Review by tigerlover0085
"Harvest Moon DS: Underrated"
Seeing the many negative reviews on this game all over the web, I was shocked to say the least. Harvest Moon DS, the first installment of the lovable series on the Nintendo DS was anything but a bad game. Of course, there were some frustrations with the first releases of the game being full of glitches, but when the glitches were fixed and the game was released again, it is quite the game to play. So if you are a fan of the series, and are planning on playing this game, I advise you to read this review, as I am a fan of the series and I am NOT, I repeat: NOT, the type of gamer to sit and find all the bad in the game. So sit back, and please enjoy my honest review.
Graphics: Let's start with the graphics of the game. Yes, I am aware that in this day and age, you see Call of Duty on the 360 having awesome graphics and expect every game to have the same. However, comparing a game such as Harvest Moon, to other games, you really can't enjoy anything. The graphics in this game are simple. Mostly everything is 2-D. The bodies of characters and animals are somewhat 3-D. It's your classic, GBA style graphics. I was a huge fan of the GBA game system and was glad that they didn't jump right into 3D land with their first HM game on the DS. So the graphics aren't terrible like everyone seems to say. If you're a fan of Harvest Moon, you will appreciate the graphics.
Sound: The sound in the game is quite simple. Like other Harvest Moon games, music plays through out the game and changes from season to season. The tunes are simple, relaxing, cheerful tunes. Nothing too loud and and obnoxious to where you wish to crank down the volume. Each season has a different song and you can even choose to purchase records of previous Harvest Moon games to play whenever you choose. I find this a plus to the game because I always did like the music of Harvest Moon. And if there is anything that you do not like to listen to, just simply customize it to what you prefer. The other important sounds in the game are the sounds of your animals and the sounds of the weather. The animal sounds are outstanding. A sheep sounds like a sheep, a chicken like a chicken, and so on and so fourth. You can also enjoy the sounds of a running waterfall, and the sounds of rain and a blizzard. So overall, the sound is pretty basic and good. Nothing you can complain about.
Story: The games story is broken up into many different departments. The main story is pretty simple. The Harvest Goddess and The Witch Princess break out into an argument and The Goddess and all the Harvest Sprites vanish into thin air. It is your job to bring all The Sprites and The Harvest Goddess back. You do this by farming, getting married, fishing, etc. I'm not going to go into details about how to get them back too much as they may be referred to as spoilers. The other stories to the game revolve around the townies of the village. There are several adorable little townie's living in your village, and if you have Friends of Mineral Town or More Friends of Mineral Town you can put your game in the GBA Slot and most of the characters from that game come over to the village. Through out the game you come across cut scenes with many of the villagers, including rival men wooing the women. The Character Development in the game is outstanding as you learn so much about each and every one. You'll grow to love them and hate them as you learn more about them. You can talk to them every day and as your friendship levels rise, you'll learn more about them. Another story to the game is getting married and having a child. There are several girls you can choose to wed and after you get married you are to raise a child with them. More townies will move in as well. So overall, the game has a pretty solid story. You never know what you're going to find out next and the game keeps you wanting for more.
The game play of Harvest Moon DS is one of the best I have seen yet. There is just so much you need to do in the game to reach accomplishments. At the most basic explanations; Each day you will get up from bed and tend to your tasks. You need to raise your farm animal (feed, pet, brush, talk, milk), water and harvest your crops, chop wood, smash stones, talk to villagers, woo town ladies, and try and make as much money as you can. The key to this game is making money. The more money you have, the more you can expand your tools, farm, and purchase ingredients for cooking. And while you are doing all these things, you unlock the hidden sprites. So the more you do, the more sprites you unlock. The more you work at things, the more you unlock in the game. For example, when you reach the bottom of one mine, you unlock a next with more ores and gems you can collect. The main goals in the game are to find the sprites/goddess and to get married. And the harder you work, the sooner you can do these.
Game Play: 8/10
Now that I have the basics covered of the overall game, I'm going to give my review on the classic, HM in game aspects.
Characters: Like all Harvest Moon games, there are usually a handful of Characters for your 'Hero' to interact with. This game serves no different. There are over 20 characters, including wives-to-be. The base game characters are the same ones that you see in Harvest Moon: A wonderful life and it's girl version; Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life. However, if you simply add your copy of Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town or the girl version to that; Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town, you can have several more characters. The characters are all intractable and all have likes, dislikes, and their own little back story. However, they are all NPC (Non-Playable Characters). You can choose to marry from fourteen different girls, giving you a variety to choose from. Each girl has their own marriage requirements you must meet and each also has another villager trying to woo her, and who will marry her if you do not.
Animals: What makes a Harvest Moon game? Of course that would be the animals you raise on your farm. Like all the previous games, you have your basics: Cows, Chickens, Sheep, Horse. You also in this game get to raise ducks, and you have a pet dog AND cat. Each animal can be interacted with through the touch screen mini game. Alternatively, you can pet, brush, milk, and sheer without the touch screen.
Crops: Crop Raising has always been important to a Harvest Moon game. And like the others, this game still has the feature. There are many crops to choose from and each season has a different variety of crops it can grow. Maintaining the crop growth is quite simply. Plant, Water, Harvest. You can eat your veggies, ship them, cook them, or give them as gifts to the villagers.
Mines: Mining in this Harvest Moon game simply has to be the most difficult I have ever seen. This might be one of the games only flaws. There's just simply too many floors in the mines. You go from 10, to 60-some-thousand. They require patience and can be very frustrating to the point where you just don't want to unlock many things in the game that require them, including a special marriage candidate. There are monsters in the mines that try to hurt you and you'll need LOTS of money to get to the bottom, as you'll need to stock up on potions to keep you from passing out. Overall, the mining is not my favorite part of the game. The first two mines are the easiest. And if you don't mind not unlocking a few things, just stick to getting things from those particular mines.
Overall, this game is terrific! I recommend it to anyone who wants a Harvest Moon game with a lot of depth to it. It's not a Harvest Moon game you just sit down after a while. It's one you want to play because it's a challenge and there's just so much to it. It's a fun and cheerful game. Between the farming, characters, and love for the series, the game is a blast. A MUST HAVE for the Harvest Moon fan!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/26/10
Game Release: Harvest Moon DS (US, 09/12/06)
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