Review by Darkstorm16
"One of the best Harvest Moons"
While I was playing Harvest Moon Island of Happiness, I felt very depressed about it, for one it had a slightly depressing beginning, and I found all touch control very irritating and I always went back to Harvest Moon Friends of Mineral Town. Then when this came out and I saw my mom was playing it and it looked fantastic. I just recently got her copy and I sat down playing it, gulped thinking how much worse could it be than Island of Happiness, to my surprise it had more of a Friends of Mineral Town feel mixed with Island of Happiness. Also you didn't have to deal with the touch control and went back to the direction pad which I loved.
Unlike most Harvest Moons where its someone dies (ugh) and gives you the farm, this one is different. The story starts as the main character (male or female) arrives safely on the island (unlike Harvest Moon Island of Happiness) and the island is already populated with some of the characters from Harvest Moon Island of Happiness already on there. As you stay on the island you eventually learn that in order to "rise up" or unlock new islands you must collect a certain amount of "Sun Stones" (not Pokemon Sun Stones). In order to collect them you must do various tasks such as collect so many spring vegetables, meet so and so, stuff like that with the ultimate goal of gaining all the islands. I personally love the collecting aspect of the game, and the interesting part is some of the islands unlocks more areas to fish, even a mine, mountains all sorts. You of course still have to plant vegetables, milk cows, get married but its collecting is what sets it apart from other Harvest Moon titles.
Of course when I started up the game I was thinking hopefully no touch screen control and that's what I wound up getting no touch screen control which was a breath of fresh air. Of course the touch screen was used as an option for the tools but using the buttons worked as well. This time like the last Harvest Moon (Island of Happiness) if you want your tools to be upgraded you must equip them with Wonderful Stones. You get these by winning festivals, contests, sometimes the shop will have them on sale. You equip these to a tool and it gives them abilities, such as axes with a certain color can cut stumps, or there's one that gives you 1 G for every use. In some cases some colors are needed to do certain tasks, like I forgot what color but one of them is required if you want to till in the rice paddies. You can even alternate any time you want, no more needing to go to the blacksmith with a certain ore to upgrade anymore. You'll also want to pay attention to the weather patterns, such as sunny days you may need to water your plants a lot more than cloudy days, rainy days avoid watering, and that goes the same with drizzle. Some new additions to the game include a dog flying disc mini-game, cat calling mini-game, carriage pulling mini-game with your horse, and these are there to help increase the friendship between you and your pets, and help strengthening for the contests. Also a new option is the "No Sprite Left Behind" which means you can have the Harvest sprites you discover help you with your work. Although can't say they help much since they water random squares, the catch is once recruited after their work is done, they must rest for 10 days but it's free labor.
The graphics are wonderful, it has that bright and cheerful whimsical feel into the game which in my opinion is what I expect out of a Harvest Moon title.
The sound is about the only thing that has never changed, the only difference is the background music, some tunes are very catchy while some are forgettable.
I love it, although currently I have a 3DS I do every weekend still play it and the best thing is it never ends, if you get bored of it, that's simple just start a new save files, set yourself with goals, it's simple, fun, addicting. It's pretty much the best Harvest Moon I've played to date, second to Friends of Mineral Town. Sometimes its fun to set up your own goals or try to beat your record by saying "I want to have 3 cows by the end of Year 1 unlike my last game which had 1 cow" I know that part is an exaggeration but you get my point. If your a harvest moon fan or an Animal Crossing fan, I am positive you'll love this game. If your not, I would still recommend it unless your the type that just loves to kill everything in your path.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/02/12
Game Release: Harvest Moon DS: Sunshine Islands (US, 11/12/09)
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