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It's a wonderful life
Although running a farm might not sound like a great idea for a game, Harvest Moon takes the notion, adds in a bit of Nintendo-style magic and transforms it into a charming and engrossing management sim with RPG overtones. Players must take over a rundown farm and turn it into a successful business through careful tending of crops and livestock and by conducting business with the locals. The game world goes through seasons, with the weather changing appropriately and which affects what you can harvest, while special events such as festivals and disasters can help or hinder your plans. The game even throws in the option to get married, requiring the player to complete certain objectives in order to win over the affection of the local lasses. While never exactly thrilling, Harvest Moon really is something of a delight and its influence can be seen today in the likes of Animal Crossing, Farmville and Happy Farm. The 16-bit graphics are still gorgeous, with the wonderfully realised game world and a cast of memorable characters all rendered in fantastic detail. Players seeking action and adventure would be advised to look elsewhere, but if you are looking for a relaxing treat to escape from the real world, then you can't go wrong with the delightful Harvest Moon.
Cartoony strategy with farm elements
Harvest Moon is a great series which combines cool cartoony graphics with a nice gameplay that, while not on the verge of simulation, is nevertheless very true to a set of simulation principles. Graphics wise, the game combines sprites with a top down view of your farm. The style is a clean 8/16 bit one, but it also sports elements that go beyond that graphic look and style. As main gameplay mechanic, you will be doing all sorts of Farmville like activities. You will have to make sure that your crops are planted, taken care of and harvested when they are ripe, that you sell the produce and that you have a nice relationship to the community. The game is also interesting if you neglect your crops, as they will begin to develop funguses and a certain state of dereliction, nicely expressed by the graphics will become evident in the game. Therefore, if you want a feel good, sufficiently hard but never too hard farm sim game, this one can certainly deliver. It is a nice combination of elements, a combination of gameplay styles that feels really satisfying and very cool to play.