Review: Harvest – Massive Encounter
I have always been a fan of real-time strategy (RTS) and the tower defense (TD) genre of games. Whether it is Starcraft or Plants vs. Zombies, each of these games provide their own unique challenges and qualities. Harvest: Massive Encounter is a combination of the two genres. There are the strategies of an RTS game, but since you can only place and use immovable towers, it feels like a TD. So the idea may appeal to fans of those genres, but does this game make it work?
Well, the answer is….yes it does work. The formula Harvest uses is both fun and thought provoking. The game can be challenging and getting through the first planet on normal mode will take time. It is unfortunate though that I have to explain how the game as a whole doesn’t work quite as well.
You can play one of five different modes on three different planets: Normal Mode, which is the standard game without any gameplay additions; Wave Mode, where you fight ten waves of enemies; Rush Mode, where there’s an amount infinite enemies attacking you; Insane Mode, which is normal mode but much harder; and Creative Mode, where you can play the game as you please.
While these modes are slightly different from each other (aside from Creative Mode), the procedure is too similar that playing outside the normal mode isn’t much different. Though, at least in wave mode you can build your defense ahead of time without enemy attacks and see how it fares. This is where the game could have used an interesting story mode to explain why I should care about colonizing these planets or have characters to relate to. Instead you’re more just playing for high scores and to test out your strategy skills, which is fine if you like that.
There are only five units in the game: the solar plant, energy link, harvester, defense laser towers, and missile turrets. The solar plant makes energy that you send to other towers through energy links. The harvester gathers resources used to buy units. The defense laser and missile turret towers are used to defend your base.
You can build a solid base with just the five unit types and there are different strategies to use in creating your defenses, such as using a lot of super powered weapons (see death star laser tower screenshot above). However, since there are only five unit types, your defense strategy tends to become very similar with each passing game. Take that and the fact that the AI essentially just rushes you the whole time, and things get repetitive after a few games.
I should also note that the presentation and sound are not that impressive. I can tell the developers at Oxeye Games were going for the 1990’s RTS look with this game, but the planet layout and unit models just look dull in my opinion and the sound is nothing special.
Although The game does have all these issues, Harvest: Massive Encounter still does work as an RTS/TD hybrid of gameplay and is fun to play. These are issues though that did hurt my experience and I would only recommend this game if you’re into beating high scores and testing out your RTS and TD skills.
Summary: Harvest: Massive Encounter is fun and works as a RTS/TD hybrid, but otherwise the game is moderate due to the minimal presentation and limited unit types.
Verdict: 5 out of 10
Platforms: PC, Mac OS X