brought up in the recent Nintendo Direct Mini was the number of new “life simulators” on offer, a somewhat vague term used to describe games like Animal Crossing and The Sims — as well as farming simulators like Harvest Moon.
In addition to Disney Dreamlight Valley and Doraemon Story Of Seasons: Friends Of The Great Kingdom, the most interesting to date has been Square Enix’s new Harvestella, a new console exclusive to the Nintendo Switch whose only announced format is PC.
Production values seem impressively high, and while the farming aspect looks very similar to Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley, there seems to be a lot more role-playing elements than usual for the genre, perhaps bringing it closer to Rune Factory.
Since it’s a Square Enix game, crystals are naturally involved in the plot, as four giant crystals keep shifting between seasons, until ‘distortions’ cause a fifth season called Quietus when everything starts to wilt and die.
As the game begins, Quietus is getting longer every year, so between planting carrots and making friends with villagers, you have to find out what’s going on and put an end to it.
There are several job categories, including Fighter, Shadow Walker, and Mage, so the game seems to take the role-playing elements very seriously.
It also features concept art by Isamu Kamikokuryo from Final Fantasy 12 and music by Tales composer Go Shiina.
It’s good to see Square Enix put in such an effort with the new IP, but then said back in May that it wanted to try more new franchises and that and games like Forspoken seemed to be proof of that.
Harvestella will be released on November 4, 2022 for Nintendo Switch and PC only.
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