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Platform: Game Boy Advance
Publisher: Natsume
Developer: Victor
Genre: Simulation RPG
Format: Cartridge
Release: US 12/01/03 - Japan 04/18/03



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"Here, chicken, chicken, chicken..."
 
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"Freakish pink haired girls.. just like in every game!"
 
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"Hey, you! Get out before I use my hammer!"
 
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"Are you making fun of my hat?!"
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John McCarroll
Preview First Look
09/14/03
John McCarroll

Harvest Moon. As a game, it’s a veteran series with several games under the moniker; and as a game concept, it’s an unusual farming/life sim that sees your character grow his farm and make a family. Viewed by many consumers as aimed for a younger audience, most who have taken the time to explore it find a rewarding RPG.

Natsume is publishing this latest adventure on the farm; Friends of Mineral Town. Based on the PSOne game, Back to Nature, Natsume assures consumers that the game is all new and will be as enjoyable as the previous titles. The main feature Natsume is touting in their new Harvest Moon games is the GameCube to Game Boy Advance connectivity. Players will be able to connect their copies of A Wonderful Life and Mineral Town to unlock features and transfer information from one town to another.

Harvest Moon is one of the few series that still prefers functionality over graphical style with current technology. The 2D sprites are similar to those that you would find in any 16-bit RPG, as is the anime portrait dialogue boxes when characters speak to each other. People looking for the faux 3D Golden Sun touted will be left disappointed, but this left developer Victor with more time to work on what Harvest Moon has always been about.

The general concept has been the same since its initial release: Build or save a farm, find a wife, and raise a family. Mineral Town is no different; you’ll be tending crops, feeding the pig, and courting women at the autumn festival. There is no villain out to take over the world in Harvest Moon; instead your ultimate goal in the game is to be successful and happy, those looking for a traditional goal won’t be wowed by Harvest Moon’s open-ended gameplay.

Set in the town from Back to Nature, people familiar with the characters in that version of the game will find them returning in Mineral Town. Players will also be able to visit A Wonderful Life’s “Forget-me-not Valley” when connected to the GameCube version of the game. There are five ladies for the character to court, which are done with standard ‘love-sim’ conversations and giving gifts. Mini-games, such as a Frisbee toss that shows how well you have trained your pet present a charming diversion from working the fields; and mining is also available for extra cash when the crops are failing.

With the release imminent, fans of this Natsume-published series will be hard pressed to find a better farming simulation anywhere; of course, they’ll be hard pressed to find another farming sim, period. Players looking for a typical game should probably steer clear, but those looking for a unique experience should try Harvest Moon.



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© 2003 Natsume Inc.
All Rights Reserved.



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