Harvest Days Preview: Low Poly Open World Farming
Harvest Days is a pre-alpha indie farming game that uses open world exploration and low-poly graphics to create a unique simulation adventure.
Harvest days is an open-world farming simulation game currently in pre-alpha for PC via Steam. Developed and published by Family Devs, a father-son duo, Harvest days uses low-poly graphics to create a vibrant and explorable world. However, many improvements are needed to help Harvest days stand up to other titles of independent agriculture such as Valley of stars and popular AAA farming games like History of seasons and Harvest moon.
The story in Harvest days is similar to many other farm games. The main character spent time on a farm as children, but they end up working in the city as adults. After seeing a cry for help from the town of their childhood, the main character returns to take possession of a farm and help restore the people living in the area. While this premise is pretty standard for games in the genre, there is a lack of credibility in this narrative, as the player is simply offered a vast farm at no cost. The buildings are in good repair and the space comes with tools and plenty of room for crops.
Harvest days gives players two predefined character options for the game in its current pre-alpha state – a male character with a mustache and generic farm clothes and a female character with long red hair and more modern clothing. Both characters have skin tone and nothing can be changed to make them closer to the player. Because character creation and immersion are such an important part of farm simulation games, adding a well-balanced character creation process would be of great benefit to the gameplay in the game. Harvest days. While clothing can still be acquired later in the game, the ability to customize basic facial features and hairstyles would also help the game be more appealing to players.
While farming games like History of the seasons: pioneers of Olive Town and Valley of stars both have limited maps for the city, wild areas and farms, Harvest days has incorporated an open world map for players to explore. The wide world is designed with low-poly art direction, making the environments colorful and unique. The general appearance is similar to a brightly colored version of Valheim. Although in the early stages of playable development, the visuals are one of the best aspects of the game and are a refreshing change from the chibi styles of Harvest moon and History of seasons, or the gritty pixelated world of Valley of stars. However, while the animals, flora, and fauna are all pleasing to the eye, the city buildings and the farmhouse are square and could use some embellishments to create a more finished appearance.
The biggest setback currently in Harvest days is the movement and navigation of the characters. While the shortcut bar and inventory user interface is seamless and intuitive, actually getting around the farm and outdoor areas can be a slow and frustrating process. With an over the shoulder perspective, the main character often blocks out what needs to be seen when planting seeds or interacting with animals. The playable character also tends to stutter and glide through objects, and tilts sharply to the left or right when running depending on which direction the player is heading. Interacting with objects and land can be just as frustrating as moving around, with the target field not always engaging when players are plowing the land or watering the crops. These quality of life issues slow down both daily chores and exploration, taking away the fun of building a farm.
Another area that could benefit from improvements and balancing is the energy use system. As in other farming simulation games, Harvest days uses an energy bar to limit what players can accomplish in a day. However, in an open world with a lot to explore and do, this limitation actually damages gameplay. Currently, players can burn a full energy bar just by plowing a handful of farm plots, planting seeds, and watering them for the day. Because Harvest days is designed with exploration in mind and provides players with a large amount of room to cultivate and develop, having an energy bar that runs out more slowly is a must for balance.
Although there is currently room for improvement in Harvest days, the game does a good job of bringing new ideas to a genre with predictable gameplay. Harvest days would probably appeal to fans of Garden legs and other open-world simulation games, as well as fans of more linear titles like Valley of stars. With improvements to character creation and navigation, Harvest days just might make a fun and experimental indie addition to the farming simulation genre.
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Harvest days is currently in pre-alpha for PC via Steam. A Steam code has been provided to Screen Rant for the purposes of this preview.
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