Review by donjieguy

Reviewed: 05/30/07

Not the best, not the worst: a solid Harvest Moon title

I'm a huge fan of Harvest Moon. One of the most magical thing about this series is its ability to suck you in and for a while, your Harvest Moon life becomes more important than your real one.

For the sad puppies out there who have never played a Harvest Moon title, in the simplest context, HM is a Farming Simulator. You grow crops and raise animals. But anyone who has played a HM game will tell you that its much more than that. It's a life simulator. Marriage and having kids are HM trademarks.

I picked up this game with great expectations. How does this game compare to its predecessor, the legendary Friends of Mineral Town? (The GCN titles don't count because they're not handheld)
In short, it's better in some ways, yet worse in others. Overall, a bit worse than FoMT, but still an excellent game, nevertheless.

Story 7/10

Unlike other HM games, this one has a story! *gasp* The Witch Princess has sent the Harvest Goddess and Harvest Sprites to another world and its your job to bring them back.

Certain tasks are done to bring the sprites back (inspecting your watering pond will bring one back), and once all are back, the Harvest Goddess is saved. (No idea how growing crops or mining could bring Sprites back from another world) Quite feeble, I know, but it is an improvement on "Inherit a farm. Now run it".

Graphics 6/10

HM:DS takes place in Forget-Me-Not-Valley, a beautiful (you guessed it) valley in a rural town with a river running through it. It is 100 years after A Wonderful Life, but the town's inhabitants are based on the townspeople from AWL and FoMT (by based, I mean they look exactly the same and have the same names. Spooky).

Despite the beautiful setting, Marvelous does not capitalize on this. The graphics are on par with GBA (EXACTLY the same as FoMT) and is no-where near what the DS is capable of. Even with the nostalgia value, some better graphics would be nice.

Gameplay 8/10

Let me get this sorted first: THE GLITCHES AREN'T THAT BAD!! Honestly, in my 100+ hours of playing it, the game only seized on me twice, and none of my data was corrupted/deleted. It's a bit worse with any other game. An issue, but not a crippling one.

There are many more things to do in HM:DS. You can now raise 4 (count them: 1, 2, 3, 4!) types of animals and trees are plantable! There are 4 mines (an improvement from 2 in FoMT) and all the bachelorettes from AWL and FoMT, plus a few new ones. The game takes much longer to complete (by complete, I mean get every upgrade, become a billionaire, do everything etc).
A negative point is the steeper "learning curve": you don't start off with a barn or a chicken coop (you have to pay to get it built), so it takes much longer before there you can get on your feet money wise.

The DS stylus is used to operate the menu. Now, there's no more pausing between switching your numerous items or looking at the map. Just press with the stylus, and the game goes on. Very innovative, a major step forward for HM.

Sound 7/10

I don't listen to portable console sound much. From what little I've heard, it sounds unremarkable.

Overall 8/10

Ok, I'll say this first. It was either a high 7 or low 8. My overall score is NOT an average. I factor in gameplay much heavier than sound, for example. The gameplay is marred by glitches (an issue, but not as bad as some people claim) and a very steep learning curve. The graphics are outdated and isn't DS quality.
Otherwise, it's a solid HM title with some innovations and a respectable length.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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