[Review] Harvest Moon: Light of Hope

Double Jump | Video Games | Nintendo Switch | Harvest Moon | Light of Hope | Review | Game Review

Title: Harvest Moon: Light of Hope
Developer: Natsume
Publisher: Natsume
Platform:
PC, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4
Category:
Role-Playing, Simulation
Release Date:
May 29, 2018 for Switch/Playstation 4 in NA; November 14, 2017 for PC
How we got the game:
Bought it for the Switch

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Harvest Moon has been one of my favorite franchises since I was introduced to Friends of Mineral Town for the GameBoy Advance way back when I was in… I dunno, the beginning of high school? It was a long time ago, let’s just say that. I feel as if the older titles in the franchise better capture what Harvest Moon is supposed to be about, and I think that Light of Hope recaptured that.

gameplay

Harvest Moon: Light of Hope operates in a similar way to the majority of the other games in the franchise. As one of the main objectives of the game, you spend much of your time cultivating a farm, growing crops and raising livestock. Fishing and mining are also two activities that you do in order to help improve both your farm and the island itself.

The controls for Light of Hope are, actually, fairly simple. With the Switch controls set up the way I had them, usually in the Switch’s handheld mode, you move your character with the left analog stick and the A button on the right Joy-Con was your main action button.

A cursor — usually a little leaf or a green square if you were by a farming spot — showed you where you could make an action. The green leaf was used basically to indicate who you could talk to, while a green square would indicate what tool you could use. There is no switching tools around in this game. Instead, the game is smart enough to know what tool you need based on what you were facing. If there’s a tree in front of you, you’ll automatically use the ax to cut it down. You’ll swing your hammer if you meet a stone. And if you were facing a spot where you can grow a crop? Just stand there and hit A as your character automatically tills the spot, plants your preferred crop, water the spot, and toss on some fertilizer.

Of course, sometimes this hiccuped a little (yes, I know I patted and brushed my cow already, can you please just automatically milk it now?), such as if you suddenly moved your character and they’re tilling the next spot of grass instead of watering the potatoes, but it works well enough for me.

While you’re improving your farm and completing the story, you’ll also be making friends and wooing potential spouses, as you do in most Harvest Moon games. Talking and giving gifts to people improve your friendships, potentially unlocking further activities or pieces of the story. Many of the NPCs are in charge of shops on the island and you can sell products that you grow on the farm directly to them rather than stuffing them in the shipping bin. Some stores will pay you more for certain goods — such as the restaurant for fish or the flower shop for, well, flowers — than you would receive when shipping them.

All in all, the game play and controls are pretty smooth on the Nintendo Switch.

graphics-music

Light of Hope’s graphics were rather charming. Full-bodied sprites moved fluidly across the Nintendo Switch screen, and the animated expressions while characters were speaking to each other definitely amused me!

I almost always enjoy the music in Harvest Moon games, and Light of Hope was no exception. The seasonal music is always relaxing, especially in winter. Most of the tunes are updated versions of music from past Harvest Moon games, which just makes me enjoy them all the more.

storyThe protagonist of the game washes ashore a mostly-deserted Beacon Island in the middle of a storm. After being rescued by a couple of the last remaining inhabitants of the island, the protagonist decides to stick around and help draw back citizens to the island by farming and rebuilding the shops.

Beacon Island is home to a majestic lighthouse whose eternal light has vanished, the catalyst as to why many people abandoned the island. The protagonist vows to figure out why the lighthouse went out and to restore it once again.

The story reminds me of a cross between Animal Parade and Sunshine Islands. Restoring the lighthouse’s light comes down to finding the the lighthouse tablets. The game itself pretty much carries you through the story, so there is no literal searching for the tablets. NPCs will guide you through the chapters, giving you hints (or just outright telling you) what items you need in order to proceed. The story can take as little as 10 hours as long as you are able to find and/or save the necessary items you’ll need in order to find the stone tablets.

After the tablets are replaced in the lighthouse and the light is restored, the story ends. The protagonist is now able to continue raising their farm, expanding their house in case they want to marry an eligible candidate, as well as unlock special livestock and crop seeds.

The story itself isn’t much, but the many interactions between the player and the NPCs were cute. The only thing I found odd about the story was at certain parts where NPCs would “wait” in an area for the player to return with specific items to help move the story along, even if it took the player a couple of seasons to find the items.

replay-value

Most Harvest Moon games have plenty of replay value if one considers the different spouses one can woo and the multitude of ways one can arrange their farm. There are three save files per profile on the Switch, so if you’re the type to try to marry every potential spouse, go for it. Light of Hope also has multiple farms on the island as well, allowing you to experiment with different plants and crops.

It’s a charming, relaxing game that has plenty of potential for multiple play-throughs.

Harvest Moon: Light of Hope gets…
4-lives
4 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

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Friday Favorites: Video Game Dads

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday!

Father’s Day is this weekend, so I thought I would use a post to celebrate some of the best video game dads. I hope everyone else is able to celebrate with their father or someone close to them this weekend!

Double Jump | Video Games | Nintendo | Father's Day | Dads | Dream Daddy | Legend of Zelda | Twilight Princess | Super Mario | Bowser

Rusl from Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Rusl is the father of Colin, the shy child who finds his courage throughout the game, from Twilight Princess. Rusl is the character from Link’s hometown, the swordsman, seemingly the guard of the village that most likely helped Link hone his own sword skills. Besides being a father figure to the hero of the game, Rusl is also a critical member of the resistance, saving Link during the attack on Hyrule Castle.

“Dad” from Dream Daddy

Dream Daddy is a visual novel where you play as a customizable dad and were able to romance several other (mostly) single dads. While your choices were crucial to the ending of the game, the player’s “Dad-sona” had an awesome relationship with his daughter Amanda. The interactions with her ranged from goofy and casual to affection and, well, fatherly. Their relationship is probably one of my favorite aspects about the game.

Bowser from the Super Mario series

Okay, we all remember that Switch Parental Control video, right? The adorable one when Bowser was the Most Responsible Parent of the Year because he was being sure his son Bowser Jr. was playing games that were appropriate for his age? Bowser is also a father figure to all of the Koopalings as well, allowing them to help him with his work and always very encouraging while doing so. Not only that, his motivation for kidnapping Peach in Super Mario Sunshine was literally just so Bowser Jr. could have a mom. Cool motive, still kidnapping, but the thought was sweet.

What are your favorite video game dads?

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Confession: I’ve Never Played Majora’s Mask

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday! How is everyone?

With E3 happening, many companies are showcasing new games and DLC and such for the world. Considering all the new games that are being shown off, I was going through some of our older games and came to a realization about one of my favorite franchises…

Double Jump | Legend of Zelda | Majora's Mask | Nintendo | Video Games | Gaming

I have a confession to make. I have never finished playing The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.

The Legend of Zelda series has been one of my favorite franchises ever since I was able to pick up a controller. Even before then, Ocarina of Time was one of the titles that I constantly bothered my uncle to play so I could watch. The worlds, the swordplay, the tales of heroics about Link and Zelda… I love it.

Majora’s Mask, however, was never one of my favorites within the franchise. It’s arguably one of the most popular installments of the series, but I never found its appeal. In fact, it’s one of the only console Legend of Zelda games I haven’t completed (the other games being the Zelda titles that were on the NES, and my excuse is I didn’t exist back then). I know the story and the game play

I’m not entirely sure why I have no interest in Majora’s Mask. It has characters familiar from the Ocarina world with a sort of Wonderland feeling to them. It has a new world to explore, new items to discover in the form of masks, and an interesting story to boot — time travel with themes of death.

Perhaps it’s because I felt constrained by the time limit of three days. I felt as if my hard work from one set of three days was undone whenever I went back in time. The monkey I just saved from the Deku King in the woodlands? He’ll be sentenced to death for being wrongfully accused of kidnapping the Deku Princess, who is probably still trapped in the dungeon, when I play my ocarina. It brought about a repetitive mentality (“I already did this!”) instead of the liberated dungeon showing the positive influences on the world that Link is trying to save.

Maybe it was the collecting that came with the game. It had plenty of fun masks, all required to head off to the final boss of the game, but I was never a fan of collecting. Case in point was Super Mario Odyssey. It was a good game, but as soon as I was done with the main story, I haven’t turned it on again. I have absolutely no desire to run around and collect more moons, similar to how I never had the desire to collect masks.

Another reason could have been simply because Majora’s Mask just wasn’t my thing. An unpopular opinion? Probably. Maybe one day I’ll try to go back to it, but it probably won’t be anytime soon.

What do you think of Majora’s Mask? Do you have any popular games that you haven’t had the desire to play?

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Friday Favorites: Beaches in Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday!

Being June, it’s supposed to be warmer, the perfect weather for a day at the beach. Considering where I am is kind of lackluster at the moment, with the weather ranging from the fifties to the eighties in Fahrenheit degrees rather than being consistent “summer” temperature, I’m going to visit some in-game beaches and pretend I’m there.

double jump | video games | nintendo | beaches | summer

 

Lurelin Village from Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild boasts a gorgeous open world for you to explore while on your quest to save Hyrule from Calamity Ganon. One of my favorite places to go was Lurelin Village, a small town near the southern end of Hyrule with plenty of spots to watch the ocean water reflect the sunset. It also had a pretty decent shrine puzzle that was fun to figure out!

Harvest Moon Beaches

The Harvest Moon games that I’ve played tended to have nice beach areas. Back when More Friends of Mineral Town was the main installment I played, I always enjoyed the shift in the music and the ocean sound effects whenever I visited the beach. I’ve been playing Light of Hope on the Switch recently and I’m enjoying that beach area as well. It’s great to dig up shells for easy cash!

Seaside Town from Super Mario RPG

Not exactly a “beach,” per se, but Seaside Town was the place right next to the ocean, right before you dove underwater to confront a pirate on a sunken ship for a Star Piece. The town is first filled with impostors who spout out ridiculous lines and reveal themselves to be a challenging boss after you resurface from the pirate ship.  The music is also one of my favorite tunes from the game, too!

Slateport City from the Pokemon Gen. 3

The Hoenn region of the Pokemon games is one of my favorites generation-wise with the Pokemon and locations. The beach at Slateport City was great when I first encountered it, finding the soda pop shop a cute idea and enjoying the battles on the beach. Running around and leaving footprints in the sand always amused me as well.

What are your favorite beaches in video games?

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Game Within a Game

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday! Is everyone ready for the summer?

Here on the east coast in North America, we’ve been getting… interesting weather. Nothing too fancy, just the temperatures going up and down like a roller coaster lately instead of the warmer weather that so many people like about the summer. Summer also generally means vacations and breaks from everyday life. Some video games do something similar where they put a “game within a game.”

Double Jump | Video Games | Super Mario | Mini Game
Beetle Mania from Super Mario RPG

There are plenty of video games out there with little mini games or “games within the game” to help break up the monotony of the story line or actions of the main game. Some mini games have relevance to the original game at hand — such as Final Fantasy’s VII chocobo racing — but others are there just as Easter Eggs or for fun.

One such game is Beetle Mania in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. For five hundred coins after the Marrymore section of the game, Mario can buy a Game Boy from a Toad child at the Mushroom Kingdom Inn. The game is simple enough in which you control a little beetle at the bottom of the screen and shoot little stars at falling red koopa shells. The koopa shells explode for points and, if they are near other koopa shells, may start a chain reaction for higher points.

Beetle Mania has absolutely no relevance to the plot of Super Mario RPG, but it’s a fun break from chasing after Star Pieces.

The original Animal Crossing also had a bunch of classic NES games that you could decorate your house with and play, such as Balloon Fighter and Donkey Kong Jr. Math. New Leaf also included a couple of new games, such as one based off of Panel de Pon titled Puzzle League. Likewise, the popular Stardew Valley also has a couple of arcade games that one can play while hanging out in the Saloon.

What other “games within a game” can you think of? Any favorites?

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Friday Favorites: Fire Levels

Double Jump Kris MiiHey, it’s June!

A little while ago, I did a Friday Favorites dedicated to video game levels that reminded me of or were set in winter. To celebrate the coming warmer months, this time around my Friday Favorites post is dedicated to summery or hot levels.

frifavesfirelevels

Cinnabar Island from Pokemon

In the Kanto region of Pokemon, the seventh gym badge is one you earn from the Fire-type gym on Cinnabar Island. The island is tiny, but I remember from the original Pokemon Yellow the red palette of the pixels, the abandoned mansion filled with lore and Fire-type Pokemon, the riddles from the gym… I can’t wait to see what it looks like in the Let’s Go titles!

Mt. Lavalava from Paper Mario

Let’s be real, the original Paper Mario for the Nintendo 64 was the best title in that series. Mt. Lavalava, the volcano dungeon that you explore after meeting all the Yoshis, was not only a fun area to traverse, but you also had Kolorado hanging out with you. Kolorado was an archaeologist only following you for treasure, but his hilarious dialogue and mannerisms make him one of my favorite NPCs to date.

Barrel Volcano from Super Mario RPG

My favorite aspect of Barrel Volcano is the music, if I’m being honest. Super Mario RPG had fantastic level designs to begin with, and Barrel Volcano is no exception. Challenging bosses — both mini and the main bosses — were found here along with an amusing shopkeeper doing business in the middle of the volcano. The Axem Rangers, spoofs of the Power Rangers, were also some of my favorite bosses in this game.

Dodongo’s Cavern from Ocarina of Time

Dodongo’s Cavern was probably one of my first “fire levels” in my gaming history. Ocarina of Time, being one of the first games that I’ve played on my own, was an amazing experience and I remember being in awe at the idea of exploring the cavern. That, and the bombs that you received around the same time was awesome!

What are your favorite fire-based or summer levels in video games?

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The Return of the NES Classic

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Memorial Day! I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend!

We had a pretty chill weekend, with Rachel and me going out of town with a friend. Filled with movies, books, and video games, we had a good time. We went to a place that Rachel and I have been going with the family for ages, a nice house in the mountains filled with nostalgia. Nostalgia is what I thought I would feel when thinking of the NES Classic, but now that we have a second chance to get one, I’m not so sure about it…

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The NES Classic (along with the SNES Classic) is supposed to return to stores in about a month, on June 29th. When I first heard about the news that the NES Classic was going to be a thing, I thought it was a great idea. Plenty of gamers love their old favorites and the nostalgia that was sure to come with the mini version of the console made it popular.

Too popular, if there was such a thing. Scalpers overtook the stock NES Classic and the consoles were out of stock within minutes of hitting Amazon or store shelves, only to be resold on eBay for thrice the original price. Rachel and I were disappointed, of course. I remember having the NES as a kid (and, honestly, we still have our original one packed away), but I myself never played too many of the games. I played mainly on the SNES when we had gotten that. Rachel herself wasn’t born when the NES came out, so it would have been great to see her get to experience some of the NES games.

With that said, though… I don’t really remember the games of the NES. Our disappointment didn’t last too long considering we never had too much of a tie with the original NES as kids. I imagine the nostalgia would be much stronger with gamers who had grown up with it.

Seeing the news that the NES Classic would be returning, I found myself finding it nice but… I’m not really as interested as I was back when it was first announced. If we get an NES Classic, it’ll be cool, but it’s not something that’s on my wish list anymore. I just hope that scalpers don’t ruin this batch for those who truly want the NES Classic and hadn’t gotten the chance to get them before!

Are you planning on trying to get the NES Classic this time around? If you already have it, what do you think of it?

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