Harvest Moon may or may not be a series that’s on your radar. It’s been around since the mid-90’s, with the latest in the series releasing on 3DS late 2014. The later games add more features, but the majority of fans herald Harvest Moon 64 as one of the best because it stays closer to the franchise’s roots without extraneous bells and whistles. Three main categories exist for this one: marriage, photos, and power berries. Today we’re showing the first category, with the runner focusing on Karen, as she’s the quickest.
There’s not much commentary, but there also doesn’t really need to be. Most of the activities and actions are self-explanatory. Though you can play beyond getting married, the other categories, especially getting all the photos, take a very long time, while the power berries category ends the moment the final one is acquired without going through the end of the third (and final) year. It’s odd that there isn’t a regular any%, as it is possible to reach the end without getting married and still build a successful farm.
A spinoff series called Rune Factory features many of the same mechanics and goals as Harvest Moon, but replaces livestock management with battling and taming monsters found in dungeons. As these and a few other games demonstrate, it doesn’t always have to be about epic stories and powerful enemies to overcome. Building and living a quiet yet productive life has its draws and lets the player decide what their objectives are.
The later Harvest Moon games have an almost Animal Crossing influence to them in terms of customizing character, home, and town, which adds variety but lessens the focus on the farming and relationship-building. However you like to play, it’s a remarkably flexible genre that fits into just about any setting and situation. Hopefully, we’ll see these kinds of games branch out and explore some unexpected territory one day.
Matt Eschbach is a PC, Mac and Android indie game developer and fiction writer. His works have won multiple monetary awards from various contests. Graduating college in 2012 with a major in Game Design, Matt spends his time making stuff up and then building it. His favorite hobby… is sleeping.