Review by RuneFenix

"A great game with a big problem.."

I've been a fan of Harvest Moon since the GBC version and have enjoyed them all quite a bit. I'd actually say this one is my favorite thus far and would normally have given it a 9 or a 10 except for one thing. It has a terrible freezing glitch.

C' mon, it's a farming game. I'm not going to save every 5 minutes like I would in a typical RPG or some action packed game. I try to relax and get into playing Harvest Moon to pass some time, and all of a sudden it will freeze. For no reason at all. Nothing in particular seems to trigger it, it just happens. Having to repeat many in-game days over a simple glitch really detracts from the fun. I also know that it isn't isolated because I've exchanged my copy twice for a new one trying to alleviate the problem.

Other than that, the game is wonderful. The graphics and sound don't blow me away, but they don't disappoint either. The control interface is solid and the menus make good use of the DS touch screen. It really offers something for everyone, as well. The basic mechanics of the game are simple enough that a little kid wouldn't have too much trouble enjoying it, and at the same time there are a few optional challenges that can leave even long-time gamers grumbling in frustration. It nicely blends RPG elements with a bit of strategy, and even some occasional action (some of the deeper levels in the mines remind one of the original Zelda). You'll also be able to occupy yourself for quite a while with this one. There's so much to do and build you won't find yourself blowing through it in a matter of a few days, which I think is particularly important in a hand-held game since we often rely on them for entertainment in situations where we're away from our consoles.

On the downside, the game still runs on train tracks. What I would love more of in a Harvest Moon game would be for the people to have random schedules instead of doing everything at the exact same time on certain days. It's difficult to develop characters when they act that robotic. There aren't a great many people in the valley so it would be nice if they had more personal stories, more interesting things to say, and more reward/consequence for befriending/irritating them. Just because a game is two-dimensional is no reason for the characters to be just as flat.

Overall I think the game has a very high fun-factor, delivering all the charm fans of the Harvest Moon series have come to expect. Even with the overly-linear characters I find myself enjoying the game quite a bit. My only true gripe is that I wish they had left the game with the debugging department a bit longer before they released it. I'm certain I'm not the only one who feels that there are few things more annoying than having to redo something I've already done on a game because my data was lost. However, as long as you remember to save every in-game day or so, you'll probably have a blast with this one.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 10/11/06

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