App Army Assemble: Arabilis: Super Harvest - "Does farming, puzzles and roguelike elements make for a good mix?"

We ask the App Army

App Army Assemble: Arabilis: Super Harvest - "Does farming, puzzles and roguelike elements make for a good mix?"

Arabilis: Super Harvest is a farming-based game from developer Tim Overvliet that recently released for iOS and Android. It sees players setting about planting crops using colour matching mechanics. Although that might sound like a relaxing time, the game throws several roguelike mechanics into the mix to make everything a bit trickier. We decided to hand the game over to our App Army to see how they handled the pressures of farm life.

Here's what they said:

Mark Abukoff

I didn’t have a lot of time to give to this, this week. But it’s an interesting gardening simulator/puzzler that basically involves planting different kinds of crops in gardens of various sizes. Timing and techniques and placement come into play. There are different modes of play, either relaxing with no weather or animals to worry about, or you can play with random challenges each time.

The music is appropriate for the game but wasn’t really to my taste. The mechanics are simple and the tutorial takes you through them quickly and effectively. All in all, I’m not really a fan of gardening simulator games so it didn’t really do much for me on that level, but I think it’s well-made with appealing graphics and an interesting puzzle mechanic with just enough time pressure to keep you moving. If you like puzzles and gardening simulators, you’ll probably enjoy this.

Chad Jones

I love garden sim type games and I like a lot of puzzle games. At first take, I went through the tutorial and my first thought was wow there are a lot of different mechanics to this puzzler. Hoping I would not be completely lost, I found myself understanding this game the more I played through it and I would recommend playing the relaxing mode before you hit the challenging mode just because it would benefit you in better learning the end game of the puzzler but do not feel bad if you feel a bit lost. I thought the visuals were just fine (plus I really don't mind the pixelated style graphics) as well as the music. If you like puzzle games I think there's a lot here to learn/discover and it will keep you coming back. I definitely want to spend more time with it and attempt to master its mechanics.

Hope Sellers

The game music is very relaxing. But I still feel confused on the game mechanics. I just tried matching the plants to the last one like it said and kept getting a top score somehow, Haha. but I think I just need to more time with the game. But if you like puzzles and are good at them and cute pixel graphics then you’ll love this game. I don’t hate it, just need more time because I’m a little bad at puzzles.

Bruno Ramalho

Lovely little puzzler we got here. Cute pixelized graphics, cute soundtrack, and cute animal characters that talk to us warning us that something is about to happen. I like the varied mechanics of the game where you have to connect various types of seeds in the ground, which in turn will evolve into some kind of vegetable, and even a super vegetable if surrounded by all sides by full-grown vegetables. We have to be very good at positioning seeds, as they will only connect with others from specific sides, and we need those connections so they can grow. Especially when we get to harvest time, if we have any seeds with no connections, we lose them, and that’s one step closer to a game over.

The mechanics of the game keep evolving and there are even animals that we have to take care of that try to eat our vegetables (we bump them on the head whac-a-mole style). There’s a tutorial in the beginning that I found a little bit confusing at first, but there was a problem with the positioning of vegetables on the ground that was promptly fixed by an update and then it all clicked. I will surely play this game some more, as there are a lot of techniques to be developed to get a high score. Fun game!

Pierpaolo Morgante

ASH is a well-crafted puzzle game where the goal is to plant crops and harvest them. Crops need to have three roots to be fully grown, something that can only be achieved if the player strategically places them. Harvesting is done automatically after a given amount of time. All in all, ASH is fun to play, and it has a high re-playability value since the gardens for your crops vary in size, depend on the season, and can be affected by random events such as animals. The graphics are pretty, although the hen that walks the player through the tutorial is a little creepy. I think ASH is worth giving a try, considering that it has been developed by a single person. Absolutely recommended to anyone who enjoys puzzle games.

Brian Wigington

I am a sucker for a good match X game and I have enjoyed several farm-based ones before. At first, Arabilis seemed like a bit of a handful due to the multiple ways to match and the time component to harvest your fruits and veggies. The tutorial has multiple parts to help understand most of the concepts pretty well although some may prefer to go through it twice to make sure you have it down. Essentially, you are tasked with filling your garden, which is a grid of square dirt plots, with various veggie and fruit seedlings to grow the best and biggest crops when harvest time comes. Planting the same type/colour of plant adjacent to each other is key in order to grow them.

There are ways to get big bonuses by doing things like surrounding a crop on all sides with the same plant to create a huge veggie or fruit. When harvest time comes the crops that have been produced will be harvested and any seeds that haven't grown yet are lost. Therein lies the strategy to stay "profitable" and keep things moving. I did enjoy the various strategies which are shown in the training levels and I can see that the game goes a bit deeper than some other games of this type. However, those in search of a simple match 3 type of game may get turned off due to the different style of gameplay and the bit of time pressure due to the harvest mechanic.

I liked the pixel graphics and the music, while a little bland at times, was rather soothing. I feel like the asking price is reasonable considering it is pretty well made and has a neat style not quite like other matching/farming games. If you want something a little different that will take a bit of time to master, Arabilis may be right up your alley.

Oksana Ryan

This game is interesting and easy to play once the tutorial has been completed. Compared to many games the tutorial is very comprehensive and split into sections for easy learning. The retro graphics are cute, the background music/sounds fit the retro feel and the gameplay is easy to grasp.

Instead of the usual plant and grow style games, Arabilis requires you to match plant roots in patterns to grow a bumper crop and if you are clever with the planting you can grow super vegetables that are many times the size of the crop around it. There are seasons to follow and various crops to plant giving the game plenty of variety. There is definitely lots here for lovers of this genre.

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Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen brings both a love of games and a very formal-sounding journalism qualification to the Pocket Gamer team.