They’ve Found a Way to Do It
Finally, I am welcomed back to Harvest Moon (probably not okay to use this anymore? Maybe?) with something to look forward to. I think this may be the first time playing a handheld version of the game that I was fully invested in, well into the depths of Summer. Let me count the ways that they have grasped my attention:
- You can jump.
- You can have rabbits, llamas, alpacas, goats, zebu cows (?) etc…
- You can change any aspect about you at any time.
- You can sew over 150 different outfits.
- You can dive in the river and get all kinds of items that you might have issues getting otherwise.
- There are tons of vendors that only come to the town through your actions.
- The villagers are not all just there at once. Some come and some go and that isn’t entirely to do with your choices.
- There are other farmers and they are rivals (callback to Magical Melody but like 4 steps further).
There are even some people in the town who have less stereotypical mannerisms and I think that that is a great step in making Harvest Moon a better learning device for both children and adults. The things that the townsfolk say are more interesting, to boot. Especially once you get to the first level of friendship (purple flower for marriageable candidates).
Despite the awesome things you can do, there is a distinct lack of mining. The only mining that can be done is apparently in something called the Safari Zone by hitting a crack in a wall. That seems a bit strange to me. Mining was probably my favourite way to make money in the previous games. Now I am left upgrading seeds and being nice to animals. Woe is me.
There is no ocean and there is no forest. It makes the game feel just a bit claustrophobic since the explore-able area is basically just a town and some fields. There is no large arena for getting lost in, and no large arena for picking up a large amount of cash at the beginning of the game. If you choose to play the game on normal difficulty be prepared to spend way too much time gathering money.
Really, Though: Rivals Done Right
The town has ‘set up’ a method of encouraging productivity. There are competitions for public fields. The fields are leased to the winner of the competition and you can grow whatever is ‘allowed’ to be grown there. The concept is simple and the competitions actually fairly easy to win if you work your hands to the bone, selling absolutely everything you can.
There are even rival events that can occur if certain conditions are met, namely a certain level of friendship and a certain level of rivalry. These events develop the characters of the other farmers.
This game is largely just an improvement on the other games in the franchise, but that is perfectly fine with me. There are even appearances from some of the old marriageable candidates (who are still marriageable) and your farm and house are still completely customizable. This really just makes me want a new console version of the game. While I love this iteration, what makes me play for hours and hours is the larger screen, better graphics and mining. More data space is equivalent to bringing mines back, and I am all for that.