I haven’t played a full Nintendo DS Harvest Moon game before, but I have heard good things. I’ve heard a lot of good things actually, like how Rune Factory is like this amazing thing, how Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness was to die for. But I could never muster enough interest to actually go out and purchase one, I usually just get the console versions of Harvest moon because I find myself more indulged in them, just the fact that I can sit down on the couch and stuff my face while I sow seeds and milk cows, all while wooing one of the many bachelorettes in town just seems more appealing to me. I feel like it’s more of a chore to play a handheld RPG game, like say Final Fantasy. I would never be able to play those games on a handheld, it’s just so weird to be holding up this small electronic device and playing a game that requires a lot of your time, not to mention battery life and constant recharging after a few hours of play.
But I finally caved and decided to buy the 3DS version of Harvest Moon: Tale of Two Towns. It was the only one that was there and I guess, it kind of appealed to me. Most of my friends were playing it anyway and I thought, why not? So me and my friend picked up a copy each. I guess it was more of an impulse buy really, but once I got home and popped it in I found myself hooked again. I can almost relate it to that feeling of playing Harvest Moon 64 for the first time, you just couldn’t stop playing because you have never experienced anything like it before.
Well, for the people that played Harvest Moon on the SNES I guess it was different, but for me, it was a new experience. The game starts off with you moving into one of the two towns, one has a little semi victorian charm, the other is a sort of country looking Japanese style town. Once you get settled in you find yourself already planting and sorting through which animals you want to buy. It kind of gets tedious after awhile but journeying from your town to the next becomes really fun, especially with your cart in tow as you forage for wild items on your way through the mountain.
The whole request system from Rune Factory is back and sad to say, it’s still the same. You get the repetitive missions that keep popping up but it also increases your friendship with the character who made the request.
You also don’t get to purchase or upgrade items when you want, you have to either unlock the Axe by becoming a friend with the local Blacksmith (who is a furry by the way, no joke.) or trigger events to get items you need. It gets a little annoying and boring at times, but there’s still a ton of other things to do. You have the festivals which are common to Harvest Moon players, rare for the ones who only played A Wonderful Life/Save the Homeland.
You also have these cooking festivals every once and awhile which trigger events to up the meter of friendship for both towns, yeah I forgot to mention that the Harvest Goddess wants you to make the towns friends with one another again. Still working on that though. Sometimes it’s a little hard to find the right ingredients or keep the ones you need and make sure they don’t spoil, but once it gets there it’s automatic that you win the cooking festivals if you have a good dish.
Making friends and wooing a mate is harder this time around, again you get a meter that doesn’t exactly tell you how many points you get when you talk to someone or give them gifts, it’s more of a matter of guessing where you before their flower blooms (little flower stems on the left of the conversation box that bloom, think of the hearts from previous games.)
Other than that it’s typical Harvest Moon, just a little more different than previous entries into the series. Now then, onto the pros and cons.
While the game has a lot to do, there can be times where you find yourself on a repetitive cycle of doing the same old requests and doing the same old thing to pass the days to the marked ones. You really have to be even more patient with this game, the time is a little slower than before and you have these important things you WANT to do, but never get a chance to.
Making friends and getting married is a little harder than before, I really wish the developer had a lot of time to implement a system where you can keep track of friendship points instead of guessing how much you have with the character. But then I guess like in reality, you don’t know how close you are with someone by keeping track of their friendship points, just by how many times they comment on your Facebook.
Also the 3D isn’t that good on the 3DS version, nothing really pops out at you other than text and conversation avatars.
It’s a different Harvest Moon experience if you take in your new surroundings. You have two towns you can travel to that each have their own special festivals, of course you can’t attend them unless you live in that town, but still. It adds replay value and you can also move to the other town when you get bored of your current town.
Farming is more fun with the trench option, instead of watering unit after unit after unit you can now water once and have an entire plot full. Makes doing other things more easier.
Should I buy this game?
Maybe, if you are a Harvest Moon fan and you haven’t played any of the DS iterations then yes, make the purchase. If not, then pass and wait for a new Harvest Moon game. You aren’t really missing anything and Natsume has yet to make a PERFECT Harvest Moon game.