Monster Harvest is a combination farming and monster collecting game. The farming section is nearly identical to Stardew Valley, so if you have played and enjoyed that then you should feel confident you will enjoy the farming aspect of Monster Harvest. Where the game falls flat for me is in the monster collecting part.
Throughout the game you can use slime on your plants to create creatures called planimals. Very basic but interesting premise, these planimals travel alongside you as you explore dungeons and then will fight to help protect you. The battle mechanics are so simple as to be boring. All planimals (at least the early game ones) have the same three sets of moves and at early levels only know one move. Here’s the real problem though, when encountering wild planimals there seem to be no rules applied to them. I was running into level 1 planimals that were able to use higher level abilities and deal more damage than my own level 1 or even level 2. Health is depleted so much from fighting that you can basically explore one room of a dungeon, fight one wild planimal, before needing to leave to heal your planimal because if it gets to 0 hp not only do you get booted from the dungeon, that planimal is gone forever. Now it’s death won’t be totally in vain, you can use the essence from it to upgrade your soil so that your planimals will start at higher levels. But this makes the early game such a grind that I couldn’t get past it. Do you get some pretty cool looking planimals later in the game? According to the trailer, yes. Do the fight mechanics improve? I don’t know, and honestly it was so boring I didn’t want to find out.
My other major problem was the complete lack of tutorials. As someone really new to farming games, I really had no real clue what I was doing and there was no guidance given. When it comes to the planimal section, outside of being told to add the slime to your plants to make them you’re essentially on your own. I don’t mind minimal guidance, or even making the tutorial optional, but I feel like with a game like this I need something to help me get going in the right direction.
My biggest problem with the game is actually just with the Switch version, so I’m not sure if this is a widespread console issue or just on the Switch. But the numbers for what was in your inventory or how much money you have was so small that I don’t think you could read it even with a magnifying glass. Item descriptions were also tiny, thank goodness character dialogue wasn’t or else it would have been completely unplayable. The controls were also messed up, sometimes taking me pushing a button multiple times for it to register what I was doing, or the opening screen when you were naming your character and farm had issues pulling up the keyboard to type. I downloaded the PC demo and all those issues were resolved, I could read everything ok and the controls worked significantly better.
Graphically this game looks fine, the backgrounds look a lot better than the characters, but the style of art for the characters can have its charms. I’ll admit, it just wasn’t my type of game, later game might play a lot better, but it was not fun enough for me to get to that point. All the problems the Switch version may have left me with a more negative opinion than if I had played the PC version. I thought the combination of farming and monster collecting would be fun, but the monster collecting side just wasn’t very fun for me, I’d rather go play Pokemon for that type of game. Overall, I’d give this game a 5/10, if you decide to try it do yourself a favor and get it for PC.