Monster Harvest is a charming fusion of the farming simulator and monster collecting genres. Instead of catching creatures on your journey, you will instead grow them from seeds and harvest them with the aid of mutating slime—these are known as Planimals. These creatures will help you explore the town of Planimal Point, bond with its residents, and protect you from other rogue Planimals.
You start with an overgrown farm and, with the help of your Uncle, begin to clear and tend to the land. New buildings and tools will become unlocked as you progress throughout the three seasons of the game, each one yielding new unique aspects, such as new crops, Planimals, and festivals. Use these Planimals to protect you while making them stronger as you explore the dungeon collecting minerals and resources to upgrade your homestead with.
Farming and raising your Planimals are enjoyable and will certainly keep you wanting to expand. Discovering new Planimals is one of the best parts of Monster Harvest. It's a true delight. Seeing all the variants of Planimals in these different seasons and learning new recipes upon leveling up allows you to customize your farm in the way you see fit. Farming is a byproduct of harvesting Planimals, yet in itself is highly addicting.
Monster Harvest aims to do a lot and succeeds in most areas, but it falls short in some of the most important aspects. Battling is lackluster. You are unable to switch out Planimals, run from combat, or heal them. They only learn three moves at specific levels, which means minimal strategy is involved besides having more hit points and dealing more damage. Due to a gameplay mechanic, Planimals are more of a tool than something you deeply care about, which feels wrong in a game based entirely around them.
Relationships aren't as robust as Stardew Valley, nor do they feel they ultimately matter—increasing your relationship with townspeople rewards you in discounts at the shops or gifts but nothing more. Festivals show up in your calendar, but you only learn what they are through a pop up at the beginning of the day. You also receive no direction on where to find it. It just makes the town and its residents feel lifeless.
Monster Harvest also has its share of bugs. Most are harmless and don't affect your enjoyment, but one bug detrimental to gameplay is your Planimals disappearing. This is frustrating as losing a Planimal outside of its season means you cannot acquire it again until that season comes around. Other smaller issues are not being able to skip already cleared levels in the dungeon, slow movement pace, and some strange animations/designs.
|Farming is expansive and diverse.||You don't feel an attachment to Planimals.|
|Planimal designs are great.||Combat is lackluster and mindless.|
|Slime allows Planimals to be involved with multiple aspects of the game.||Residents have very little to no role, and festivals have little direction or information on how to participate.|
|Pixel art for the town and nature looks great.||Traveling is tedious, and some areas feel unnecessary.|
|The ability to skip to nighttime is a great feature.||Numerous bugs.|
|Fallen Planimals can contribute by raising soil levels.||Designs and animations for the residents and the player are all over the place and unsettling.|
Verdict - Wait for a Sale
Monster Harvest has a fantastic premise, yet it feels wide as an ocean and deep as a puddle. There are numerous mechanics and features, but they all seem to lack depth. Battling and collecting Planimals just doesn't feel as good as Pokémon and both the relationship system and town aren't as deep as Stardew Valley. Combine that with a slow pace, time-consuming dungeon grind, and overall lack of connection to the town. Monster Harvest just feels like it is missing something. It's fun, but ultimately it would be better to wait for a sale before purchasing.