The Harvest Moon series — rather, Story of Seasons as it’s called now — was probably my first dip into the simulation video game genre. While I’ve definitely turned my attention more towards Stardew Valley than this series, plenty of Harvest Moon games still hold a special place in my heart.
I honestly haven’t played this game too much, as I prefer my Harvest Moon games on a handheld rather than a bigger console, but I did enjoy what I did play of it. The style of the game is cute and the cast of characters were great. My favorite part of this game? Your marriage and children actually have a bit of substance. Your spouse can help out on the farm or with other chores, and the children actually grow and have some personality.
Island of Happiness/Sunshine Islands
While technically two games, I feel like Sunshine Islands was developed to right all the issues that Island of Happiness had. These games have my favorite cast of characters, and Island of Happiness would have been on this list alone had its controls not been the horrendous touch-screen things. Sunshine Islands wasn’t too bad either, but the plot of raising all the islands was a bit annoying.
Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning
This installment in the series deserves a place on this list due to how much time I sunk into it. It was addicting trying to revive the whole town while also being given free reign as to how the town was designed. Being able to move buildings wherever you want, both for the town and the farm, was a great mechanic. This game also had a good online mode as well — it was simple and enabled players to help each other with quality animal products and gifts.
Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town
While Friends of Mineral Town was my first foray into the Harvest Moon series, I enjoyed the female version of the game. This game was just fun in its simplistic way. The only goal was to create a thriving farm and, if you wished, to make friends with the rest of the townsfolk. It was the perfect, no-stress, chill game.
What are your favorite Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons games? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
I may have gone off on a slight tangent by the end of this post, and I apologize for that. Still, the words are relevant in regards to some new DLC news I’ve heard of recently. I hope everyone had a great weekend!
I have the special edition of this game. I got it because it was a Harvest Moon title and it seemed fairly simple compared to other titles in the franchise that had annoying touch screen controls or complicated farming mechanics or any nonsense like that. It was an okay game. Honestly, though, give me a Harvest Moon game with a pretty village, some cool NPCs, and a plot of land that I can do whatever I want to, be it grow crops or have thirteen chickens and two cows running the place, and I’ll be happy.
Anyway, I saw the headline for the Light of Hope Completionist’s Version and momentarily got confused. This Complete game has all the DLC and, if you get it instead of buying the game and all of the DLC separately, you’ll save almost twenty bucks.
At first, I was wondering, “Light of Hope has DLC?” which then turned into, “Wait, isn’t that what the Special Edition was for?” and then, “Wtf, why is this Complete game ten bucks less than what I spent for the Special Edition?”
(Seriously, ten bucks is ten bucks, I would like it back, please.)
The DLC, once I looked it all up, seemed vaguely familiar. I had some of it, apparently, and then I read that if you had the updated version of Special Edition — which I may have, but I honestly haven’t turned the game on in months — then you would have gotten all of the DLC as they dropped. It’s not a big deal if I don’t have all the DLC for Light of Hope, but there was still something that bothered me about the news anyway, despite the annoyance feeling a bit ridiculous.
I think it’s because the game is just now being called “complete.”
I’m not a fan of DLC in the first place. Shelling out more money for some extras in video games always left a bitter taste in my mouth, especially if the DLC is more cosmetic than anything. Sure, some DLC is fun, but if it doesn’t benefit the core aspect of the game, I generally ignore it.
Breath of the Wild’s expansion packs, for example, gave some more insight to the overall story of the game and a reason to go back and play. Smash Bros. Ultimate is similar with the Fighter’s Pack, although I would have rather the game have all of the fighters in it from the get-go instead of them being dropped one by one for extra money. But, I have a choice to get the Fighter’s Pack or not. If I don’t download the extra characters, the value of the game and the amount of fun I have while playing does not diminish.
When I buy a game, I want the entire game. I don’t want to buy a game that’s 95% done and then later on buy and download the remaining 5%. Hearing the new version of Light of Hope being called “complete” seems to reinforce that mindset. I know developers and publishers don’t have that in mind when they create DLC (at least, I hope not), but sometimes it sounds very similar to the loot box system, where players spend real money for special items that, usually, give them a leg up in the game.
The world of gaming is different nowadays than when I was a kid enjoying the simplicity of Super Mario RPG where if you wanted the best weapons, you had to find and work for them rather than spend another few dollars on DLC or loot boxes. And if you didn’t find the best weapons? That’s okay, you can still beat the game and save the Mushroom Kingdom. It may be a little more challenging, but isn’t the challenge one of the reasons that we play video games?
What do you think of DLC or loot boxes? Do you have a favorite piece of DLC? What do you think of this remake news? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
If you follow us on Twitter or Tumblr, fairly recently, I made little posts just celebrating my excitement at the fact that there will be remakes of a couple of my favorite games from the Harvest Moon series.
I’ve been playing Stardew Valley recently, mostly because it reminds me of the simpler, older Harvest Moon games from when I was younger. While some of the more recent Harvest Moon games aren’t too bad, I do feel that some of them are somewhat gimmicky and have moved away from the charming gameplay that was just, “Build up your farm however you want, make friends, maybe get married and have a kid,” that the original games had.
My first Harvest Moon experience was Friends of Mineral Town for the Gameboy Advance and the idea of designing my own farm and taking care of the ranch animals was addictive and satisfying. I became more hooked on the series when More Friends of Mineral Town became a thing because, hey, I was able to play as a girl. Now, there are reports of a remake of Friends/More Friends of Mineral Town for the Switch coming out later this fall!
Rather, the fall date is for Japan, but it has been confirmed that the game will come out in North America as well. I am very excited and I’m hoping that maybe Rachel would like this one better than Light of Hope.
The only concern I have for it is that I’ve become accustomed to Stardew Valley’s lack of regard for gender when it comes to marriage. I don’t marry in these kind of games often at all, but the freedom is nice. Hopefully this is one of the updated mechanics that I’m sure this remake will have!
Have you played Friends/More Friends of Mineral Town? What do you think of this remake news? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
The Nintendo 64 was a highlight of my early gaming years, but thinking back on it… I didn’t play too many Nintendo 64 games. Rather, the GameCube is our largest collection of physical games. This week’s Friday Favorites is dedicated to the Nintendo 64 games I wish I had tried as a kid.
Harvest Moon 64
I didn’t get into the Harvest Moon franchise until an old friend gifted me with Friends of Mineral Town for my birthday one year. I wonder how I would feel about the franchise had I started with Harvest Moon 64, a game that I’ve heard is a favorite in the community.
Star Fox 64
My first introduction to Fox McCloud was in Super Smash Bros. I had no idea who he was and, even then, I didn’t really think to look up any other N64 games that he could have been in. After Smash Bros., my first taste of Star Fox was Star Fox Adventures for the GameCube which, apparently, is a bit of a departure from the normal formula of a Star Fox game. It would have been great to give the N64 Star Fox a try!
Donkey Kong 64
Technically, I believe we have this game cartridge, although I’m fairly certain we “borrowed” it from family or a family friend and never returned it. I don’t remember playing much of this game, just a few levels here and there while at another’s house, but the idea of the game intrigued me. That, and the theme song was just so damn catchy.
Any Nintendo 64 games you wish you had gotten the chance to try? Are you amused like I am that these games all have 64 in the title? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
I’m here with an update of Kris’s challenge to me… which was supposed to be the end of October, but better late then never, right?
Kris challenged me to play Harvest Moon: Light of Hope for the Nintendo Switch. She wanted me to complete the main story line, which… I did not do.
I was supposed to have the month of October to complete this challenge and instead we’re in the beginning of December. I had plenty of time in October and the November was hectic with NaNoWriMo and holidays and other obligations. So, not only did I miss the deadline, but I still didn’t even complete the challenge.
Harvest Moon is a series I’ve always wanted to get into. However, whenever I play the games, I get bored really quickly. I don’t know why since it’s similar to Animal Crossing and I love that. Still, no matter how hard I try, I was never able to get into it.
I love games that are driven by story with a few exceptions (Animal Crossing being one of them, of course.) Harvest Moon: Light of Hope has a story, but… I don’t care for it at all. With that said, I had a hard time getting into the game and I didn’t play it for a long time because I kept putting it off. Hence, the extended deadline and why I still haven’t completed the story.
Cons of Harvest Moon: Light of Hope
1. The beginning of this game is so slow.
The story definitely drags in the beginning and it takes a while for you to finally get into the game play. I just wanted to start my farm and casually play the game. There are sprites who come to you and ask for your help in addition to the townspeople. You have to rebuild the town and island before it sinks into the sea. In order to do that, there are five tablets to be found and collected to bring light and energy back to the lighthouse. The first tablet is handed to you pretty much. Each tablet gets “harder” and “longer” to get than the last.
This is all well and fine but I had nothing to start off with. I don’t expect to start the game with 10,000 gold, but to rebuild houses and bridges you need a certain amount of certain materials and so much money. I needed to spend money to get the materials, such as seeds for certain crops, and then I needed to hold onto those crops to build the house but in order to make money, I needed to sell those crops. It was a vicious cycle.
Honestly, I spent the majority of spring – the first season in the game – waking up, watering my crops, and then going right back to bed by noon because there was nothing else left for me to do. I couldn’t fish and the mines weren’t fixed (because I needed to fix them) so it was long and annoying.
2. Loading screens & cut scenes.
Speaking of slow…
3. There’s no direction.
Yes, I needed a walk-through for this game. There are so many things to do but I had no idea what I needed to do first to move on with the game. If I didn’t look it up, I certainly wouldn’t have the fishing rod or the mines and hammer, or even the third out of five tablets.
The island is huge and there are a lot of areas to explore and houses to rebuild. I could have just gone through them all one by one and check out which materials I had and could get versus what I couldn’t. But the beginning was slow enough, I just wanted to move on and be able to build my farm and have a casual play through of the game.
Granted, this is supposed to be a casual simulation game but if there’s some sort of story, I’d like to know what to do or where to go next.
4. I didn’t care about any of the characters.
None of the characters appealed to me at all. They didn’t seem to have any depth to them at all. No, I didn’t try to marry anyone or give anyone gifts, but I didn’t care to either. The sprites weren’t much better. They were cute, but they were also pretty annoying.
Pros of Harvest Moon: Light of Hope
1. The game did pick up.
Once I opened the mine, got the hammer, and got the fishing rod, I found myself being able to do a lot more. My character was actually staying up until midnight or so doing things and I even found myself playing on because I wasn’t able to get everything done I had wanted to in the previous day. So, the game did pick up a little for me and I certainly enjoyed farming, mining, and fishing. If that was the whole game, I’d be much happier.
2. Requests from the villagers.
I’ve always loved doing requests for the CPU characters. Waking up and having mail in my mailbox giving me a small goal or side-quest to aim for a new material or such is always a good time for me.
3. The music and sound effects were good.
For a casual simulation game, the music was relaxing and certainly on-point for certain characters. (I’m looking at you, Doc.)
I listed the pros last to end this post on a high note but, as you can see, this game has more cons for me than pros. I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to this game to complete the story and possibly get to know the characters well enough to marry one of them, but I can’t see myself getting back to this game anytime soon. It was just okay for me.
Have you played Harvest Moon: Light of Hope? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments below!
Have you ever noticed if the gender of the protagonist effects the game? Perhaps one gender has better stats or different powers or something as simple as clothing options?
Many games, particularly RPGs, allow the player to choose between playing a male or a female protagonist. While most games tend not to have much of a difference between the genders, there are some games that can be skewed to favor one over the other.
One of the most notable examples that I’ve heard of Harvest Moon 3. While I’ve never played the game myself, I have heard that the game is cut short as soon as you marry while playing as a female. While, as a male, you get married and can continue working on your farm, as well as get a child. Granted, each gender had different perks — males tended to be better with the farmland, while females were better with the animals — but why would the game just end if you get married as a female?
Different stats in games, such as the Fire Emblem franchise, favor one gender over the other as well. Males tend to have higher strength and defense while females are better with magic and speed. In many Fire Emblem games, some character classes are restricted as well — only males can be fighters while females can be pegasus knights, for example. One of my favorite aspects of the Fates trio is that these class restrictions were lifted, and I was disappointed when Echoes brought them back.
In hindsight, being a remake, Echoes probably brought the class restrictions back in order to be as faithful as it could to the original. With that said, though, I do wish it was updated to not only lift those restrictions, but also lift the healer restrictions. In the very beginning of the game, if you are following Alm’s story and have Faye with you, she has one less class promotion available than the boys. Archer is not available for her, yet when she was introduced to the Fire Emblem Heroes mobile game, archer is her class rather than cleric.
If the female gender is favored over the male, it tends to be for aesthetic reasons. In Pokemon X and Y, the female character has almost double the amount of clothing and hair options. The Sims franchise also tended to have gender options based on aesthetics only — with jobs and skill building being exactly the same across the board — but Sims 4 took this a step forward to allow transgender sims and lift the gender restrictions on all the clothing and hair options.
Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of Stardew Valley is how absolutely little your gender matters. No NPCs treat your character differently no matter what gender they are and your skills do not depend on your gender. You can also marry whatever eligible NPC you want, no matter the gender.
Any games that you’ve played that tend to favor one gender over another?
The Nintendo Switch and the 2DS XL are our current go-to consoles when it comes to playing games lately. Recently, however, I found my old Game Boy Advance during a cleaning spree, and I remember how much I used the old handheld…
The Game Boy Advance was released in 2001 and I loved using mine over my Game Boy Color. The landscape screen for the games made it seem like the screen was so much bigger and I remember having the little worm light adapter hovering over the screen to make it brighter. The backward compatibility for Game Boy Color games was an added bonus.
I went through so many pairs of AA batteries when playing my Game Boy Advance, wearing it down while playing favorites like the Pokemon series, particularly Emerald, Sonic the Hedgehog games, Harvest Moon, and Fire Emblem. It was with the Game Boy Advance that I started my love affair with the Harvest Moon and Fire Emblem franchises.
Besides being home to some of my favorite old games, the Game Boy Advance was used quite often when Rachel and I were playing The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures for the GameCube. With the link cable to hook up the Advance to the console, Rachel and I had some awesome adventures playing a co-op Legend of Zelda. More often than not, I was diving forward to meet the enemies while Rachel was trailing along, picking up all the treasure I would leave behind. It was a good system.
The wireless adapter that came with Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen was also a treat, granting us a Union Room that allowed easy trading and battling. Granted, Rachel and I tended to be the only ones in said Union Room, but it was definitely easier than the link cables we had for the Game Boy Colors when it came to trading and showing off our teams to one another.
I found my old Game Boy Advance buried in one of my old desk drawers, with the cover to the batteries being gone and the batteries themselves all corroded. For the heck of it, I cleaned out the dead batteries and tried putting fresh ones in, but to no avail. The poor console was officially dead. Still, it was nice finding it, especially since I thought it got caught in the basement flood years ago (pretty sure that’s what happened to my Game Boy Color!).
Did you have a Game Boy Advance? What was your favorite older handheld console?
One of the last few game reviews Rachel and I did was for Game Dev Tycoon, and it reminded me of how much fun I have with games in the simulation genre. This Friday celebrates some of my favorite simulation games and franchises.
The Harvest Moon franchise was probably my first foray into the simulation genre. Valuing hard work and fostering healthy relationships with the community are key aspects in the game, and I enjoyed the virtual farm life with the animals. I definitely prefer some of the older games to the newer games, but the Switch’s Light of Hope seems to cater to some of the more nostalgic story and controls from the older titles.
Another farming simulation game, Stardew Valley is similar to Harvest Moon but with a few fantasy twists, such as defeating monsters in the mines, along with the ability to date whoever you want regardless of gender. The co-op mode is another plus to this game! Rachel and I are looking forward to giving it a go!
Game Dev Tycoon
Game Dev Tycoon is so much fun! The strategy needed to develop good games against the clock with the story events constantly evolving makes the game addicting. It’s a game I’ll keep going back to, and I’m on the hunt for more business-like tycoon games, if anyone has any suggestions!
The Sims franchise is horribly addicting. Every time I turn the game on, it’s hard to want to do anything else in my free time. Recently, I’ve been testing the newer Sims 4 Seasons expansion pack, and I’ve been having a good time. With the expansions and free reign to act out whatever kind of stories you want, the Sims probably won’t be getting deleted from my computer anytime soon.
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
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
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.
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.