I don’t usually play fandisks, but when I do, they don’t end up being very worthwhile (with few exceptions). Such is the case with Rewrite Hf. I’ve never played a fandisk from Key before since past records had them release fandisks for only a single popular heroine that wasn’t the main (Tomoyo After, Kud Wafter), but Harvest Festa had routes for all the heroines and I liked the characters in Rewrite, so I decided to go for it. Unfortunately, I could have spent my time better by playing other VNs in my backlog (and in English).
Generally I can see two purposes for fandisks to be worthwhile. One is to expand on backstory or flesh out routes that were lacking in the original VN. Another is to give the fans some more interactions with the heroine, romance, and ero while cashing in on the game’s success. Yes, I do consider romance and ero to be worthwhile (if done well), seeing as how they do satisfy some of our base desires.
With those two points in mind, I just have to wonder why Key released Harvest Festa. The only route in Rewrite that actually needed an epilogue was Kotori’s, and therefore her route in Harvest Festa actually contributed something despite the lack of excitement. Chihaya’s route gave us some of that hilarious common route interactions that I missed, but the others were pretty much AU stories that went from undoing the original route’s impactful moments, to being pointless, to being a complete joke that didn’t take itself seriously. A gag route would’ve been fine, but they made said gag route into a heroine route where the heroine herself didn’t get that much screen time.
I looked forward to cute, fluffy, and romantic scenes (since there was no ero), and instead got routes where the heroine was out of focus for a whole chunk. The romance was also very lacking, as for many of the AU routes, Kotarou and the heroine only got together at the end because they had to do the whole falling in love thing all over again. I felt that with regards to endearing and romantic moments, even the original game did them better than Harvest Festa, despite it being marketed as a happier, presumably fluffier visual novel.
This is probably not a surprise, but the production values of Harvest Festa also screamed cheap to me. I didn’t expect a lot of new tracks and thought using the original soundtrack was fine, but the CGs were a huge disappointment. Each heroine got 5 CGs (well, Kagari had 6), and to be honest, a lot of them looked pretty bad. I had to wonder whether the CG team actually bothered trying.
Maybe I would’ve enjoyed this fandisk better had I played it back-to-back with the main game so I’m still in the hype, but alas, it wasn’t released when I finished Rewrite. I liked the characters, but the hype and love died down and by the time the fandisk came out, I was pretty much indifferent. Rewrite’s plot and most of the routes concluded properly (or ended in a way so that a slice-of-life school setting fandisk wouldnt’ work), so there is no need to play Harvest Festa unless you are absolutely dying to see some more of the girls. After clearing the heroine routes, you’ll unlock an extra mini game called Rewrite Quest, which is a dungeon-crawling RPG featuring the main cast of Rewrite. If I ever finish it (doesn’t look like I will, though), the review will come separately.