Harvest Moon Review by: EirinnCasual gaming at it's finest
Harvest Moon: The game that started it all. This series has branched out onto many platforms including the gameboy, gameboy color, Nintendo 64, Playstation, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo ds, gamecube, and more. So many installments in the series can only mean one thing: a steady fan base. And when you pick up one of these games, you'll see why it enjoys such a steady fan base. Now let's move on to the reviewing, shall we?
Decent sized, detailed sprites, and a relaxed camera angle make this game easy on the eyes. It holds it's own with games of it's era. Nice use of shadows, and slight changes in colors and surroundings for each season makes for a fresh look at scenery. No small task considering there are no new levels. What you see is what you get. Thankfully, what you see is appealing.
I found the in-game music delightful in every season. The occasional dog bark and bird chirp was also a nice touch. The only issue I have with the sound is the relatively high pitched, hollow sound stumps and boulders make when hitting them with your axe/hammer. However this isn't much of an issue really, as it isn't annoying, just odd and a bit unnatural.
While there isn't much story at all before the game starts, (in fact you learn more of the story behind your taking the farm over from talking to villagers than from the opening of the game) , I cannot rate it any lower, because the story that develops beyond that can be rather interesting, and develops depending on your actions. With at least five different stories to folow (one for each available girl), and the option to have a baby, there is a good story to be heard. Still, the plot changes are small, so I cannot give it any higher of a rating than I did.
I rated it this high despite the lack of an in depth storyline, because it has so many diferent paths to choose. You can marry any one of the five eligible ladies in town, each with her own little addition to your story, and you can choose (depending on your actions) to have a baby, or not to. You may also play through the game and remain single (but why would you want to?). With so many different paths to take, and the options to make money solely by farming, or by harvesting wild fruit, raising livestock, or fishing, there is a decent amount of depth there.
Why so low? you can't lose. Also, making money is easy, as is getting a girl to marry you. There really isn't much of a difficulty factor here.
Playing through once and seeing the story changes makes you want to play again and again, and with five available girls, you have a reason to play at least five times. And I personally enjoy myself just as much each time.
I honestly rate this a 10/10 myself, but I figured the fair way to review it would be to average out the individual ratings (I exclude difficulty).
This game was an epic game for it's time, and I recommend it very strongly if you enjoy relaxed gaming on any level. There is a reason this series is my number one all-time favorite. After all these years and all these games, I still find myself coming back to it. It is unquestionably a classic.