Review by shortysariakai
"Just God Happy"
So I just got my very own copy of Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness today. I was ecstatic to add yet another game to my Harvest Moon dynasty. These games practically rule me and thus I practically worship them. I was a little sad that the complementary chicken plush didn't arrive yet, but this is irrelevant.
I've been playing Harvest Moon since I was seven, perhaps younger, starting with Back To Nature on the Playstation. This is still my favorite of all time, followed by the Playstation 2 release of Save the Homeland (the most original and different of all the games I have played.) My collection (I believe) is now at eleven, though I've played twelve.
The idea of spending time to farm, ranch, and create relationships among the villagers has always brought me a sense of peace. And when they began making female versions of games, I was happy! But I ended up getting really annoyed because I'd already bought the boy version because I didn't think a female version would be released. Such as A Wonderful Life and Another Wonderful Life. (BTW...the time you spend asleep differentiates between these two games, and it's really annoying). But with Island of Happiness, as they did on the second gameboy color version, you were able to choose between male and female on the same game. I was very happy about this; no sudden release out of practically nowhere that "oh yeah, we made one for girls now."
I'm about halfway through my first spring season right now as my DS' power drained not long after starting. The touchscreen is a little touchy, and having BOTH the directional pad and the letters being used for your tools/items only is annoying, but all in all playability isn't so bad. Oh, and yes, you can use the L and R buttons to run, but you still have to use the touchscreen to steer anyway, so you may as well just do that.
And with starting on a deserted island and having to attract others yourself, no one really has any already-made relationships, like in Save The Homeland (Lyla and Louis were crushing) or in Back To Nature (Popuri/Kai, Karen/Rick, Mary/Gray, Ann/Cliff), but I heard through the booklet that over time characters in this game begin developing crushes on each other as well. So you're not quite as doomed. Something else I thought was great: These character designs are different and are made to match this island feel.
However, if you sell certain items quite a lot (which you do at first, of the same items), the price eventually begins to go down for these items and you don't make quite as much money. Also beware that not only do you have a stamina bar, but you also have a fullness/hunger bar, which can also cause you to collapse. And chocolates are expense at a 100g per unit.
It took me a little while to figure out the map, but I've learned most of what I've uncovered. And something really handy is your map: it shows you where all the characters are (not where their homes are, I already made that mistake). And one more happy note: There are a few familiar faces: Julia (I think she's in AWL..she looks like the excavation guy's assistant to me), the Harvest goddess (one with green hair), the Harvest Sprites, and Sabrina reminds me of Mary (I've only seen the picture though) and the Witch Princess (Harvest Moon: DS)
So far I'm having a blast and I hope you do, too!
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 08/29/08
Game Release: Harvest Moon DS: Island of Happiness (US, 08/26/08)
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