Review by BattleStarX
Finally, a good Harvest Moon
After all these years, Natsume has finally hit the nail on the head again. Sure, I haven't gotten too far into the game yet, but I've noticed quite a few things that this game has to offer. It may be slightly oppinionated (if I spelled that right,) but then again, what good review isn't.
Graphics 10/10 - No longer are we looking at old, recycled graphics in various bit-rates, instead everyone here, even our friends from Mineral Town who pop up, have nice, new graphics. They're rendered in what I like to call 2-1/2D. That is, the graphics are obviously 3D, but the play method is 2D, in this case, top down. Yes, the guy is still wearing a blue ball cap backwards, but we gotta have some things of old to remain. The fields you run on are also nicely done, showing some beautiful graphics (for a DS game) and the brightness of the game during night is pretty decent too, you can see to a good degree. The tool graphics have also been improved, and their charging animation is interesting.
Sound 9/10 - Everything sounds pretty good, all though your running footstep sounds come out faster than you run. You get some great night time sound effects in this game, and there are plenty of others too.
Music 10/10 - I love the music in this game, it's relaxing, memoriable, and not grating on the ears. The music does stop at 6pm this time, instead of 8, but you get some nice background noise. The use of stereo was nicely done.
Controls 8/10 - It takes a while, but once you get used to it, it's easy to use the touch screen. There are dificulties when using your tools out of the farm, since you walkthrough stones and brances and things like that, but whenever you're on your field, there's always a target square to help you aim. After some practice, you'll be able to "throw" your shipping or feed without going through the confirmation screen. Being able to switch which side of the touch screen your menu and tools/items is on is also a plus, and having both the D-Pad and the buttons perform the same function lets us lefties and righties use the stylus in relative comfort. Also, you might notice a slight loosness in the controls, since you can pick things up at an angle, but you can't use tools at an angle. Mind you, the control loosness is no where near as bad as it was on A Wonderful Life. Note, that you should be using a DS stick, not it's thumbstrap at all times, it's not easy with the wideness of the thumbstrip.
Dificulty 4/10 - Not overly difficult of a game, but the addition of a "Fullness" Bar makes things extremely touchy at first, when you don't have a kitchen or green house to grow or make things to eat. And like in HMDS, you can just purchase the materials when you do expansion. Also, a few things that make it easier, you can ship practically everything (you even make 1g per weed you ship!) and with the exceptions of their days off, no one is ever closed. You wake up at 6am, every store is open at 6am. One thing on the difficult counter is that you can only give 1 gift per day to the islanders. It's nothing you can't get used to, it just means you have to break some old habbits (last HM game I bought was Friends of Mineral Town.) Other old habbits you have to break is with your grass. In this game, you need to water it or else it won't grow right (or so the game says,) and you need a certain amount of light supposedly for your crops to grow as well. Oh, it's not really part of the dificulty, but you now have more than just sun, rain and storm for the game. You have sunny weather, cloudy weather, drizzle / light snow fall, rain / snow storm and torrential rain / blizzard.
Multiplayer ?/10 - Haven't done it myself yet, but ranking yourself against other farmers or your friends is cool. Supposedly you can win prizes if you're in 1st place for long enough.
Overal 9/10 - Not quite perfect, but almost there. Yes, your bride/husband choice is fairly limited when you start off, but if you focus on expanding the town, you'll soon be able to woo your target npc easy enough. Oh, that's right, you can play both Boy and Girl in one game (something that hasn't shown up since the GBC Series) and you have 2 saves on one game. Probably the best game since Back to Nature, with an original story (much as any HM game has one,) and nice new sprites. A must to pick up if you're an HM fan, a great game to try if you've never played one before.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Harvest Moon DS: Island of Happiness (US, 08/26/08)
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