I’ll try any video game once, even ones I don’t typically go for. This is why my gaming history jumps from FIFA to Papers Please to Elden Ring (that’s also why this site has so many varied reviews and previews) Having filled in a few /100 meme pictures I’ve realised quite how many games I’ve played might not be the norm. Taking time away from playing Vampire Survivors for the hundredth hour I fired up my Switch as I was sent a code for Cellular Harvest on Switch to review. I operate a strict policy of reviewing everything sent to the site (there is a backlog that is being chipped through) and indie games can have the best little gems tucked away. Sadly Cellular Harvest isn’t one of them.
Cellular Harvest is a Pokémon Snap-like experience where you’re dropped on an alien planet to walk around and photograph lifeforms. As you wander around you’ll need to take photos of enough of each lifeform to finish the catalogue and move on. There’s no grading of the photos, as long as it’s in frame and the lens is green you’re good to go. There’s a nice retro PlayStation 1 style to the graphics but what was quite surprising was that instead of using this aesthetic to make the creatures stand out from these retro landscapes they almost entirely blend into the surroundings making finding everything tedious.
The controls are disappointingly clunky and floaty. Given you’re on an alien planet the moon jumping and lack of falling damage is fine but pushing in the left analogue stick to run (and hold it) is always uncomfortable. Exploring the areas becomes less exciting when you realise the reason for all the platforms isn’t to survive a large drop, you’ll likely be coming back this way to find a creature you missed. While you walk around you switch to the camera mode with L and if you’re close enough that’s another shot in the bag. It’s strange that Cellular Harvest advertises itself as a lo-fi game when the camera sound is so sharp and loud.
What’s such a disappointment about Cellular Harvest is there’s some potential here but it’s buried under dull gameplay and a lack of polish. I’ve played plenty of games on itch.io that are unfinished, just to put forward an idea, get some feedback and work more on it. Cellular Harvest feels like a game that was launched shortly after the prototype phase. Walking around alien environments taking photos of strange and wonderful creatures could have been a brilliantly chill experience with some nice surprises to explore and see but instead is a dull and hollow time making me long for a game that doesn’t exist.
2/10 – Best off harvesting something else
Review code provided by aPriori Digital check them out here