The Future Games Show has just unveiled Monster Harvest - a life simulation game about chopping trees, smacking slimes, and growing creatures to fight in forest battles. In other words, the best kind of holiday you can get right now without risking a two week quarantine.
Like many of the genre’s successes in recent years, Monster Harvest has its roots in Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing (opens in new tab), but rejects their pacifism. Yes, you’re sowing fields against a picturesque backdrop that could be described as autumnal if some of the tree’s weren’t bright blue. But when those crops reach full height, they become sentient creatures, called Planimals.
Planimals follow you around as you explore dungeons, and do battle with the monsters you encounter as you watch from the sidelines, in a manner reminiscent of Pokemon.
As you explore Planimal Point, you’ll find stores where you can buy furniture to do up your expanding house. The trailer shows a graveyard, a plaza, a potion shop, and what appears to be a hospital; even disregarding the company of the monsters, this idyllic life is far from solitary. And when you’re sick of people, you can always return home to irrigate your fields, build scarecrows, and muck about with the crafting system.
Monster Harvest wears its influences on its muddy sleeve - Stardew Valley (opens in new tab) fans will recognise the isometric art, while Ooblets players have been farming and collecting creatures for a little while now. There’s even a mount that looks rather like a Chocobo, for the Final Fantasy heads. Only you can know whether this particular configuration of beloved elements is for you.
Monster Harvest is coming soon, from publisher Merge Games (opens in new tab).