Review by shneepshnop
"I am addicted to a game where I farm, feed chickens, and take care of cows. How cool am I???"
How do you spell addiction? (Don’t spell it for me I’m not stupid). Harvest Moon Back To Nature is probably the most fun game I have ever played. It kept me glued to my PSX for about a week +. I would go to school, come home and play Harvest Moon. People would call for me, but I would tell them I was to busy. I just had to keep playing. This is the only Harvest Moon I have ever played. I hear the one on N64 is great as is the one on Gamecube. But I wont be dishing out 50 bones to get Harvest moon on the crap system known as N64, and I wont get conned into buying the system with the crappiest controller known to mankind, AKA Gamecube. So Harvest Moon Back To Nature will have to do =P.
Gameplay – 30/30
You are this boy, lets call him Jesus (since that is what I named him =P). Jesus must make $$$ through farming otherwise he cannot make a living. You make $$$ by selling stuff that you grow or make, such as different kinds of veggies, eggs, mayonase, milk, wool, etc. You don’t start off with much only some tools, a worthless dog and a mess. You start with a few different kinds of tools; a hammer, sickle, hoe, ax and a watering can. You can get more like a larger backpack, a basket, brush, clippers, milker, and a fishing pole. You buy different kinds of seeds from the town store and if you plant them and take good care of them you can grow crops. These crops can be sold for money, or can be stored in your refrigerator to be eaten later. There are 4 seasons and different crops can be grown in each, so you must plant accordingly.
Making money through farming isn’t the only way to score $$$. You can make it through livestock. Eventually you will get the option to purchase cows, chickens, and sheep. Cows yield milk, chickens eggs, and sheep wool. You will need new tools to get the products from the sheep and cows, these can be bought in the town. Eventually if you become rich you can buy machines to turn these products products into something more useful. Eggs to mayonnaise, milk to cheese, etc. you can expand your barn and chicken coup to hold more livestock, but this costs mucho $$$.
Farming isn’t the only thing to do in these parts. You must find a wife. Well lucky you, you get choose from a selection of 6 girls, each with different personalities, likes and dislikes, and lifestyles. You can get them to like you by speaking to them daily, bringing them stuff, etc. Their love for you will be shown on the bottom right-hand corner by a heart. Depending on which color it is that is how much they like you. If you want a wife good manners and nice gestures aren’t all that will determine if she’s yours. You’ll need to expand your shack of a house. This is expensive but adds different things to your house, like extra rooms and a kitchen. A kitchen?!? And you can use it too. =) in your kitchen you can learn new recipes and impress your townspeople even more.
There is more to this game like ever changing weather, a hothouse, mining, fishing, raising fish, and more. There are also never ending minigames that take place in the town if you want to participate. So don’t think that what is listed is all that there is to do in this game.
Funfactor - 20/20
Who would of thought a game about farming would be so much fun. When I first heard of that game I thought to myself “Ha! What a stupid idea for a game. Only dorks would play something like that!” Well I learned 2 things when I played this game. #1 don’t judge a book, er game, by its cover. #2 well, evidently I am a dork. Sue me… Anyways this game is extremely fun. I don’t think it would be for everyone, but I would say that we should all give it a try. This game is repetitive but is extremely fun.
Controls - 11/15
Controls are blocky. You can only move up, down, left, and right. Not diagonally. When you hold the run button Jesus (hehe) starts to run and he will keep running in the direction he is facing until you releases the circle button, despite if you move him or not. But considering what you do in this game, precision controls aren’t necessary. They were good enough for me.
Graphics – 10/15
Arg!!! You gotta love good ol’ SNES caliber graphics on the PSX. Everything is bright and beautiful but well detailed, just not by today’s standards. There are not any cutting edge cut scenes showcasing the Playstation’s superb graphical capabilities, but those aren’t necessary. Who would want to see a FMV where there is farming around. Hopefully no one will raise their hands. The graphics here aren’t great but, like the controls, are good enough.
Music/Sound - 9/15
Get your mute button ready, because you will need it. The same theme will play over and over again during your farming, which takes up the majority of your free time. Sure there are different scenes during town visits and the mini-games, but those scenes are only for a short time. Sound effects are decent, I suppose, but I don’t think I know anyone who actually cares about those.
Story – 2/5
You move back to you grand dad’s farm that you inherited when he passed away. You have 3 years to take the poorly kept farm and turn it into a striving center for economic opportunity. Nothing interesting here.
Replayability – B 5/5
There is a lot here. You can date any of the 6 different girls in the town, and you can live your life and raise your farm any way you want to. Plus there is so much to do and this game is so fun, that you may want to give it a go again, after a little bit of time has passed.
Overall - 87/100
-A lot of fun
-Lots of replay value
-Very, very repetitive
-Only sub-par graphics
When its all said and done Harvest Moon Back To Nature is a “must own” game for the PSX. It delivers a lot of fun and is very entertaining for all ages. However, like most games this may not be for everybody.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/06/04
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