If you’re a fan of farming games like Stardew Valley or monster collecting games like Pokemon then you may be interested in Monster Harvest, the new game from publisher Merge Games and developer Maple Powered Games. It combines farming, monster raising, and monster battling and mixes all that with a pixel art style to create something quite interesting. Is this combination worth your time?
Monster Harvest has a story to it but it’s pretty simple as the focus is more on the actual gameplay. The gist of it is that your uncle who owns the farm is no longer able to take care of it so he invites you to come and do it instead. Not only that but he has also discovered that by mixing slimes with plants you can create new creatures called Planimals. Planimals will be loyal followers for you who will protect you from dangers. Your duties involve planting and managing the farm and raising these creatures. The game doesn’t give you a lot of direction and instead just kind of leaves you to do as you will.
To start off I had to clear a space to start my farm so anything in the way like trees and such had to go. Once that was done, I bought some seeds from town and went back to plant and water them. The game has three different seasons; dry, wet, and dark and the types of crops you can grow during them changes. When you’re ready you can start mixing the slimes with your crops to start gaining Planimals. There are three different colored slimes those being red, blue, and green. Red slimes will turn your crops into Planimals who can fight for you, green slimes instantly make your crops grow, and blue slimes will turn them into livestock Planimals which you have to store in a barn. Once you’ve finished growing stuff you can turn around and sell it on the market to make more money and in turn use that to purchase better tools, equipment, and essentially improve your farm more and more.
When you’re not farming, you’ll be venturing into a randomly generated dungeon at night to stop the evil schemes of the SlimeCo corporation. These dungeons are where you’ll use your Planimals to fight and where you can mine for rare metals. Things like iron and gold can be harvested inside here but only so long as your stamina lasts and you have Planimals to fight for you. When you run into an enemy in the rooms inside the dungeon you’ll enter into turn-based combat. It’s pretty simple as turn-based games go as you’ll just issue commands until the opponent is dead or you are. There are some good rewards to be had from winning fights so I never found them to be a waste of time. Overall, I found the dungeon side of the gameplay to be a nice break from the farming that I would do during the day.
Monster Harvest is long but not quite as long as some other games in the genre. I’d say you’d you could see most of everything it has to offer in around two dozen hours. That is quite a lot but if you’re looking for one to last you a hundred hours or so this won’t be it. The game also has some technical issues like commands not registering correctly and this happens while in combat or navigating menus. I also didn’t like that the game doesn’t let you save whenever you want to as you have to wait until you sleep at night to do so. Yes, you can always get to that point whenever you want but then you basically have to skip whatever day your on to do so.
Visually the game has some nice pixel art especially in the environments but I didn’t like the character designs quite so much. The audio doesn’t have much variety either and talking to people more than once isn’t usually worth your time as they don’t have much to say. Trophy hunters won’t be able to earn a Platinum here either as the game only has a total of 10 trophies. It’s a very simple list too that basically asks you to beat a couple of opponents and unlock a few things but it’s really sad there is no Platinum here.
Monster Harvest is a nice mix between Stardew Valley and Pokemon but it’s missing some stuff that makes both of those other games great. The farming and Planimal raising is enjoyable but neither system is as deep as you may want. It’s also got some pretty annoying technical issues right now that will hopefully be patched. If you’re looking for a new farming game to last you a couple dozen hours or so then give it a shot if this sounds interesting to you.
*Monster Harvest is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. PlayStation 4 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.