Monster Harvest review for Nintendo Switch, PS4/5, Xbox One/Series X

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One
Publisher: Merge Games
Developer: Maple Powered Games
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

As I mentioned not too long ago, lately ? and for the first time ever in my life ? I?ve been on a bit of a Pok?mon kick. It started with a clone (albeit a very good clone), but since then I?ve found myself not just giving Pok?mon games a chance, but also really enjoying them.

With that in mind, I was pretty interested in playing Monster Harvest. After all, its big thing is that it?s a cross between a monster-breeding game and a farming sim ? which, itself, is another genre I?ve occasionally been able to get into. The idea of being able to grow plants and turn them into pet monsters is an intriguing one, so I was keen to see how it all turned out.

The short answer: nowhere near as good as you?d hope.

In fairness, the farming part of the game isn?t bad. It?s nothing special, and certainly nothing unique, but it?s at least okay for what it is. You clear the land, you sow your seeds, you water them, you go to bed every night when you exhaust your stamina, and then you repeat the next day. You can also talk to fellow villagers if you want, though none of them offer anything in the way of compelling conversation. All in all, even if it?s nowhere near as zen as, say, Farming Simulator, Monster Harvest is still okay as a, uh, farming simulator.

Where things fall apart is when we get to the ?Monster” part of the equation. For one thing, your monsters aren?t that interesting, and there aren?t very many ? only 72 in total, so you tend to see the same generic-looking blobs over and over again. What?s more, they only have a few, very limited attacks, which means that whenever you encounter another monster during your dungeon-crawling, you?re seeing the same basic animations over and over again in a dull war of attrition.

There?s also the problem of training your monsters. Even when they unlock more powers, we?re still only talking three attacks per monster, so it?s not like there?s some huge variety. Further, leveling up is kind of useless, since it doesn?t refresh your monster?s health ? and since, as I said, every battle is a slow war of attrition, all that means is that you have to go back and rest up regularly, rather than allowing your monsters to get more powerful and healthier the further into a dungeon they get.

It?s a shame that the execution is so bad, since, as I said, there?s a good idea at the core of Monster Harvest. Given that there are plenty of very good monster-breeding games and farming sims out there ? even if not necessarily in the same game ? you?re much better off playing those in tandem rather than suffering through this.

Merge Games provided us with a Monster Harvest Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C-