Harvest Moon Assessment | RPGFan

I’ve been fascinated by Harvest Moon ever since studying about it in Nintendo Energy journal, however that fascination surprises me even right this moment. I used to be busy making an attempt out my first RPGs and making an attempt to complete The Legend of Zelda: A Hyperlink to the Previous earlier than Zelda 64 was because of launch; nonetheless, the sport about getting married, proudly owning a cow, and planting corn was the one on my thoughts. I learn the journal guides repeatedly and had deliberate out all the pieces I needed to do, however I by no means owned Harvest Moon.

I lastly had my probability to personal a digital farm once I acquired Harvest Moon 64 as a present just a few years later. It wasn’t the sport I had memorized all of the guides for, but it surely hooked me all the identical. I nonetheless hoped that sometime I’d get to attempt the unique sport, however I must wait till maturity for my probability. My first alternative arrived when Harvest Moon launched as a part of the Digital Console for Nintendo Wii. I excitedly bought it and began enjoying, after which virtually instantly give up. The sport felt previous. The farming simulation style had moved on and improved on the components, so why go backward once I had already performed a number of extra fashionable Harvest Moon video games?

Greater than a decade later, I really feel a bit pissed off by the farming simulation style. My favourite a part of the style is rising tons of crops and elevating a modest variety of animals. Many fashionable farming video games don’t give attention to the straightforward components I get pleasure from essentially the most however as an alternative give attention to telling a narrative and combating monsters. So, when Harvest Moon arrived as a part of the Nintendo Change On-line service, I made a decision it was time to provide it one other probability.

Armed with my new “much less is extra” mindset, Harvest Moon started to shine from the very starting and reinvigorated my love for the style. Sadly, that shine pale earlier than the sport formally ended.

As you’ll count on from the sport that spawned a collection adopted by a complete style, Harvest Moon incorporates all the foundational features of a farming sim. You inherit a run-down farm and are anticipated to repair it up inside two and a half years, and you’re solely supplied with a handful of primary instruments: a sickle, a hoe, a hammer, and an axe. Close by, there’s a mountain path the place you may gather supplies and a city the place you should buy seeds and animals. The city can be dwelling to the 5 ladies you may marry; you may win their hearts by giving them items.

You spend the primary few days or even weeks of the sport clearing your land of weeds, rocks, and stumps to start planting the basic three-by-three grids of turnips and potatoes and maybe shopping for a hen to get you began on the trail to farming greatness. As I performed by way of the sport’s early phases, a comforting nostalgia saved me going. This was the straightforward farming sport I had been in search of, and the mechanics largely aged effectively.

The sport continued to impress me as I discovered all its quirks. In an surprising twist, the clock stops at 6 pm on daily basis and you aren’t required to sleep, so you may hold working as a lot as you need. Once you run out of stamina, a fast run up the mountain to the recent springs will give all of it again. All you must do is bounce out and in of the recent springs 5 instances to replenish your stamina after which get again to work. Alternatively, all the pieces you wish to promote needs to be within the delivery bin by 5 pm, and putting it within the bin at evening will solely waste it (it spoils in a single day and gained’t promote). Animals should even be fed in the course of the day to maintain them wholesome, and all the townsfolk fall asleep at 6 pm.

Collectively, these quirks brought about a reversal of my typical farming routine. As a substitute of waking up and watering the crops, I used to be waking up, caring for the animals, operating any errands on the town, after which harvesting as many crops as doable earlier than 5 pm. Watering crops might occur at evening. It was an odd routine, but it surely meant that the speedy clock was by no means a burden; I had as a lot time as I wanted to get additional chores completed.

I had a superb routine in place by the point I reached my first Summer season. I had chosen my future spouse, Ellen, and had a routine of going to city on daily basis to provide her a present, and I had a subject of corn and tomatoes able to have a tendency on daily basis. The sport exceeded all of my expectations, after which I reached Fall.

There aren’t any crops to develop in Fall. I anticipated this to occur within the Winter, and I used to be not wanting ahead to it, however I figured I might deal with 30 days of a much less thrilling routine. However no, Fall was barely extra attention-grabbing than Winter. It was 60 days of a much less thrilling routine. The sport grew to become rather more tedious, however I managed to maintain it attention-grabbing by getting married, ending my home upgrades, increasing the variety of cows and chickens I needed to deal with, attending the extra frequent vacation occasions, and getting ready for the start of my first baby. I knew the second Spring was proper across the nook, and I now had the land cleared and was able to hit the bottom operating with an enormous subject of crops.

All of it labored in accordance with plan. I significantly expanded the farm within the second yr. I by no means managed to utilize all the land — it’s an ample house — however I used to be happy. The second Summer season was the spotlight of your entire sport. I maximized the variety of animals I might hold and saved rising as many crops as doable. I used to be incomes 1000’s of gold on daily basis, managing to save lots of 100,000 gold in order that I might lastly…say that I did it?

On the finish of the second Summer season, I spotted the sport was mainly over. I had already completed virtually all the pieces doable. I used to be nonetheless ready for the start of my second baby, however that occurs robotically should you get married early sufficient. There have been no extra home upgrades (there are solely two), the farm couldn’t broaden, there have been no new crops to attempt, and there have been no new animals to deal with. The ultimate 180 days of gameplay would simply be a routine: incomes cash to say you probably did it.

And that’s when the entire sport form of fell aside for me.

A major distinction between this sport and lots of, however not all, future Harvest Moon video games is that the sport runs on a strict time restrict. This isn’t a state of affairs the place you get evaluated after two and a half years and see the credit, however then you definitely get to maintain constructing your farm. No. Two and a half years is the top, after which your farm is gone and also you begin over. This has not aged effectively. That is the primary entry within the collection, and after enjoying to the top, I perceive why future video games usually have massive targets that appear initially unachievable. Harvest Moon lacks these targets, and, consequently, you run out of significant goals in a short time. I managed to remain excited longer as a result of I needed to see the farm absolutely operational in yr two, however I had seen virtually all the pieces there was to see by the top of the primary yr.

I can see how the sport would have labored otherwise when it was new. I started the sport with intensive information about how most of these video games work, however a brand new participant in 1997 would have by no means skilled something like this earlier than. Consequently, I might broaden the farm quicker and earn more cash than a typical participant would have. Figuring out that the sport has a strict ending, you would method the sport extra like an arcade sport or a roguelike the place you attempt to see how effectively you are able to do on every run. Nevertheless, the time dedication doesn’t appear price it to me.

Ideally, I believe the sport ought to have ended on the finish of the second yr as an alternative of the center of the third yr. I used to be prepared for the sport to be over after six of the ten seasons, however some gamers could get pleasure from caring for giant flocks of animals greater than I do, and giving these additional two seasons could be helpful.

The sport’s closing stretch grew to become so tedious that the shortage of contemporary quality-of-life options lastly started to indicate. There isn’t a stock system. You possibly can carry two instruments at a time and swap between them with a button press, however you need to run again to your shed to select up completely different instruments. When you’re harvesting crops or amassing gadgets on the mountain, you may solely carry one merchandise at a time and you must return to the delivery bin (even from the mountain) to promote the merchandise you choose up. Your horse has a conveyable delivery bin on its saddle, however the sport has no additional reminiscence for the place the horse is left. So, should you run again to the shed to select up a software, the horse will reset to its secure each time. Even driving the horse across the farm is barely troublesome because it gained’t keep outdoors the buildings you enter.

Harvest Moon additionally has translation and efficiency issues. The interpretation is fairly tough at instances, with some sentences lacking phrases, and the dialogue is pretty uninteresting throughout the board apart from the occasional unintended chuckle from a damaged sentence. There’s no cause to speak to anybody apart from the 5 marriage candidates, so you can’t add significant gameplay within the later seasons by speaking to villagers.

I started promoting my cows and chickens in the course of the second Fall and Winter due to efficiency issues. It’s common for an NES or Tremendous NES sport to have some slowdown when the display screen will get busy. I can deal with that. However Harvest Moon encourages you to have extra animals than the sport can moderately load. A full secure of 12 cows runs in fixed slowdown; your run is now the velocity of your stroll. The total hen coop is just not as unhealthy, however the mixture of occasional slowdown and the tediousness of feeding all of them with out some other significant gameplay to interrupt up every feeding made it straightforward to justify lowering the quantity. Sadly, that additionally meant that I acquired a decrease rating on the finish as a result of I didn’t have sufficient animals.

The sport does have some secrets and techniques to uncover. There are hidden stamina upgrades (Energy Berries), rewards to earn at festivals, upgraded golden instruments, and another secrets and techniques you may miss. I actually loved this a part of the sport, and I’m glad they expanded these options in future entries. However, like the home upgrades, there aren’t sufficient of them to maintain attention-grabbing issues taking place for ten seasons.

When the sport lastly ended, I used to be drained and previous prepared for it to be over. I had unlocked lots of the secret ending scenes (which aren’t difficult to earn), however I nonetheless acquired a impartial or unhealthy ending as a result of I had not adopted the standards the sport needed me to. I later discovered that the sport has some quantity glitches that primarily imply that making an attempt too onerous may be the identical as not doing it in any respect (e.g. once you max out a rating, it then rolls again over to zero).

My whole expertise with this sport has left me torn. Harvest Moon was precisely what I needed it to be at first, but it surely overstayed its welcome as a result of it lacks adequate long-term targets. The simplicity was nostalgic and enjoyable for the primary half of the sport, after which the identical simplicity made the second half one of the vital boring gaming experiences I’ve had in current reminiscence. When you get pleasure from farming video games, Harvest Moon is price enjoying, but it surely’s not price ending. Play Harvest Moon to expertise the beginnings of what should be one of the vital unlikely online game genres ever to exist, however give up as quickly as your new farm scent wears off.


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