Galaxy Harvest

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3.9/5 (37 votes)

Seed, develop and harvest interplanetary life to sustain your advanced civilization in this realtime strategy game from Lev Simonov and Anna Maskaleva. Watch out for space locusts!

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silent george November 24, 2014 6:14 PM

Am I missing something? I've been harvesting for 4 million year, have 23 tech points, but everything in the tech lab is locked.

silent george November 24, 2014 6:28 PM

Oh, thanks. I was wasting time trying to get the tech lab to open up, and didn't notice that you could upgrade the tech itself on the HQ planet. It needs to glow or something during the tutorial.

Patreon Donator Infant Tyrone November 25, 2014 12:13 AM

Aside for some jerkiness in navigating around the universe (which is probably my machine, to be honest,) I had a grand old time with this. It reminds me of Spaceward Ho!


An interesting concept, and it looks like I would enjoy playing it, but there is just waaaaaaaaaay too much going on at once. I think it would have been a wiser decision to have very limited functionality in the beginning and slowly add more and more options as you progress through the first several levels. So first level would be just exploring. Second level would add sowing/seeding (also, should be consistent with terminology--use one word or the other). Third level would add Harvesting. And so on and so on...

Personally, I just stopped playing after exploring and seeding one other planet because I simply just didn't know what was going on. There's percentages and decimals around each planet, stuff is scrolling across the bottom of the screen, I've got "AutoHarvest" check boxes and slider bars. Size, Habitability, Lifeform...!

It was just too damn much at once and not much was explained to me other than the fact that I use biomass to send the ships to explore and stuff. Okay...? So I need to spend biomass... to get more biomass?? How exactly does that work!? I can just let the game sit idle and my Biomass gradually goes up. Why explore? Why play!? Just in the time it took me to write this comment I managed to achieve well over the required 1,000 biomass goal of the first level and I never even clicked on anything! So now what? Just spend all my biomass to explore and seed/sow everything just to... um... well, I guess to replenish the biomass I had spent? This game makes no sense.

Like I stated: This *looks* like an excellent game, full of strategy and planning, but without any real explanation of what *anything* does, it turns into a what-does-this-do? clickfest. Or an idle game, depending on how you look at it. Either way: Pass.

I'd give it 2 out of 5 stars. One star for looking cool and another for having potential.


The comments made by Baxter Cornelius seem to be a little biased; based on what I can tell, he only did the first level, where as the game tends to explain itself better later on.

The game however, is not without flaws and achievements so here are my thoughts on it.

The game has a certain Master of Orion-y feeling to it (may be mostly because of the music, though). The main levels (which to say, the tutorials) are structured in a way as to introduce more game elements, which by itself is a good way to introduce the game, although the first level does let some explanation to be done (for those not familiar with this kind of game setting).

The second level introduces you to technology and upgrades, the third to enemy civilizations (which become your source for tech points), the fourth to planetary climates, the fifth to the different "personalities" enemy civilizations can have, the sixth to terraforming, the seventh to Locusts, the eight to black holes and the ninth to extra tech. The tenth level is the final test.

The game itself has some minor issues. When selecting a planet, the camera centers itself on it, which is bothersome when having a global focus. A button to turn off the centering would be helpful, although this problem is lessened the less zoom (i.e. the more planets you can see) you have. There also doesn't seem to be autopausing while checking the planet list, which is odd, but manageable.

A quick analysis of the plot shows some flaws. The intro cutscene introduces you to the Galaxy Empire that lacked a resource - biomass. To produce it, they sent seeder ships to every planet for it to grow and be harvested in an never-ending industry. I find it hard to believe that an organization of that magnitude can't find a way to produce (and control) biomass in any sufficient quantity. The role of biomass is also never explained thoroughly, although both the player and the AI use it for everything so... biomass = unobtanium?

On to the game itself. The mechanics are solid, they work and they make a compelling gameplay, if at times you have to play with the slowest speed setting, due to everything that happens as you scale your worlds. They may be overly simplistic, and here are my main problems with the game.

To start with, the game pretty much automates the process of harvesting for you. This is good - it prevents me from checking on menial tasks and concentrating on actual problems. However, as you get deeper into the tutorial, you get access to two more harvesters, a heavy harvester and a battle harvester. The game never uses any harvester other than the regular one, which then means that whenever I feel like a planet needs a good harvesting, I need to do it by hand.

The battle harvester suffers from another problem. Its main use is to remove population from enemy civilizations or Locusts. The problem is that they cost more than what they take. This happens until you have developed your Capacity up to level 9-ish. Even still, travel costs scale by distance so even with the bare minimum technological development it may not yet be cost effective to use them.

The second set of problems comes with the enemy civilizations. You need to defeat a planet for tech points. This is an interesting mechanic, coupled with the fact the amount of tech you get is paired with how much you have, makes managing all competing empires an interesting problem. However, due to the limitations with the tutorial and the tech tree development, there are few incentives to keep them around after the tech tree is filled. Also, they are a constant threat to your headquarter. Nothing stops me from blasting their planet with a single fighter as soon as they get to a level where they can threaten me.

There is also a babysitting issue with the civilizations. Despite being a threat, whenever they expand to another planet, they also convert it to their tech level (which is a bonus if the planet was underdeveloped). However, there are civilizations that destroy themselves and the environment. This makes managing the civilizations your concern, because those civilizations, if left to their devices, may never reach the higher tech levels needed. Considering that you get the civilization's personalities when the planets reach level 4, there is little stopping you from keeping "good" personalities ans wiping out the bad ones at start. This micromanagement is offsetting, to say the least. Locust, which are similar to barbarians wiping planets, are also easily dealt with, because of the delay they have when appear and attack.

The last point is the terraforming. Attacking a planet cuts down 0.1 points of habitability, which determines (as well as current population) how fast population grows on a planet. Some civilizations also increase or decrease their habitability score as they exist (effects of pollution, I suppose). Planets with 0 and lower habitability can't harbor life and any remaining life gets killed off. As I said earlier, you need to attack planets. Luckily, there is also a terraformer (that gives up to 0.5 points to a maximum of 1.3). The problem is that it costs too much. This is also coupled with the slow return on investment harvesting gives. Without terraforming, the game will eventually bog down; however terraforming eats a lot of the profits. There is also an option late into the game to create a black hole, which speeds up tenfold a planet's development. However, auto harvesters don't follow that speedup and hence where it would matter to use the heavy harvesters, the game forces you to do it by hand. As the tech level of planets is also developed, it means that in order to control the planet effectively, this is only usable near your HQ.

Minor nitpicking is why the HQ has health and can't be moved, but overall, the most glaring faults have been said before.

I'm currently at the last level of the tutorial. The other missions (at the "Random Sector" tab) are simply random maps where you have to fulfill different sets of objectives, which, depending on the objective, may be enjoyable challenges.

I would give it a 3 out of 5. It has a solid gameplay but is bogged down by the many issues it has, making this RTS more of an industry simulator (which the intro cutscene is quick to point).


I eventually managed to end the tutorial (and greeted by a message stating they didn't expect anyone to get that far).

I've started a random game (this case the locust invasion) and to be fair, the lack of the upgrades one had in the tutorial is a challenge to cope, more so because locust strike early enough such that it may be preferable to let planets develop longer (so that they can defend themselves). This may be however broken by the following though:

In the end of that game, I managed to advance all 2nd tier technologies until I no longer had biomass to either harvest planets or seed them or defend myself. I then lost due to successive strikes.

After restarting, I noticed I could use heavy seeders. After checking the tech screen, I noticed I still had level 2 tech.

This seems like a bug, mostly because (in this setting) it takes off some of the challenge in gathering tech points and it allows for more developed planets early on. On levels where technology is needed, this might remove a lot of the challenge.

halogen3.14 January 21, 2015 9:03 AM

Anyone managed to

find out what the deep blue (atomic symbol like) special ability of the civilizations. I have completely beaten the game and have played for at least a week but still there is no instance of that special ability popping up in any of the civilizations?


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