Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing are both wonderful franchises that we find relaxing with life simulation-like goals to improve our towns, relationships with others, and our protagonist’s life in general. Harvest Moon is my preferred franchise. While the main point is to work hard and improve a farm from a sad, desolate piece of land, you set your own other goals and live as you like.
Meanwhile, I’m a bigger fan of Animal Crossing. While you don’t have a farm to take care of, you can work on your house. Decorating it, expanding upon it, and even bettering the shops and museum in your village. Plus, you meet a plethora of animal characters, building relationships with them, and overall living life.
I feel as if the main difference between the franchises is that Animal Crossing focuses more on the house while Harvest Moon focuses on the farm. Bettering your farm allows you to raise whatever crops and adorable animals you want, selling the produce to earn money to invest further into your farm and the main village itself. Bettering your house in Animal Crossing allows you to… pay back your debts to a raccoon.
Bettering your house allows you to become an interior designer, duh. While the farming is cool and all, I like being able to collect various styles of furniture, objects, and other collectible items to fill my home with. I can mail items to villagers in my town and they can send me items back. It’s a win-win. Plus, there are new items in the shops every day and there are bugs and fish to collect to sell and put into a museum.
Hey, plenty of the Harvest Moon games allow you to better your house as well. It’s usually a requirement, actually, to build a bigger house if you want to get married and have children. Some games have the ability to change the wallpaper and flooring, to decorate your house as you see fit. It’s limited, of course, but when you’re busy getting rich off your farm, it’s something that takes a backseat. If you like collecting, try finding every item you can forage, growing every crop you can, and completing the little produce checklist.
In Animal Crossing, I can get rich easily off of fishing. I can collect fish, bugs, paintings, and so much more. I get my fill, sure enough. And yeah, you can marry and have children in Harvest Moon, but it’s pretty slim pickings. While you don’t get married in Animal Crossing, there are over 300 villagers to meet, become friends, and collect their pictures. Trying to meet all the villagers and getting them all to move in your town adds a lot of replayability.
Don’t you have to kick out villagers from your town in order to get new ones to move in? What kind of neighbor are you to do that? Besides, over 300 villagers would be annoying to keep up with. The Harvest Moon games have fun casts to grow relationships with. If you want replayability, try shaping your farm differently during each play through. Harvest Moon games allow you to pass time more quickly than Animal Crossing as well. If you want to go to the next day in Harvest Moon, you just save and sleep in your bed. Animal Crossing makes you a slave to its real-time mechanics, especially when it comes to the shops.
While some people kick their villagers out, I wait until the villagers move out on their own. And yes, the real-time can get a bit annoying, but most people just change the clock on the handheld or console. Plus, in New Leaf, they added ordinances where you can make your town an early bird or night owl allowing the shops and villagers to wake up and go to sleep either earlier or later, respectively. This was great for me since I typically play in the evening and was able to keep the shops open until well after I actually go to bed in real life. But I guess we’ll let everyone else decide.