Review by DemonKyoto

Reviewed: 01/26/04

One of the best in Natsume's HM series.

Introduction: Natsume brings the classic Harvest Moon series back to Gameboy Advance with its latest incarnation, Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town. If you recognize the name, there is a reason. FoMT is essentially a GBA version of the Playstations Harvest Moon: Back to Nature from 4 years ago. FoMT is a great improvement over the previous Harvest Moon Gameboy games with many features that make for great and fun gameplay.

Gameplay: In Harvest Moon: FoMT, you start as a young boy who visits an old, desolate farm. Soon after, the towns Mayor informs you that the farm now belongs to you, as you and your family had spent time with the owner of the farm before he had died. With the farm now in your hands, it is up to you to build it up and make your fortune. Unlike the normal ideals of a HM game ( where you would have a few years to make the farm successful, to win the game ), FoMT is fairly open ended with no timelines, your main goal being just to run a farm how you see fit. You start out with several tools, such as a Hoe, Sicle, Hammer, Axe and a Watering can, a chicken coop, a building for cows and sheep, and a gigantic area of farmland to grow crops on. Your farm is located just south of Mineral Town, the small town where everyone else lives, and where all the stores and places are. In order to make your farm run, you need to make some money, and there is several ways of doing so. First off, you can grow crops. With the money you start out with, you can purchase bags of seeds from the supermarket, and after preping some land, you can plant them and water them daily until the crops you chose are ready to be harvested, at which point you would place the crops in the bin to be picked up ( and paid for ) at 5 PM. In addition to growing crops, you can raise livestock. You can have cows, sheep and chickens on your farm, which will give you egg's, wool, and milk which you can use or sell for extra money. Lastly, you can gather items and mine to make money. There are random items all over the game ( like mushrooms, berries, apples, honey ) which you can sell for money, and there are 2 mines which you can dig for precious metals and jewels which you can also sell to make money. Aside from the farming/money making aspect of the game, there are also a few other features. You can cook food now, with crops you grow and items you buy/find. You can purchase a kitchen and utensils from the home shopping channel every Saturday, and use them to create differant meals which you can give to people/enter in contests/eat ( I.E. Take an egg from one of your chickens and put it in the pot, and you'll get a boiled egg ). Lastly, one of the main side-features of the game, is getting married. There are several girls in Mineral Town, and thru talking to them/giving them gifts they like, you can eventually get them to fall in love with you, and once your ready, marry each other ( and eventually have a baby ). But watch out, because each girl has a guy in the town who wants to be with her, and if you wait too long, the girl you want may get snatched up by her corresponding man.

Story: As stated in the Gameplay, you arrive on an old farm one day and run into the Mayor, who informs you that the owner has died. You see a small cutscene of you on the farm as a child, befriending the old man who owned the farm. It turns out that the old man left the farm to you, so now that you have arrived, the Mayor turns it over to you so you can clean it up and run it successfully.

Graphics and Sound: The graphics of FoMT are very well done. The game is almost a mirror of the Playstation version, and looks amazingly good. The sound was done beautifully. The music is very nice and fits the game perfectly, and the sounds are very realistic, down to the moo's that the cows make and the baa's that the sheeps make.

Replayability: FoMT has much replayability. You would think that playing a game like this would get boring after awhile, but with all the features in the game, it will easily take a long time to be able to complete everything you want to in the game. One of the great factors of the game is that even if you get bored with it, you can challange yourself in the game, by buying more animals and planting more crops. Understandably, you can only harvest/take care of so many crops/animals during the course of a single day, so by increasing the numbers of both, you can challange yourself into improving, which is great in a Harvest Moon game.

Final Recommendation: Overall, Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town is a beautifully done addition to Natsume's Harvest Moon series, which brings a Playstation game back to the Gameboy where it rightfully belongs. FoMT is excellently crafted with long lasting gameplay and more then enough features to keep its player happy for a long time to come. Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town gets a 9.5 out of 10, and rightfully deserves such a score.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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