The Harvest Moon franchise is definitely running on some hard times. The latest entry of the series moves away from its farming roots and takes an action puzzle approach.
During E3 2019, we had the chance to play it. Hoping for the best with the series but knowing that the latest releases have not been to spectacular we didn’t know what to expect.
The overall gameplay of Harvest Moon: Mad Dash was very simple. Pick up plots of crops and place them next to matching sets in order to increase the size of them. Increasing the size of the crops nets you a bigger score when you harvest them when ready.
Fruits and vegetables could easily be picked up with a single button, while fishing and milking cow required more button inputs. The round would end when the time expired.
During your play you would increase your power meter that would cause a temporary bonus mode. During this time you would get a higher score with what you gather and crops would be instantly ready to harvest.
To maximize this, its was best to make crops as big a possible. While not in depth, its will be definitely familiar even the most casual gamer.
In some levels obstacles appear to impede your progress. One case in the demo we were hands on with had wild boars that would trample on crops or run into my and stun my character, rocks that would take up space in the play area.
While annoying, it was not anything unmanageable and just required me to pay attention and keep on my toes to work around them. Boars can also crush the rocks which did help a bit during my play.
While the game can be played solo, it’s far better to play with other people. The demo allowed for one other person person to play with me and created a much better experience.
Playing alone was boring and my mind would go on auto pilot to complete the current level. With one other player we were able to coordinate a bit more indirectly adding a layer of depth to the game. On full release the game will be able to support up to four players.
One major thing that was apparent is this game seemed to take inspiration from mobile phone game design. From the simplistic gameplay to the traditional 3 star scoring system.
As it stands, Harvest Moon Mad Dash is a pick up and play game. It doesn’t really have much depth and didn’t really feel to stand out as title to play over a long period and was just meant to jump into in a way anyone can be familiar with.
Harvest Moon Mad Dash will be releasing this fall on the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Hardcore gamers will want to skip out on this title however the younger audience or even families who will want to play together may have a good time. The game will not appeal to everyone however, it can be a fun time if the situation is right.