Oh they decided to focus on the dating elements instead of anything intresting
Wouldn't say the dev focused on anything in particular. Everything feels underwhelming and it tries to do too much.
The dating elements are merely a distraction from the monotony of the rest of the game. After you get through a single year, you've pretty much seen everything in the game there is to see and everything else is just a repeat.
Farming is basically, dig some holes and water the plants every day, which makes up for most of the gameplay. That gets old fast so you get sprinklers to do your work for you. Then what?
Raise animals? They grate on you a lot, especially if you have 8 chickens and you need to drop some hay and the cunts block you and just won't let you get to the feeder. My game itself may have been bugged but the auto-feeder has never worked for me. Not even after making sure my silo(s) were full.
You go mining? You've probably gotten everything you need from mining after the farm is self sufficient by this point.
Combat? It just gets in the way of mining.
Fishing? That's terribly boring and a shit mini game that again, gets old real fast.
You try and grow every possible crop and get all the produce/items possible? Which would just amount to you letting your farm do the work or going back to fishing/mining.
The only time the game is slightly different is with NPC interactions, which by and large is reduced to about 10 text boxes most per season.
Not to mention that it's quite ironic that your character leaves his boring repetitive job in an office to do a boring repetitive day job in a field.
I get there's only so much one guy can make when creating a game but it shouldn't mean that it's held up as one of the best games ever made.
But the whole waifu appeal definitely made extra bucks for the devs. It always does. I'd understand it if the story was more fleshed out or the character development wasn't just tied to a few cutscenes and whether or not you gave someone the right kind of mayonnaise. The waifu aspect is like a visual novel for people who don't like reading. I don't think everyone who played the game played it for the waifu's, but it more than likely started out as Harvest Moon nostalgia, which then morphed into waifus.
The game itself is okay I guess. It kept me occupied for a while, but that's about it. I was occupied. I can't really say I had a good time with it. It's not the worst thing I've ever played but it just did nothing for me. It's probably not to my taste, but I don't really see how it could be to anyone's other than they see potential beyond what was actually delivered.