Thursday, November 29

Review: Harvest Life [Nintendo Switch eShop]


They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. That may be true but in a creative industry it only works when the final product ends up being a good one. Stardew Valley was no doubt inspired by the Harvest Moon series and did an excellent job of using some of its mechanics (and those from other games as well) into something pretty exceptional. That way works. In the case of Harvest Life, unfortunately, going through the motions and in some cases shamelessly copying elements of better games, but doing so in a clearly inferior manner, does no service to anyone.



I’m trying to find a good way to say that Harvest Life plays like a mobile game but in many regards I’d consider that pretty unfair to what mobile games are capable of accomplishing. So much of this game feels ripped out of Stardew Valley, in some cases directly, but sort of a poor man’s version. The most egregious is the fishing mini game, my god it is pretty well precisely the same and yet there’s also no variety in what you catch and it’s kind of janky to boot. Just everything you do seems weirdly limited and odd. The menus are clunky, there’s not a lot of help for understanding how to do some things, and in general it just feels like a weird collection of basic mini games thrown together in a basic farming sim body.


I hate having to compare Harvest Life to Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon or any other game of this type because I feel like it harms them by association. While I rarely get on a tear about games because I worry about being unfair, Harvest Life just offends me because the games that inspired this one are just so much better by both ambition and execution than this. Nobody should be settling for a game like this in a library of choices as vast and full of quality as there is on the Switch. Even if you’ve burned through Stardew and other games like it already and are thirsting for that next fix, this game simply isn’t worth your money or your time.


Score: 3.5

Pros:

  • If you’re truly looking to scratch that Stardew itch, yes, there are some similarities
  • There are a few types of tasks to work on daily for some minor variety and choice


Cons:

  • On a general level menus and many actions are simply clunky in their execution
  • All said there’s just not a lot of meaningful variety here, you’re mostly going through the motions
  • A far less ambitious title than those it is looking to emulate, and even then it isn’t executed very well