To off-balance the psychotic violent side of myself I showed you last time, I decided to show you all that I indeed have a soft side. *turns off Brotha Lynch Hung and Tech N9ne* Ahem.
Harvest moon has always been a fun little game to chill out to, and it’s fairly simple to prevail in this installment. I say it that way because most other titles in the series are actually really hard sustain. But in this one it’s nice and slow and you get to settle in, sip tea with the neighbors, and raise a few animals. There’s a real-time mechanic somewhat. Days go by in minute increments, and events happen only during certain times on certain days. While it is relaxing and enjoyable to gather hay or order hens, it’s strength is its greatest weakness. After a while it gets really boring while waiting for events so it’s best to play a little here and there.
You may own hens, ducks, cows, sheep, and even a horse that makes it much faster to get around. The game is convinced you need a spouse for life however, and will set you up with one of the three choices in the valley unless you propose first at the end of the first year. You will also encounter many interesting and strange creatures and NPCs during your life, and some of them will latch onto you and eventually have you actually care what happens to them. The fireworks brothers not included, due to a coding error when setting the difficulty, their little mini game is almost impossible to win, and when you do, the reward is insubstantial.
After being married for a while you get a kid, and with help from the other inhabitants of Forget-Me-Not Valley, you can raise him to either follow his own career path, or set him on one of your choosing. Items in his room will change overtime to give you hints into what he’s getting into, and he can also be seen talking with certain villagers with specific jobs. While there is an abundance of interesting people, not a lot happens in their short story lines. There’s a scientist with a lab full of equipment that never does anything and an artist who never builds anything out of the stone in front of his house. Although the resident archeologist does increase the span of his dig site every year or so. Time makes its mark on the villagers, each new chapter brings greyer hair and new dialogue. There are short cutscenes you can activate if you meet certain circumstances, and odd creatures you can encounter as time goes on. You can watch your kid grow up as you tend to your crops, and overall it’s a nice game. But it’s lacking in entertainment and relies on repetitive gameplay for much longer than is necessary. If only they added more interaction between the player and NPCs.
To wrap up, the sounds are nice, like putting down the controller in Megaman Legends’ Cardon woods, the controls are neutral and neither help nor hinder. The gameplay is fun at first but gets boring about halfway through, and the story is pretty short and out of the way. I’d play this game in tandem with Animal Crossing. It’s not really to serious anyway.