Xbox game The Harvest returns from the apocalypse to Windows Phone 8 Lumia 1520
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Xbox Game The Harvest returns from the wastelands to Windows Phone 8

When Windows Phone 8 reared its shiny head back in late 2012, there was much cause for celebration. Although the new OS switched kernels from the one used by Windows Phone 7, it retained the ability to run most pre-Windows Phone 8 apps and games. That said, some very important games did not run on the new OS: more than 20 mobile Xbox Games! Considering how many gamers came to Windows Phone specifically for Xbox Games, those compatibility issues among came as quite a blow.

Microsoft and some of the creators of the affected games worked to restore compatibility where they could. One year after the Windows Phone 8 launch, 12 games gained compatibility or received new compatible versions. 20 games remained incompatible however, including some important titles like Fable Coin Golf and Tentacles. Well, it’s been a long time coming but one more Xbox Game just became available again on Windows Phone 8: The Harvest from Luma Arcade.

Back where it belongs, warts and all

The Harvest for Windows Phone

The Harvest is one of those extremely rare things: a high-quality game that is exclusive to Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Steam. Most of the exclusives that anybody cares about eventually became available on iOS or Android, including Wordament, Tentacles, Dodonpachi Maximum, and Kinectimals. But The Harvest hasn't jumped ship yet, and the folks at Luma Arcade apparently never gave up on Windows Phone even after an excessively long period of incompatibility.

Actually, although The Harvest works with Windows Phone 8 again, it still suffers from one little incompatibility issue. The story videos won’t play. After starting a new game, you will receive an error message when the intro video pops up. Don’t fret, though. The message quickly goes away and  you can then proceed to play the game itself; that’s the important part.

Considering that the video playback issue is reportedly the reason that The Harvest was pulled from Windows Phone 8 in the first place and the Store says the game was last updated in 2011, it seems that the only thing that’s changed is someone at Microsoft decided to let Windows Phone 8 players download the game again. Gee, thanks guys! In all seriousness, it’s better to have the game with broken videos than not have the game at all.

Not a farming game

The Harvest for Windows Phone

As for The Harvest itself, it’s an action-RPG set in a distant future in which aliens have conquered humanity. Thanks to the development of armored mech suits, the remaining pockets of humans finally have a chance to fight back.

Players can select from three unique mechs (two must be unlocked by beating the game), each with its own stats and abilities. You’ll have to play through the game with all three characters in order to earn the full 200 GamerScore, but that can be done in less than 10 hours – no biggie.

Simply touch anywhere onscreen to move your character and then tap enemies or objects to interact with them. Even though The Harvest was written as a Windows Phone 7 game and thus runs at a 480 x 800 resolution, it still looks quite good even on newer devices like the Lumia 1520. Chalk that up to quality art design and a good 3D engine.

Although The Harvest never left Windows Phone 7, the world has moved on from that OS. Windows Phone 8 (and now Windows Phone 8.1) are the future. It’s great to have The Harvest back, especially for gamers who purchased it prior to switching over to Windows Phone 8 and lost access to their game. Let’s hope it remains available despite the broken video playback! My advice is to buy it while you can, just in case Microsoft changes its mind.

Now if the big MS would just make The Harvest a universal app so we didn’t have to buy it on both Windows Phone and Windows 8…

  • The Harvest – Windows Phone 7 and 8 – 86 MB – $6.99 – Store Link
  • The Harvest – Windows 8 and RT – 213 MB – $6.99 – Store Link

QR: The Harvest

Thanks to @opticon9 for the tip!

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Reader comments

Xbox Game The Harvest returns from the wastelands to Windows Phone 8

129 Comments

Cut scenes show an error code. You guys could of been polite and answered him.. the WPC community was much nicer during the wp7 days. Read the article though next time to avoid these kinds of answers.

He shouldn't comment without reading the article, though. And none of his comments in this thread have been of any value at all.

Come on dude. It irritates people that your desire to be the first to post comes at the cost of a stupid question. Your question was answered in the article. Please read articles in their entirety before asking questions. Thanks.

Fun game on my Surface RT but got a little too laggy for me to enjoy it.  Hopefully it runs a bit better on my Lumia 920.

Who said anything about acceptability? The FMVs don't work; that is a fact. The game itself does. Are you suggesting that people who purchased the game on WP7 should not be able to play it on WP8 because of the FMV issue?

I'm saying their shouldn't be fmv issues. If you've already purchased it I don't see it as the end of the world, but for first time buyers? UNACCEPTABLE

Well, unless Microsoft ever pays the developer to update it - which they've already proven they won't - it's either no game or game with video playback issues.

Right, I feel like we agree. My only point was if its broken, which it clearly is, don't release it. That's all. Look at a game like battlefield 4. Still broken to this day.

They took the time to port it to the Windows Store. how hard is it to fix this minor problem, which has been broken for two years.

They are not trying, they just don't give a damn

@Paul Acevedo, what is the issue with full motion video? Going by their docs for XAML apps (see section 6.5.3), it seems like they have a policy for FMVs in apps.

Has Microsoft abandoned FMV for games? Or is this a video format issue?

It's just some minor compatibility issue with this particular game resulting from the differences between the WP7 and WP8 operating systems. I'm sure it would be easy to fix by updating the game, but Microsoft appears to have chosen not to fix it so it probably won't ever happen.

Paul, my point is; the developer can also recompile the game and its assets for WP8. Right?

I contacted the developer and apparently they don't even have idea about the status of their game on Windows Store. Here is how it transpired (bottom up):

----------------------------------

Microsoft brought The Harvest "back" to the store. Here is the link:

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/the-harvest/35323b0f-84d8-df11-a844-00237de2db9e
 
You can install in your WP8 device right now.

The only thing missing in Windows Phone 8+ version of the Harvest is FMV (full motion video), which is present in Windows Phone 7 version.

Can you please forward it to the team responsible for Windows Phone version?

TIA.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Brett Seyler
Subject: Re: Luma Arcade Contact Form
To: danglingpointer@hotmail.com

Microsoft pulled The Harvest from the store.  We will be publishing the game on iOS and Android this year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Message from DanglingPointer

 Subject: Regarding The Harvest for WP8

 Dear Developer,

 Please see the blog about your game "The Harvest" relisted on Windows Phone Store: http://www.wpcentral.com/harvest-returns-windows-phone-8

 If you see the comments section, you will find many folks are complaining about FMV missing from the latest version.

 Can you please comply with WP specs and bring back FMV, so your customers can enjoy the feature?

 The entire WP community thanks you. (-8

I don't think recompiling is the right word... As I understand it, they have to basically reprogram the whole thing. It's not a super simple process or we'd see WP8 versions of every WP8-incompatible game.

Good job contacting the devs! I also tweeted them the story, but they haven't responded. I had a feeling they'd be unaware of the game's return until customers told them though.

I wish they would put Harbor Masters on sale.. I love that kind of game but I've never seen it go below $2.99 unfortunately...Yet somehow we see the same red stripe Xbox games every few months....Frustrating.

Contact Microsoft support. It's a common error that the Store forgets random purchases that users have made. I've always received a refund when I complained about it... Silly that the bug exists after all these years though.

Done Paul, apparently clicking 'Buy' then verifies your account and will determine whether you've paid in the past or not. Which worked, downloading now.

Just click the BUY button and then it should say you've already purchased it and the INSTALL button appears. That is what happened for me. If another screen pops up asking you to pay again, then contact customer service

Can confirm. I happily paid $6.99 for it as it was one of the first WP7 games. I just went to the store and it Reinstalled on my WP8.1. No purchace necessary.

Yeah... Good to see it back, but I'm not wasting 7€ on a game that's broken and doesn't have decent graphics. When this goes on sale for 0.99€ maybe...

Wow, I was gonna tip you guys on this when I saw it yesterday. The old Fruit Ninja is playable on WP8 now too. Not as good, obviously, but it's easy achievements.

I'll download it then, because I paid for it when I was on WP7 and had to pay again later for the WP8 version.

It's kind of a rip off, having two fruit ninjas...   we payed for it, we should receive the upgrade like with any other game

I doubt they even tried to update it... If Microsoft won't approve an update to a game they publish, then the update won't happen.

I dont know anymore. When this whole thing started with Windows Phone 7, there was so much promise. Now it seems all growth is stunted by stupidity and plain stubbornness. Decisions that are obvious causing problems, remain intact because they flat out refuse to change their decision. Than what they do get right, they remove or change for the worse in the next update. I honestly think sometimes they should take less concern as to where someone one to college and more to their creativity and vision. Because it is obvious the people making the decisions right now clearly lack both. We have told them what we want and expect, yet they go after the reservation each time and just do what they want. I am the biggest Microsoft fan, but am losing patience with the arrogance, stupidity, and their knack for ignoring their consumer bases requests.

Bet you all these things will be fixed when Microsoft brings Xbox to ios and android. WP on its own isn't worth the effort to them.

Well, WP8 numbers are much higher now... if they simply update what they already have.. make it fully functional, and update the damn XBOX tittle bar from the white to the green, it would actually seem as a brand new release for all those WP8 ownders that never had a WP7 phone.

What I'm saying is that a whole new game might not be worth the effort, but a simple update has the potential to bring even more revenue than they had from before.

For some reason both the direct link from the WPC app and a manual search for the app still shows that I need to pay. Even though I payed for and completed the campaign with one character on WP7.

Just contacted MS, apparently clicking 'Buy' then verifies your purchases and will determine whether you've paid in the past or not, allowing you to download for free if you have. Which worked, I'm downloading now.

I already paid for this game on windows phone 7 and now its asking me too pay again on windows phone 8.1 !Microsoft! Are you joking ? Plus the game is broken! STOP TAKING THE PI$$$$

Just contacted MS, apparently clicking 'Buy' then verifies your purchases and will determine whether you've paid in the past or not, allowing you to download for free if you have. Which worked, I'm downloading now.

I did they told me It was a developer mistake try contacting developer they told me the same thing about weave newsreader when I called back when I got my Lumia 920. Still using the free version of weave tired of calling Microsoft.

That's an ordeal!

Before contacting the developer, please verify:

Are you on the same (regional) store from where you purchased the app?

Are you using the same Microsoft account with which you purchased the app?

Don't worry never contacted seles game, I know it ain't them I've contacted them before and they always respond. And yes i verified regions, and i haven't changed my Microsoft account.

Same here, Same region same account and its still asking me to purchase the game. Oh well was a great game when i played it but definitely not a 2nd time purchases .

I have tons of apps that show up as I have never purchased before. The jump from 7 to 8 was really screwed up in the store

There aren't that many videos. Most of the story is told through in-game cut scenes. If most of the story was unavailable I'd say no, but IMO it's still a good game even without the intro and ending videos.

Since you guys care so much about these microclips, I'll provide a handy cliff's notes about them:

• intro: aliens invade Earth, mech transports carrying allies are shot down. You're in one of them. (approx. 2 to 3 minutes worth of video)
• EVERY intermission: "-it seems he/she/it/whatever made it to [place in game]" "-good, because if SHTF we'll nuke the whole place" (each vid being less than a minute)
• ending: *kaboom* but hero made it and escaped. AND NO WORDS ARE GIVEN (another minute or so)

Wrapping up, no, the whole story is contained in the game and the "videos" are short aftereffects-like static drawings that slide and zoom, and you aren't missing anything worthy without them.

Maybe some nice lad on WP7 can post the FMV cut scenes online so that WP8 gamers can view them. That would mostly solve the problem.

Id really love to see this game get a revival through a new update. Nothing major, all I'd ask for is suitable resolutions and all bugs fixed. Please Luma Arcade!

Now, time to bring Twin Blades back! It works well on my 1020 despite the 800x480 resolution and is definitely worth the money.

Looking forward to give it a spin! (Never heard of this game before, but looks an excellent game)

Broken videos ain't a big deal for me, I've youtube to watch the cutscenes if they are that important... At least its 512mb compatible. I really like old games for this sole reason. Most new games are badly optimized and thus made 1GB ram compatible (which can actually be played on a 512mb ram device with a little optimization) and the trend seems to increase every single day... BTW, well detailed article Paul! Just like all your other reviews...

I bought it since I had wp 7 device and now they ask me to buy it again :| isn't listed to "you have it already"

Looks like the UI is slightly different this time, I could be wrong though as it's a long time since I played it on WP7.

I guess I was lucky. I didn't have to repurchase the app. Ive not tested it yet though and I won't whine if cut scenes don't render correctly. To me that's a minor problem.

Face it, most of us either skip the intros, or wish we could skip them...

I miss my tentacles and coin golf. For reals, I paid for them on my htc trophy amd they are fun games I let me toddler play games on my trophy via KC still and sometimes I steal it for some coin golf and tentacles!

I really enjoyed this game but will not play it again until there's a cloud backup of game saves. I had hours of gameplay lost with this, Final Fantasy, and a couple of other titles after switching phones.

Hopefully they also update this to be a unified app so we can have the Win8 version without having to buy again.

I originally had this game on my hd7, seeing it on my 1520 is absolutely terrible! It exposes the terrible graphics and the sounds crackle often. I'd MUCH rather pay for a touched up version of this game, then re-downloading this old purchase. ALSO I'd love a new version of crackdown 2: Project sunburst! That game right there was probably the most innovative zombies game I ever played! Basically you could pick any spot in the world using an integrated real world map then set up shop to stop the impending zombies. It was so cool because the zombies would actually use real world streets on the map to try to get to you! Very awesome!

Terrible? It looks fine to me. The article's screenshots came from a 1520. But you could always play the Windows 8 version if you really need a higher native resolution for the graphics.

I would love to have Tentacles on WP8. It was my favorite game on WP7, and I have always been disappointed it has not been brought to WP8. Even more disappointing is that it is avaliable on iOS.