Review by Seagaia
"Pass unless you're an avid Harvest Moon game collector"
I had recently come back home for spring break to discover this DS cartridge sitting in my sister's game collection. I've never been a huge Harvest Moon fan (my attention span tends to disappear after the first summer or fall, if I ever make it that far), but I still take the time to look at what every game offers past that point. Usually there's a fair amount of interesting and new content from game to game.
Anyways, I pop in the cartridge, start up my game, go through the story - this time, instead of saving the farm, questionably magical rocks or musical notes, I'm tasked with, well, reviving the town's "Grand Bazaar." The first thing I notice is that the game only has six screens. "That's okay," I think to myself, "I'll just be able to unlock more screens." But I play a few in-game weeks (The game works on a day system - you trigger events/plant crops/do stuff on a day-to-day basis, some days have special events, some days have different weather, and a year is separated into four seasons which are separated into 30 days), and nothing unlocks. So of course I indulge my curiosity and go look at a guide online. There are only six screens in the entire game. And as far as I could tell, the gameplay wasn't really going to change.
Here's a list of what you can do...
Throw items at people to woo them/become their friends, buy farm animals -when you run out of time/patience to take care of them, buy pets to do the task for you, grow crops, make stuff, fish, and catch insects, do the bazaar minigame. Does that laundry list of EVERYTHING YOU CAN DO sound dull? Well, you'd be right!
So, what is the bazaar minigame? Well, it's the gimmick that prevents the game from being (incredibly) boring and dry! (...so just boring and dry.) Every week you go to the bazaar, one of the six screens in the game, and bring all your items there. You get to sell them for a fixed cost, and if you sell enough your bazaar expands and you can buy new upgrades for your farm, tools, bazaar inventory size, etc. And that's about it. Not very interesting, although certainly different than the normal system of throwing crops at a box to get money.
Other than that, the only really exciting feature is the "Make stuff" option. And even then it's not too interesting. You gradually unlock three windmills, which, if you've played earlier Harvest Moons, are just glorified makers and kitchen tools. You throw in some items, choose what you want to make, and wait a bit and get your made item. Oh, and if you blow into the DS, the windmill goes faster (and you get your items faster!). How...clever.
In a nutshell, that's basically the entire game. You will wake up, take care of your animals, water your crops, possibly harvest your crops, make your crops into something more profitable using the kitchen or a windmill, throw stuff at other people to make friends/potential spouses, then once a week buy tool upgrades (so you can do this all faster!), and play in a boring mini-game to sell your stuff.
Your graphics and music are exactly what you'd expect from a Harvest Moon game. Nothing groundbreaking here, folks. If you really, really like Harvest Moon games, go ahead and buy a copy. Otherwise, pass - it's really just not that compelling of a game, and if you really want to play a Harvest Moon game you can easily find much better games in the series - HM64, and Friends of Mineral Town come to mind.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 05/24/11
Game Release: Harvest Moon DS: Grand Bazaar (US, 08/24/10)
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