917th played so far

Genre: Life Simulation/Role-Playing
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Year of Release: 2003
Developer: Marvelous Interactive
Publisher: Marvelous Interactive/Natsume

I’ll be honest, the main reason Harvest Moon appears to be known now is that it’s the game Stardew Valley is based on – a decent enough recommendation, but not necessarily noteworthy enough to set it up on its own.  It’s a farming simulator now known as Story of Seasons that builds up a bigger world around your farm, where taking care of it becomes a small part of the things you can do around it – which aside from getting good relations with the other villagers, you can also go mining and do loads of other things.

While superficially similar to Animal Crossing in that sense, its approach to time management is what is so different. Where the latter takes its time – you can play all day but are paced in unlocks taking a day or two of real time – Harvest Moon instead forces you to use limited time on each in game day, and there are things you need to get done each day, which means planning to get everything done is important. It sounds stressful to me… I’ll see how that goes.

Our Thoughts

There is a lot of time pressure in this game, which can feel overwhelming at the start, to the point where I felt I wanted a guide to be able I focused what I needed to do well enough early on. Once you get started, however, it becomes clear there’s no real way to fail: you can always keep going, gather some free stuff and get new supplies if you need to. Once you get that feeling that there are no major deadlines, you can start to enjoy the game, petting your dog, earning money,  building up your farm and dealing with the village.

Even so, once you get going you do keep running up against the limitations, especially in the early game. Part of it is the usual – lack of storage space and inventory – but also that it takes money to get more options in and, indeed, to be able to automate a large part of the daily process. There are a lot of things in here – not always as deep as a lot of games offer, but there’s so much here and it clearly takes a long time to get there. At least, I suppose, you can play as many days as you want in a row.

Final Thoughts

As so many people did early in the year, we got majorly into Animal Crossing: New Horizons. As I said, you can’t compare the two as the games have quite different designs. Still, in finding a place to get away to, this is far more stressful and has too much going on. I was hoping for just a bit more guidance to actually figure out what’s in here.