May 11, 2021

Lightning in a Bottle - Harvested (Steam) Review

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TL;DR: Harvested is the latest addition to the action strategy genre. Combining the elements of strategy with over the top shooting creates a rather unique and pleasant gaming experience. 

hard Vested

They say lightning never strikes twice in the gaming industry. Vashta Entertainment is looking to test that theory with their latest RTS/shooter hybrid, Harvested.

Ever since the release of the top-rated PC game, Uprising by Cyclone Studios in 1997, which combined the action of first-person shooter and real-time strategy, it heralded a benchmark in hybrid gaming. Now, Vashta Entertainment is looking to carve a niche for itself with its most recent offering, Harvested.

Harvested, in a nutshell, is another genre-blending title that combines over-the-top shooting with real-time strategy, which results in so much coolness that it makes you wonder why other developers aren’t doing it nearly enough.

TIP: Enemy demons usually attack one particular area, so make sure you have some defenses built there.

Harvested, in a nutshell, is another genre-blending title that combines over-the-top shooting with real-time strategy, which results in so much coolness that it makes you wonder why other developers aren’t doing it nearly enough.

reap what you sow

The story is pretty standard fare, but still intriguing. You are part of the last remaining humans trying to settle in a world shared with other inhabitants. As an RTS, Harvested has you wandering around the world map and gathering resources to sustain your population. Certain points on the map are controlled by the other inhabitants that frequently attack and terrorize your community.

Capturing, controlling, and holding areas is the main strategic motivation behind the action. Once you find a settlement, you can build soldiers to help defend your colony or create farmers to assist you in gathering wood by chopping down trees or increasing the food supply by farming. Either way, it’s exhilarating to see your community grow and thrive despite living in such dangerous conditions.

Of course, part of the interest I have with Harvested is the top-down shooter component. Here, you guide your character in a traditional top-down perspective searching for new land to settle or simply continue on an existing quest. You can recruit soldiers to take with you in case you meet some unexpected monsters along the way.

Visually, Harvested is a good-looking game with lots of animated sprites and well-designed environments. The colors can feel a little drab at times with its dark color pallet making it feel like your underground instead of on the surface. The camera is zoomed out a little too far, and zooming in makes things somewhat blurry, so you never get to appreciate the details that the game world has to offer. But with so much going on, it’s hardly something to complain about and makes little difference in the overall experience.

TIP: Build lighting structures to reveal darkened areas.

The real-time strategy idea isn’t new and the top-down shooter is as old as time, but when you mix them together along with some creative designs, you get something that is generally groundbreaking at best.

HappY harvesting

For a hybrid game, the pace is exactly where it should be and players have to be quick on their feet to keep up. The strategy element isn’t a gimmick either, and without careful planning, no amount of soldiers and troops can carry the day. While the early missions are just elaborate tutorials, missions in later levels quickly ramp up to the point where the player can expect a serious amount of butt-kicking before gaining a hard-earned victory.

Despite its unique gameplay, several quirks are noticeable from the start. For one, there seem to be quite a few crashes during the time I spent with the game. There’s also the obvious AI anomaly in which your troops fire at empty landscapes or at invisible enemies. Oddly enough, aside from some of the frustrating and repetitive levels, these minor annoyances don’t affect the game’s addictive qualities at all. And since the developers are committed to ironing out these issues, you can expect a more polished game the more you play.

Harvested does not support any multiplayer modes making it strictly a single-player experience, but the large Campaign and Survival mode will keep you preoccupied for a good amount of time. The real-time strategy idea isn’t new and the top-down shooter is as old as time, but when you mix them together along with some creative designs, you get something that is generally groundbreaking at best. If you’re looking for a game that’s fast, challenging, and well thought out, I can’t recommend Harvested enough. It’s that good.

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