We’ve all dreamt about a Final Fantasy Stardew Valley crossover. The titular JRPG franchise and its gorgeous character designs in a farming life-fantasy? Well, now it’s a reality with Square Enix’s upcoming Harvestella.
Whilst the Harvest Moon formula has been blended with JRPG gameplay and visuals before, in the Rune Factory series—this game looks like it’s on another level.
However, the series’ latest entry—Rune Factory 5, didn’t perform so well and meet fan expectations. It has left a JRPG-sized hole in the farming-sim market, that is just waiting to be filled.
Rune Factory 5 only scored a 6/10 in IGN’s review for the Switch version, and a “meh” score of 68 on Metacritic. Whilst the game’s change from 2D to a full-fledged 3D world was promising, it fell short in its vision.
The game’s performance was incredibly sluggish in the Switch version (whilst the PC port is better), and the 3D world also gives a sense of emptiness.
Whilst the game refined and built on its predecessor’s features, it also fell short by removing some key mechanics. Many fans called it a “downgrade” overall. So, will the promised Final Fantasy Stardew Valley, Harvestella, be able to deliver?
Harvestella aims to deliver: “a life simulation RPG that lets you enjoy daily life, socializing and adventuring.” You’ll find the usual Stardew Valley gameplay features, like farming, fishing, and raising livestock.
Want to take a deeper look into the upcoming game’s features? Square Enix recently dropped a detailed post covering gameplay!
What instantly caught my eye about Harvestella was its visual art style. It looks like it’s straight from a Final Fantasy art book! Just take a look and tell me it doesn’t look like classic FF or Bravely Default!
From the character designs to the environment and monster art, it screams Square Enix’s signature style. It’s no wonder they chose to back and publish the title.
So, who are the developers behind Harvestella?
Whilst the game is being published by Square Enix, the developers are Live Wire—the studio behind Ender Lilies. If you’ve never heard of the game, it’s worth checking out.
It’s a beautifully-crafted side-scrolling Dark Souls-like with anime visuals. From the game’s world to the detailed environments and combat, everything about it is superb.
It definitely instils faith in Harvestella. The game was also recently showcased at the Nintendo Treehouse Live event, where we saw a pretty in-depth presentation.
In a post-Stardew Valley world, a Final Fantasy Harvest Moon could hit mainstream success.
Not only is the game backed by beautiful visuals and a great combat system, but the farming also looks genuinely great. I was skeptical at first, scared they would skimp out on the quality of life additions Stardew brought to the genre.
However, the Treehouse gameplay demo quickly quelled any doubts. Farming looks snappy and fast, nothing tedious or annoying about it.
It makes me really wish Rune Factory and Story of Seasons would pick up on the quality of life changes Stardew added to the formula. Farming should be fun, not something to dread.
Now, only a few questions remain: Will there be marriage in the game? Is romancing a thing? What about post-game content?
A Final Fantasy game in everything but name, Harvestella looks exciting. It could pick up the slack of Rune Factory 5, and bring the JRPG farming sim experience back to the forefront of the genre.
The game is coming out early September for Nintendo Switch and PC (Steam). It’s available for preorder now! Some stores are also offering physical preorder bonuses. All the art I’ve seen for the game gives me some serious Yoshitaka Amano vibes.
If you’re a huge fan of JRPGs and all things Square Enix, you should give my Dragon Quest Builders 2 review a read! Never want to miss a post? Follow me on Twitter and subscribe to the weekly newsletter!