Review by HM Master

"The Best Portable Harvest Moon Ever!"

Ah, Harvest Moon. I love these games. I've played them all except the second one on Game boy Color. I have liked them all. Is this my favorite? Well Harvest Moon 64 was my favorite, but this one is a definite second. This game has all the charm and fun of Back to Nature for PS one, but also has a lot more things to do and is more convenient to play. My review is below, but remember, the final score is NOT an average.

Gameplay (10/10)- Much more improved than Back to Nature. The view is now an overhead one, instead of a slanted view, making it easier to water your crops and pick things from the ground. The double button controls may be a little weird at first, but it's fine once you get used to it. Yes, I did accidentally throw a flower when trying to press A and B at the same time. But once you get used to it, they work well. Is the game easy? Well no and yes. It is easy to feed your animals and water each day, and to give gifts. but some events are tough, and getting the right timing for something. If you miss a special happening, it could be one year, five years, or never before the next time it will happen. That just makes you feel more inclined to be on time to things. Getting to a shop earlier in the day is much better than running frantically to get in a last minute buy or upgrade.

Story (8/10)- Ok, so the story is not anything grand and amazingly deep like Final Fantasy or something, but it fits the Harvest Moon mood perfectly. It is similar to Back to Nature, but instead of your Grandpa, it is just an old man you met when you got lost. You write him letters back and forth, and when he stops sending them, you go to see what's wrong. He died, so you are to take over the farm. It is your job to turn it into a successful place. That is fine for Harvest Moon; you wouldn't want big huge story parts, because Harvest Moon is based on time, so it would get a little strange.

Graphics/Sound (9/10)- Harvest Moon 64 and Back to Nature didn't have very good graphics for their time, but Friends of Mineral Town is quite good for GBA. There aren’t any glitches, as in the previous ones, and you can see the characters quite well. Natsume did a great job on the character models that appear when talking to that character. They are full of life and have vibrant colors. They have different expressions, some of which look quite funny. The sound is the same as Back to Nature, and that is what made me give it a nine. The sound is fine for a while, but you might get a little tired of it. Did I? No. But some people will, so you can just turn down the volume. The chicken squawk when selecting letters for names gets just a little annoying when you scroll across to get to a letter, hearing it repeat many times. Otherwise, everything is great.

Replay Value/Play Time (10/10)- Wow. So much to say, but I'm going to try to keep it relatively short. First, the play time. It is huge. Some of Harvest Moon's deepest secrets will take 50 years to get! If you don't want go for that though, you still have girls to marry, animals and crops, House upgrades, Festivals (Horse racing!), Fishing, Mining, and a lot of other things. Yes, you will be playing this one a long time if you get into it. There is two save files, so you can have multiple ones going. I have made countless files on HM64, and will on this one too. You will need to replay to marry different girls, and if you want to try a different life style. Plus, it’s really fun! Most will do better in their second and third files and so on because they know what to get and how to do it. Harvest Moon veterans will also love this game. It is like Back to Nature, so if your thinking “Well I played Back to Nature, I don't want do that again.'' STOP now. This game is like Back to Nature, but has much, much more going for it.

So in conclusion, this game is just awesome. Everyone who has played or liked a Harvest Moon game will definitely love this game. For those of you who are skeptical towards it, or are first timers, I still recommend a buy. But, if you find a place that rents GBA games or a friend has it, play it first. But remember, you can't just play Harvest Moon for a little and quit. To get the full enjoyment, you need to play for years and become a true farmer.

Gameplay- 10/10
Story- 9/10
Graphics/Sound- 9/10
Replay Value/Play Time- 10/10

Final Score- 10/10!!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/16/03

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