Review by mrpants_again

"Best Harvest Moon Ever? I Think So!"

First of all let me say that I am a huge Harvest Moon fan. I have been playing Harvest Moon since the 64 days and I'm still playing in the new generation of consoles. You may have heard overseas, in a magazine, or another review on Gamefaqs that this is the best Harvest Moon to date. Well, let me go ahead and contribute to that fact: YES, this IS the greatest Harvest Moon ever! Read on for the full review.

Story: Unlike past Harvest Moons where you inherit a farm from your father/grandfather you come to Flower Bud Village (where the game takes place) on your own accord to start a new life on a farm in answer to an ad you read. Also unlike past Harvest Moons, you get to chose one of three farms to live and work on and whether you are a boy or a girl! While you build your new life on your new ranch the villagers are depending on you to ship as much as you can to keep their village thriving. Ship a certain amount of something or attend a local festival for the first time, a new business or resident might move in! Of course helping the village is an important goal, the main goal is to save the Harvest Goddess. As the people of Flower Bud Village forgot everything about friendship and togetherness the goddess turned to stone. A year before you arrived, the Harvest Sprites ask a farmer named Jamie to bring the goddess back to life. Jamie wants to help in every way possible, but nothing Jamie does tends to work. Finally when you show up the Harvest Sprites ask you to help in Jamie's quest to save the goddess by collecting as many notes as possible. Of course Jamie wants all the glory to him/herself (the sex of Jamie changes on whether you're a boy or a girl). Now instead of making a first friend, you become bitter rivals! Now you have to beat Jamie to restoring the Harvest Goddess and make sure you do it first! So many things rely on you. Who will you marry? What will you grow on your land? Will Flower Bud Village grow and prosper, or sink into economic depression? Will you save the Harvest Goddess? And will you beat your notorious rival Jamie? Only you can decide! (10/10)

Graphics: The very instant you look at the graphics of this game, you will be reminiscing of Animal Crossing. The character design and details are strikingly similar. Even fishing is similar to Animal Crossing (and a bit easier too). This most certainly is not a bad thing. In fact I think It's a very great thing! After playing A Wonderful Life and seeing firsthand how more realistic graphics don't suit Harvest Moon, it's nice to go back to the rather cartoony graphics. In a single statement: They aren't the best I've ever seen, but they work for the game. And what works for the game, works. (10/10)

Control: A little sketchy at first, but they grow on you. Moving is easy, but using tools is a bit more difficult. You need to face the object you want to interact with as best you can, or the tool way be used on a different plant of animal wasting precious energy. If you find it hard to till a certain part of land or water a certain crop, press the R button to target that plot or crop for easier work. While that makes it easier, it still sometimes doesn't work. I can't tell you how many times that I've wasted a perfectly good egg by accidentally feeding it to a chicken who's to close to the shipping box. >_< One good aspect though is that if you accidentally drop an item it will slowly start to disappear so you can pick it up again rather than it vanish into thin air with no chance of retrieving it. Bottom line: keep working with them, you'll get used to them. You can also change the button layout in the options menu if you have trouble with the default controls. (9/10)

Presentation: While Natsume has been long known for it's translation errors, I've seen very few in this game. The only one I can remember off the top of my head is a certain village saying "peeple" instead of "people". Nothing too major. Everything else is very well done. When you speak to a person you will still hear a little "hello" or grunt, but it's easy on the ears and doesn't sound like the person was speaking into a vacuum a la A Wonderful Life. Nothing much else to write home about in this category. (9/10)

Replay Value & Lasting Appeal: All Harvest Moon games are huge. This title is no exception. Your main goal as I already stated is to rescue the Harvest Goddess by collecting musical notes, but the game won't end when you save her. Also not that you don't need EVERY note in the game to revive her. After you save her you can continue living, working, pursuing your love interest (if you aren't already married), and collect even more notes! Of course a special event happens when you collect all 100 notes, but I wont spoil it for you. So you will be pretty busy with this game for a long time. As for replay value, with ten bachelors/bachelorettes, several possible farm layouts, and a bevy of extra special events to occur it's impossible not to replay this game a second time! So after you have gotten absolutely everything, try starting a new game and see what life would be like if you married girl/boy B rather than girl/boy A. So you see, there are plenty of different ways to play the game and you'll be busy for quite a long time. You'll definitely want to see all of the different outcomes of your farm life. Just say "good-bye" to your loved one's before you play, because you won't be out of your room for a long time. There's also a small mini-game multiplayer mode, but it isn't anything to be exited about much less include in this review. I suppose this is an alright spot to tack it on to. (10/10)

Overall:
Story-10
Graphics-10
Control-9
Presentation-9
Replay/Lasting Appeal- 10
comes to....9.6 which rounds up to an even 10!

Harvest Moon Magical Melody is so far the greatest Harvest Moon game yet. Fans of the series shouldn't pass this up, and if you're new to the series this is a fine place to begin. If A Wonderful Life left a bad taste in your mouth, fear not! This game will be more than enough for a suitable mouthwash. Don't miss out on one of the best Harvest Moons of all time! So grab a hoe, and get to work! Until next time fellow gamers, this is Mr Pants signing off! :)


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/14/06


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