With finals coming to ahead for us summer class folk, I find myself burdened with a barrage of papers and projects. Like many of you, finding time between nausea and crafting flashcards can be a cumbersome, but necessary, evil. I have recently heard of a controversy that is spreading throughout the Stardew Valley fandom like wildfire. This source of this blaze? Harvest Town.
I have heard many a negative thing about Harvest Town including the fact that it’s just a complete duplicate of our favorite farming simulator and that to have a good time, one must pay to play. I decided to throw down my textbooks, cast aside my feelings of dread, and find out the truth. Perhaps Harvest Town, like many other new-age farming RPGs is just getting a bad rep, and I wanted to forge the difference between fact and fiction.
Harvest Town is a pixel-style farming simulation mobile game that boasts a high degree of freedom. Not only can one breed a variety of animals, infuse crops of different seasons together, one also has free exploration within the town, and the ability to harvest friendships with unique characters. These aspects, along with typical run-of-the-mill farming elements, sounds like the makings of a fabulous game. I must also add; the storyline is quite unique in the fact that a family member didn’t have to die for the character to receive the farm.
The game begins with the character reminiscing about their time living on the farm. They moved to the city to start their career at a young age however, they have now become older and almost resentful. What would life have been like if they had just stayed on their farm like everyone begged them to? After this slightly depressive display, they go to bed only to wake up young and surrounded by a weathered, unkept farm. Their grandfather begins asking if they are ready to leave for their job in the city but is met with an eager no. It appears that sleeping on a wish brought the protagonist back in time right before they left their farm forever.
Now, I was fascinated by this premise however, after the cutscene was over, I was bombarded with dialogue that moved too fast, leaving me feeling irritated during what should have been a happy moment. It took a while for me to figure out that I had to click a “slow” button in the corner if I wanted any chance at conversing with her grandpa. I remedied this mishap, determined to not let it get to me, and continued learning how to plow my new plot of land. All was great, I grew some beets, met some locals, and even cleared out some of my fields. That is until an option came up on my screen asking if I wanted to adopt a cow. Of course, I did, cows are amazing! After I clicked the exciting prompt, I came face to face with diamonds. Harvest Town wanted me to pay real-world money, for an in-game cow.
While the cow incident of 2019 really upset my already fragile state I’d like to challenge some of the statements I’ve read about Harvest Town. It’s not a Stardew Valley copycat. Yes, it’s a farming game, but so are hundreds of other RPGs. It has its own flair that allows players to explore a new point of view. The controls are easy for anyone to pick up and the graphics are cute especially for a mobile game. However, the cow thing really got to me. I don’t want to pay real money for a digital cow, I’d rather purchase a real cow. Overall, Harvest Town has its pros but it also has a few serious cons.