Review by SilverBullet00

"Farming on the go? What could be better?"

After about seven games in North America and they continue with the same game style, Natsume must be doing something right. The Harvest Moon series reappears on the GameBoy Advance with a great game that is surely to be enjoyed by Harvest Moon vets and newcomers alike.

Game Play: 9/10

Game play follows the traditional Harvest Moon style, so it’ll be very easy for a vet to pick up and play. For a lack of buttons compared to the PSX and N64 controller, this game is easy to figure out and play. It uses shortcuts to make up for less buttons. Most are the L-Button plus another button and take almost no time to memorize. The game also has a tutorial for players if they ever get stuck at a certain point or just need a little reminder. Another plus is the amount of upgrades you can perform in this game. Instead of just the house, you can also upgrade your barn, chicken coop, etc. and in the kitchen, you get multiple utensils to cook up delicious meals and treats. One thing I’ve noticed when playing is the game clock. To me, it feels that time passes by faster in this game than compared to the other Harvest Moon games I’ve played (about five seconds = ten minutes of game time). It can really put a strain on you if you are trying to make it to an event on time, but it does make for less waiting for stores to open or for certain characters to appear for an event or to interact with. One thing that annoys me about this game, however, is the directions in which you can move. You can move up, down, left, and right, but not why diagonal? There are diagonal paths in the game, why no diagonal movement? Oh well, it’s still a great game.

Story: 9/10

You pay a visit to a farm of an old man from your past, and you find out that he has passed away. As you mourn his passing, the local mayor tells you that the old man has left the farm in your name! What a guy! This is where the game picks up and you are left to decide how the story works out from there. Will you get married and have a family while building the farm of your dreams? Will you stay a swinging bachelor? Will you be known for your expert farming and animal husbandry skills? Will you be loved by all of the villagers and hated by none or vice-versa? As with the previous Harvest Moon games, how the story turns out is all up to you…

Graphics: 8/10

It has great graphics for a GameBoy Advance game and doesn’t look pixilated like some other GameBoy Advance games. This game’s graphics look similar to the graphics seen in Harvest Moon 64 and Harvest Moon: Back to Nature. Only thing I have a problem with is when I am watering crops. It’s hard to tell which square has already been watered and which one still needs to be watered. From my experience, it only happens on an original GameBoy Advance because of the lighting, but upgrading your watering can fast can fix that problem.

Sound: 9/10

Some people say that the music in this game gets old fast, but I enjoy the music. The background music is catchy and uplifting, like the previous Harvest Moon games. They add in little sounds effects like a chicken clucking or a dog whimpering when you save the game, open/close menus, etc. for a little extra kick. If it gets to the point where you are tired of the background music, but still want to keep the speakers up to listen for sound effects, you can unlock hidden songs to play as the background music on your farm, but we won’t get into that just yet...

Replay Value: 10/10

Replay value on this game is high just because this game just keeps on counting the years that you play and there is no set ending like some of the previous Harvest Moon games. I’m glad that I can play this game to my heart’s content without worrying about a limit on how long I can play it. However, I really don’t see a point in restarting this game as some accomplishments in this game are bothersome to perform multiple times (reach the bottom of the mine yet?) unless you want to marry a different girl.

Overall: 9/10

This game should keep you glued to your GBA for a long while. It’s a life-simulation game with no set ending or time limit, after all, and I would certainly expect it to last for a while.

For those of you who haven’t played a Harvest Moon game, I would recommend playing one or, at least, giving this one a chance. People who say that this type of game looks boring or unappealing (in general) haven’t played a Harvest Moon game yet. If they can past their ego and try out this game, they’ll find out that this game is fun and addicting.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/24/03

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