Review by Sange

"Itís definitely a worth purchasing."

When I first played Harvest Moon 64 (also being my introduction to the series), I was very intrigued by it's innovative gameplay. After playing the hell out of my cartridge (the game often crashes nowadays), I was amazed that I could spend so much time on a single game and the hours sure did fly by when I played. A couple of years later, I picked up this game, played the hell out of it as well and stopped. And now I'm just about done with the introduction of this review.

Since this game is a GBA port of “Back to Nature” which was only on Playstation beforehand, the graphics transferred very well. The character sprites are pretty charming and amusing. Character portraits (shown above text boxes when characters are speaking) are drawn in manga-style and all human characters express their facial emotions through portraits. Environments have a cozy feel to them, you sometimes feel as if you can live in Mineral Town and have no troubles for the rest of your life sometimes. Overall, the game has cute, simple graphics that I had no problems with.

Music in the game is nothing to get excited over but it fits for this kind of game. Music changes every season on your farm (ex: Summer has a festive tune, while Winter has a sad drag) and only a few more songs for the different parts of the village. Music gets repetitive, very repetitive after a while so most players would off the volume. There really isn't much to say about sound effects either. Simple stupid but again--fitting for the game. Good thing a game doesn't need a good sound department to be a great game, otherwise this'll be getting a 5 or lower.

There's tons to things to do and manage in Mineral Town. You will be spending most of your time on the farm. Feeding and grooming live stock and poultry, watering and harvesting crops, clearing the field of obstruction like weeds and rocks, breaking your tools in and upgrading them, watching TV to get a head start on the following day's weather or get some home shopping done and that only covers the farm work! Note that this is called Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town…you see the “Friends” in the title? You'd better. Another large portion of the game is spent socializing with the townspeople by talking to them and giving them gifts you found in the mountains or produced from your farm. You can flirt with the town's six eligible bachlorettes and you can choose one to get hitched with and make some babies. The five girls being Karen, Ann, Popuri, Mary, Elli and the Harvest Goddess, they have a heart symbol on the lower corner of their text box when they speak. That heart is a measure of their affection for you, the more you flirt and give them gifts, it‘ll change color and when it ultimately becomes orange or red, you can use a blue feather to marry one of them. But there are rivals out there that may compete for the girl of your dreams. So get hitched with her before she can marry that other guy. For the Harvest Goddess however…she is definitely the toughest chick to marry, a lot of requirements are in order and she is a different girl than the rest. Also, certain character may leave the game forever if you don't befriend him, and because of that a certain girl can't wed at all unless you yourself wed her. You can get annexations and extensions on your farm by dropping a line by the carpenter's house. The upgrades are pricey, but are well worth it (gives you a good feeling of accomplishment). Probably the most important upgrade is the kitchen, which you will also (eheheheh) be spending a lot of time in. Townspeople have many recipes to give if you give them certain gifts and recipes could also be found on the food channel on certain days on TV. Via home shopping you must order all of the kitchen equipment (knife, blender, spice rack, etc) to get started. A kitchen is one of the things required to get a girl to marry you actually. The townspeople love food gifts, so cook something up right, they'll like you more. I just cannot put every gameplay detail into this review, too lazy to. Friends of Mineral Town is just that deep and indulging.

It's definitely a worth purchasing, just no question about it. It takes dozens of hours to COMPLETELY clear it. Thee game's a great way to pass the time, especially if you are waiting for an upcoming game to be released (who knows, you might get too pre-occupied with this game to go pick up that game you've waited for half a year). If it takes a rental to make your decision to purchase this game…then go ahead. In the end, just buy the game and enjoy.

Overall Game Rating: 8/10


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/28/04


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