Harvest Moon: One World is a farming style game similar to Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing. The game is available now on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. It is a game where you take control of a character and aim to improve a town and a farm.
The world in Harvest Moon: One World doesn’t feel alive. Unlike others in the genre this title just doesn’t stand out: It lacks personality and charm. I often found myself travelling through the different villages and thinking to myself “is that the exact same building I passed earlier?” The graphics are also a huge letdown, however the blame could lie with the Switch here rather than the game, but everything just looks low-res and horrible. It’s also worth mentioning that this game runs at 30 frames-per-second on the Switch and whilst high frame-rates aren't needed in games like this, it's definitely something to take note of as it just doesn’t feel as smooth.
When moving from area to area the Switch definitely struggles, with buildings popping out of nowhere even when you're in areas that you wouldn’t think would make it struggle. Characters and objects both frequently disappear which is frustrating especially when you're trying to find a specific character to speak to.
Speaking of disappearing, so does every side character's backstory. There is nothing special about any character that isn’t a bachelor or a bachelorette, whereas in previous games you get to know local villagers akin to Animal Crossing. Here, you could probably tell me more about the characters by looking at them rather than expecting the game to give you any kind of information on them.
“This game really emphasises exploration” is what I was told in the preview that I attended for this in February 2021; unfortunately this statement isn’t entirely true. While you are very much encouraged to explore, earlier in the game I found that once I had established a decent farm with lots of crops and watering systems etc. I just wasn’t incentivised to explore and find new kinds of seeds, especially when the seeds I had found gave me a good amount of profit. Sure, it’s fun to explore all the villages and different areas of the game at the beginning, however, once you do establish a well-built routine you just really don’t need to explore too much.
There are a few systems in Harvest Moon: One World that aren’t seen in other games of this genre, the most significant of which being mutations. Mutations allow you to plant a seed in summer and get a tomato, whereas when you plant it in the winter you might get a frozen tomato. Once I found out a few combinations I attempted to recreate them as they yield good profits compared to the normal variants. When copying exactly what I did the first time, the mutation just didn’t work. This is incredibly frustrating as the main distinguishing feature compared to other titles is the mutation system.
You can have pets in this game: dogs, cats, horses and even camels are among some of the wide range of mounts available. This is great and the game definitely encourages you to use different mounts in different situations. Take the camel for example: While the camel is great at travelling in sandy terrains, it fails when placed in the spring area. Whereas when you use the horse it’s great in the spring area but sucks in the desert. This definitely made me think about which mount I should take out when travelling to different areas.
Harvest Moon: One World (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)
The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.
Harvest Moon: One World is quite fun when played for the first 20+ hours. However, the lack of relatable characters definitely stands out here. The game also stumbles after completing the story to pull me back into the game for a long play session.