|Developer||Maple Powered Games|
|Genre||Farming simulator, dungeon crawler|
|Platforms||PS4, Steam (reviewed) Switch|
|Release Date||August 31, 2021|
From the developers of Alexx Kid in Miracle World DX comes Monster Harvest, a dungeon crawling, farming simulator by Maple Powered Games. Players are a new kid visiting uncle on his old farm house. But uncle has revolutionized farming and living by utilizing monsters. In this 2D, top-down game, farming plants, creating and battling monsters, and collecting resources for the sake of exploring the town’s only dungeon.
Violence: Monster battles take place like Pokemon battles. They are simplistic and flashy, but that’s it.
The idea that the dungeon crawling and farming combo exist in one game sounds weird to me. I haven’t played any farm simulators, so it doesn’t seem like a norm. But if I’m wrong then readers are more than welcome to comment below and tell me more.
Players take control of a palette swap of four character options: white girl or boy, black girl or boy. The slice-of-life game then begins with speaking to uncle, and obtaining some farming equipment. It takes a couple of recurring days; cleaning the yard, running out of energy, exploring the town, and sleeping to get anywhere. Among learning how to shop, gather, give gifts, and raise relationships, players will eventually get the chance to use Planimals, animals mutated from vegetation through weird slimes. Once you have a Planimal, you are granted access to the dungeon, which is procedurally generated to have different rooms and layouts each time you visit.
Dungeon crawling involves collecting resources you won’t find outside the cave, and fighting monsters. Players can enter battling, or avoid the monster on the field if they wish. This can be nice during the beginning since the Planimals are level one. They can fight once, before they’re too low health. There is no initial healing option, so the crawl in dungeon crawling will be literal. Planimals can level up, only by dying and becoming souls for the soil.
So, Monster Harvest soon adds a new cycle of farming planimals, killing planimals, buying more seeds, and repeating. This process at the beginning is very slow; five plus hours slow. The shop only sells two types of plants during the seasons, and players can plant multiples, but only bring one of each type into the dungeon.
Monster Harvest also has a level up system for the player. Every level gives a new recipe for constructing items. The first item is a treasure chest, followed by a fence, and wooden path, etc. In my opinion, these beginning items were not bad, but also not necessary for speeding things up. Fences and paths only bring visual appeal, they don’t negate the appearance of rocks or trees. While running around, and toiling away at the click festival of watering my plants, the NPC’s kept talking about irrigation pipes. But the recipe is at level 11, and the materials are on the second floor of the dungeon. I had to look these facts up, since I needed to know how much longer I would have to grind out leveling. The game seems to streamline itself well after need.
And this is just an observation, but the main character appears to be asthmatic. They breathe as if standing is the last thing they can do.
Despite the pleasant concept of mutant animal plants, Monster Harvest doesn’t seem to offer anything unique. I even forgot it’s name, confusing it with Monster Rancher half the time. I realize I don’t play farming simulators, but I’ve seen playthroughs of Stardew Valley, and I’ve played Pokemon. I believe I’ll stick with them for the time being. Much like the destroyed garden in it’s opening, Monster Harvest has a bit of tilling to do.
The Bottom Line
Not respectful of time, and not quite it's own game yet.