The protagonist recently left their previous life to be a farmer. The sleepy little town of Gleaner Heights looks on the surface to be a rather idealistic place full of happy townsfolk, however this is simply a surface facade. If you delve deeper you'll find out things aren't quite what they seem.
Released in February of 2018, Gleaner Heights is a farming simulator heavily inspired by the classic Story of Seasons titles. It also takes inspiration from Stardew Valley and Twin Peaks. It is a gothic twist on the farming/life sim genre. There are many ways to play the game. If you so wish it, you can even play the entire thing without seeing any of the dark aspects of it.
Gleaner Heights contains examples of:
- Art-Style Dissonance: It has very simplistic 16-bit art despite all its profanity and dark themes.
- Blackmail: Thorne has blackmail over the mayor revolving an affair he had. In exchange, he's given money to keep it secret.
- Character Customization: You can customize your hairstyle, facial hair, clothes, skin tone, and eye colour. You can also chose between one of various careers you've had in the past. Your choice affects the player's default abilities.
- Darker and Edgier: It's a darker and grittier twist on games like Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley.
- Domestic Abuse: Lee frequently yells at and demeans his wife Matilda. In one scene he strangles her and in another he punches her in the face. Lee later attempts to rape his wife and if you don't intervene it's implied he does.
- Driven to Suicide: You can drive a character to suicide by exposing his relationship with a (now deceased) underage girl.
- Expy: Otto the mayor resembles many mayor's from Harvest Moon due to his mustache and red clothes.
- Gay Option: The Character Customization lets you choose whether you like men, women, or both.
- Life Simulation Game: It's a life sim with farming and dating elements to it.
- Recycled In Space: The developers admit it's influenced by 1990s shows featuring gothic, suburban atmospheres. It's essentially Story of Seasons meets Twin Peaks. It's alternatively been described as Stardew Valley meets Undertale.
- Retraux: It has pixel-sprite art that greatly resembles the style of the first Harvest Moon title for Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
- Shout-Out: The game features a lot of Twin Peaks references.
- Your Cheating Heart: At least one potential love interest is already married to someone else.