Yup, another videogame review. I know it’s not my normal gig, but it’s been taking up so much of my time lately that I’ve got little else to write on! 😄 Oh well!
System: Nintendo Wii
Your character has a farm or a ranch and must grow crops and raise animals to make money. Using this money you build a bigger and better home and woo a mate to start your family. In addition to this “life simulation” aspect of the game there is a plot/subplot that adds a more magical element to the game play. Your goal is to restore the rainbows to your new island home and help return the Harvest Goddess to her rightful home in the island’s sacred tree. The major theme is persevering nature and restoring economic prosperity and happiness to the island residents.
There aren’t many games designed to be played with either the Wiimote and the Nunchuck or the Classic Controller, thus the motion sensing aspects of the game are limited. There are a few place in the game where you can optionally use motion sensitive controls, but it’s never necessary.
Graphically this game is a tough one to describe. From a technical standpoint this game suffers from low end graphics. The Wii just isn’t a graphics friendly machine. However, the designers have once again made the best of things.
This installment of the Harvest Moon franchise brings in a new character designer who keeps the very cute look of the past game but gives the characters distinct ages (you’re not a 12 year old running a farm anymore), races and personalities. That’s an amazing feat when your working with low end detail and Mii inspired character models, but it works. This is mostly due to distinct and colorful costume and hair design. Realism is out the window on this one (lime green hair on a 40 year old grocer anyone?) but who cares! It’s CUTE!
The biggest improvement in the graphics has come from more natural looking environments. Items you can interact with remain somewhat cartoony but the texture foliage is far more realistic. It’s quiet nice. The background blends in but at the same time, is a distinct entity all it’s own.
Sound isn’t a big element in any of the Harvest Moon games, and this is no exception. Fluffy, wispy music plays in the background and changes based on both the season and the location you’re in. The music and most of the sound effects are unobtrusive. I swear that Harvest Moon designers want their game to be the kind you can play with the sound off. And you can. No gameplay elements are cued by sound. However, the sound is nice filler. I don’t like it, and I don’t hate it. It works well and that’s cool by me.
Time is the main reference point in this game and everything you do changes bases on the day of the week and the season. All characters in the game keep a weekly schedule that the player must be aware of to effectivly interact with story characters as well as with the townies they may wish to someday marry. By the same token shops in the game have days that they close and festival days require the player to keep a mental
tally similar to the one they keep for their real life activities. Thus, organizational skills are a must to get full enjoyment of this game.
With everything you do in this game you can do the bare minimum to survive or you can go out and try to raise every crop, every kind of animal, catch each type of fish and cook every possible dish. Neither way will change the story but changes the game play based on player tastes.
This version of Harvest Moon brings in new animals, and new crops, as well as a new cooking implements and a few other things miscellaneous things. All in all this game is great and super addictive.
That’s really where this game makes it’s money. There are so many small day to day interactions that can change how the game is played that there are infinite outcomes and experiences. Obviously, you can play as either gender, and then marry several different spouses to get different endings, but there are so many more ways the game can change that there is no end to the fun in this game.
A+ Wicked game and I love it. This is the most in depth Harvest Moon game yet. If you played one of the previous games and felt it was silly to spend so many hours farming this game will rekindle your interest with more acitivities to do in your character’s free time as well as optional ways of earning money. More characters to meet in this game provides a ton of virety and incremental additions of characters and items keeps the game interesting for hours.