Action RPGs are a nice fit for mobile devices - and Windows Phone 7 desperately needs one in order to compete with the likes of Dungeon Hunter, 100 Rogues and, well, the all the rest on iOS and Android.
Cue The Harvest: a 3D roleplaying experience full of mechs, sweet visuals, an engrossing comic-book storyline and plenty of achievements for committed gamers to snag. Verily, Luma Arcade has waded into the deep end and managed to take advantage of the advanced gaming capabilities offered by the WP7 platform.
It's strange, therefore, that they've managed to completely cock up the basics.
Taking command of a powerful mech, players embark on an action-packed adventure through massive sprawling maps; facing off against legions of invading aliens as they uncover the mysteries buried beneath an ancient city. Plenty of character upgrades, optional missions await the intrepid - and the story is surprisingly engaging despite being thin on the ground.
The inventory system works very well, using a streamlined selection of upgrade chips that can be assimilated for permanent upgrades and to free up inventory space. It's a nice touch that stops the ever-present danger of loot malaise.
The Harvest ultimately fails due to its poor choice of combat and movement mechanics. Rather than offering a virtual thumbstick and attack icons, you need to tap on areas to move to and enemies to fight, which results in you just having to sit back and watch as your character stands dead still and shoots the equally immobile bad guys. There's no sense of engagement or excitement, and more to the point, it's staggeringly boring.
There are also other problems with this setup. You'll frequently have to obscure the screen with your finger in order to move northwards, and pulling off special skills can be aggravatingly fiddly (requiring an inappropriate double tap in the middle of combat).
It's a shame that such fine potential was ruined by weak mechanics. And it's absolutely shameful for over a fiver. A game cannot live on graphics alone.
- Large, sprawling maps
- Great visuals
- Surprisingly engaging storyline
- Combat and movement mechanics soon become horribly boring
- Extremely shallow
- Ridiculous pricing
Summary: The Harvest showed huge potential - and as one of the tiny number of WP7 RPGs, will probably sell well. It's a shame that it arguably doesn't deserve to.
Developer: Luma Arcade
Price: £5.49 - Zune