Review by VMD

""Yes Mom, I'll be working on that report until 3..." *goes back to playing Harvest Moon*"

Harvest Moon is one of the greatest gaming series of our time, and it returns with another great installation to the series, Friends of Mineral Town. Although most of the handheld Harvest Moon games weren't up to my expectations, this one is definitely above and beyond what I hoped!

Graphics- 10
The graphics in this game are simply stunning. The careful attention to the details in the foods are amazing, ranging from the cracks in a potato to the complex array of recipes you can cook. Also, the characters have many well-done facial expressions, and their large size is definitely an improvement over other HM games. I've never felt so attracted to a video game character ever! The scenery is also beautiful, as you walk through the plain but cute Mineral Town and its forests.

Sound- 10
Well, I was taking a shower, and being the musical person I am, I always hum something. All of a sudden, the theme from the town sprang out of my mouth, and it was a good 3 minutes before I realized it. Wow. The music is incredibly addicting, and fits perfectly into the game. The separate season themes are all astoundingly fun to work to. In addition to quality, there are lots of sounds for you to hear! The music doesn't get repetitive easily, and you will find plenty of new tunes to hum to as you play through the game.

Gameplay- 9
Unlike many of the other HM games, where the camera was slanted and difficult to adjust, the camera in Friends of Mineral Town is great, plain and simple. However, the controls are a different story. Although there are many shortcuts to use, the endless tasks that you must do take up a lot of time when you need to press 3 buttons just to take the right item out, and the clock is always ticking. Even though the game is packed to the brim with button combinations to allow easier gameplay, there are still some inconveniences that still remain. Positioning is sometimes a pain in the neck, especially when there are many things in one small area to pick up. However, I appreciate the effort Natsume put into making this game as easily enjoyable as it is, and it earns a solid 9 in gameplay.

Story- 7
Oof. Better than most of the HM games, where you simply take over your grandpa's farm. Now you take over an old man's farm, who was a pen pal of yours. Not the greatest story, but Harvest Moon doesn't need it.

Replay- 10
There are so many variations you can do every time you replay this game, from courting other girls, growing different crops, and generally prioritizing certain activites over others. Becoming friends with different people can severely alter the path that you take in Harvest Moon, which adds incredibly depth to the game. Also, considering that one day takes at least 5 minutes if time is continuous, getting some of the ultimate upgrades can take you up to 800 hours (30 years) of gameplay. 800 HOURS!!! Can any game rival that??

Incredible. This game has deprived me of so much sleep these past few days, and it will do the same to you. Have fun farming! (and falling asleep in class)

Final Score- 10/10!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/19/03

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