Review by Muk1000

"The BEST handheld Harvest Moon yet!"

Note that I am reviewing the Japanese version, so any differences from this and the English version are not my fault. Unless I make a big mistake. And I intend not to do that.

Harvest Moon has always been a great series, but the handheld games have never matched the greatness of the console games. Until Friends of Mineral Town, that is! This game takes the town, people, story, and gameplay from the PS1 game Back to Nature and actually improves on it!

Gameplay: 10/10

The complicated yet simple to learn system of farming is once again present in Friends of Mineral Town. However, unlike its PS1 counterpart, this one has several noticeable differences:

- The day is shorter. One of the biggest problems in Back to Nature (at least to me) was that a single day could take fifteen minutes or more! Now, the days are a much more reasonable length. However, this makes it more difficult to cram everything in on your first few days. I actually ran out of energy on my first day because I overworked myself. And that lands you right in the local clinic for a day. Not a good thing.
- In Back to Nature, the view was overhead and slanted. Now, the view is directly overhead, which makes it a bit easier to move around.
- There are a couple new things to forage for, such as plants on the beach. Not a huge addition, but a noticeable one none-the-less.
- You can save anywhere, which is quite helpful. And because the game is in a cartridge format, saving doesn't take nearly as long.
- In Back to Nature, you walked with the D-pad and could run if you hold O. Now you have the option of switching that, so you don't have to hold a button to run. Very nifty.

Other important things are the fact you can get married to any of five girls, and have a child. I realize that this is not a difference, but you have never had this option in previous Game Boy Harvest Moons.

Story: 7/10

As a child, you visited your grandfather's farm. While there, you grew accustomed to that life and met a girl, who is supposed to be your future wife. When you are an adult, your grandfather kicks the bucket and you offer to take over the mess of a farm he left. You have three years to take this disaster and make a livable, profitable farm. If you don't manage to do that, you are promptly kicked out of the village. Luckily for you, you have to do really bad to have that happen, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Graphics: 9/10

A lot of work was obviously put into this one. The graphics rival Back to Nature's, and there is a great level of detail all throughout the game. In this reviewer's opinion, Friends of Mineral Town has some of the best Game Boy Advance graphics you can find.

Sound: 8/10

The music is not exactly enthralling, and can even be a bit boring at times. However, the sound effects are great, which make up for the poor music.

Replay: 9/10

With so much to do, and so many choices on how to do it, you can keep playing for a long time before the game gets dull. However, I still find myself picking up Harvest Moon games from time to time, even after is seems like I've already played them to death.

Buy or Not?

If you are a Harvest Moon fan, buy it. If not, rent it first, and if you enjoy it, buy it. I hope you enjoy this game as much as I do!


Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/26/03, Updated 06/26/03

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