Review by J J N

"2,000 words why this game ROCKS!"

Introduction

Harvest teh Moon has came a long way with many fans. Its debut, harvest the moon for the super Intendo console was fun and was a unique genre - no other was like it. It was a fun game that introduced new things like farming activities such as planting vegetables and taking care of your lovely farm animals. But the game needed some improvement; so it did when it was released on the 32-bit console Playstation which is called Harvest the Moon: Back to nature. And don't forget that there was Harvest the Moon on the Nintendo 64 console, too (excellent game by the way) And now what we have here is a portable game called Harvest teh Moon: friends of mineral town for the game boy advance. What I love about this is that you can carry the game around with you and play play play - so boredom never comes into mind. It is interesting to note that this game is based heavily on the PSX Harvest the Moon, in fact, it is exactly the same with some minor improvements in which I shall tell you latter on. For those of you who don't know or haven't heard of this game, let me tell you that farming is boring and that farm life is , well, fun, because the gaming company made it so. So .... lets get it on.

Story

The story for this game is an normal one, something that isn't dramatic or original - but highly plausible story. The story is about that you're a farm boy who visited his grand father when you're young and that you have such many fun times at the farm during your stay. In fact, you met this girl during your excursion that you promised her to come back one day and marry her!

The story is cute and is interesting for pubescent and adults a-like. So, now that you're all grown up and all you return the farm here ... the town called, Mineral town. Your grand father has passed away and he left you with this farm to inherit it from. It is broken down and there isn't anything in it - all the chicken and farm animals died away. So now it is your chance to prove it that you're a MAN, and not a boy, and that you can amend and repair this farm and have it up and running. The mayor gives you four years to accomplish things to keep the farm up and health - and if you fail, well, tough luck.

Game Play

So in the game you stat off with having a farm with lots of land that this full of weed and stone and wood. You mission is to plant vegetables to obtain cash and farm animals. In fact, the goal of the game is to get as much cash as you can because you'll need it to up grade your house and cover other living expenses in which I shall cover latter on. So, there are two ways to generate money: harvesting and raising farm stock.

Harvesting: in the game you have a plethora of selection of plants to choose from and that they take time to grow and such. You need to water them every day or they won't grow (duh) . The profit of the farm depends on the type of crop that you choose to plant and that some plants have more profit then the other, so you must selection the type of crop carefully. Of course, to obtain the seed for the crops you go to the local super market. Harvesting is done for three season and that you can't plant in the winter (Darn!)

Well, because you're a farmer you need farming tools. And this game provides you with lots of farming tools such as a hammer for smashing those large rocks in the farming field, a plow to plow all the ground before planting the seeds, a sickle to cut all those unwanted and undesired weeds that leech in the field, a watering can to water all the plants, a fishing rod to go fishing, a axe to cut the lumbers. You need the lumbers to build and extend your house, by the way. The tools are there, but that doesn't mean that is the end of it. No, you can upgrade the tools in the game so they function better. This means obtaining some ores and then going to the smith to upgrade it. With your upgraded tool, you can perform the job much easier then before. For example, if you have a gold watering can you can water nine plants spot in just one swing, instead of the usual nine individual swing (you'll know what I mean when you play the game ...)

Raising live stock: You can raise live stocks in the game which is extremely fun! You have your chicken and sheep and cow in which you can raise in the game. It is both interesting to see them grow. For the chicken they lay eggs everyday providing them that you feed them daily. You can sell the eggs or sell the chicken (you can harvest a chicken egg, heh) for money. The cow, you can grow them up and sell them for lots of cash or you can milk them for their milk! For the sheep, you can raise them up and sell them or you can leave them to grow their wool and shave it off them. Wooless sheep? You bet! Now, it isn't that easy for you to make money because you have to take care of the animals or they're get sick and die. Forget to feed the animals? They're die. Forget to brush your cows with a brush? They're become sardonic in a way. So you need to keep them happy with the brush or else...

Remember: you don't just have your live stocks, but you have your own personal pets in this game. You have your own dog in which some one gives it to you and that you watch it grow over the years. It can play catch-the-ball with you and scare off wolfs that try to consume your lovely chicken. Also you have a horse in this game (again, some nice villager gives this too you) in which you can ride it around in the farm and use the horse in the horse race.

Of course, the fun part about harvest the moon just isn't about planting crops and raising live stock - no, its better then that. You have the option of interacting with the people in the game, the citizens in the town that makes this game fun. There is allot of people that inhabit the town and that they may help you. The town has a supermarket, hospital, library, smiting place, chicken dealer, cow/sheep dealer, church and bar. Yeah, that about covers it. Each place has a function in which you can do/learn things from it. For example, if you want to learn some things about the game such as crop tips then you can obtain the information from the library.

And when I mean the game is interactive, I mean interactive. Sometimes you don't just want to farm all day, so that is way you have special days during the season (normally 2-4 days per season) in which there is something special event in the town and that you can come and enjoy yourself and take the day off farming and doing your mundane task. The events vary, but here is some of the events that you may encounter: cooking contest, horse race, chicken fight, dance (you can ask the girls out to dance with! Yay!) Spring festival and MUCH MUCH MORE! Oh, remember the part of the story about a girl who you promised to come back a marry? Well, there are five females in the game in which you can choose and woo from.

They're all interesting characters in the game and that you can choose anyone of them you want to (but you only get to marry one, unfortunately) The girls in the game fill the whole spectrum. For example, you have your clam and kind glassed girl who works at the library. Or you have your motherly and caring girl who works in the hospital. You also have this blonde girl that vaguely resembles a cheer leader that her mom owns the local super market. Then you have this tom boy girl who inhabit the super market and that her father has ownership of the local bar (no, they don't serve beer in the game, sorry) Lastly, you have the choice of this girl who has a pink hair. And of course, her parents own the chicken farm.

You get to know these ladies better by giving them presents such as wild flower, jewels and food. But be careful! Some items the girls don't like and that it can reduce their ''love'' rating to you. You know that they have a crush or love you by looking at the color of the heart in the game. Also, their ''love rating'' doesn't go up by you just giving them presents ... there are events in the game in which you have a conversation with the person. And if you choose the correct answer, you're award with more points and if you choose the wrong point the love rating is deducted.

Ok, one IMPORTANT thing I must mention in the game and that the primarily goal in the game is to EARN MONEY so that you can extend your house and upgrade your chicken coop and cow barn. This is done by obtain money in the game and then going to the builder's home where if you obtain the pre-requisite amount of lumber and money he'll build it for you. By extend the house you can have a kitchen in which you can actually cook and make food! And by upgrading the chicken coop and barn you can have more animals in the place thus increasing the productivity and profit in the game.

Oh yeah, did I mention that there is a television in the game in which you can watch TV shows such as the weather channel, this TV drama series and during the weekends you have the option of watching the advertising channel to buy new tools for your kitchen such as a mixer or seasoning packet. And you can purchase furniture’s such as a double bed (for your wife and you, of course)

Graphics

The graphics for this game is EXCELLENT, and I was surprised when I first played this game that it has a strong resemble with the PSX version. The PSX version was 3D environment, but this game was about to emulate it even ought the game boy has lower specs the PSX.

This game doesn't have a 3D view, however, it emulates it by showing the same kind of cartoonist texture as the PSX and it shows an overhead 2D view instead of the 3D view. But it is excellent none of the less. For those of you who haven't played the game the graphics is good and that you wouldn't be disappointed. In fact, the graphics looks good compared to other games for the Game boy Advance.

Music

The music for this game is good and cheerful. Most of the time when you're farming outside there is this song that keeps looping but you don't tend to notice the song because its good and that it doesn't not get ANNOYING, contrary to other repetitive music in other games. You also have the sound of the chicken, cow mooing when you brush then and other environmental sounds (birds chirping anyone?) and of course the thumping cacophony of the rain and the nefarious winds when the tornado season comes along.

Conclusion

See? this is one of the best hand held game ever. People who assert that farming games can’t be fun are WRONG; this game is just fun as any action game there is. I recommend you purchase this game for your love ones or for yourself because this has TONS of replay value in which people like me would appreciate.

Never again would going on a long car trip be boring again with this game!


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/03/04


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