Game Review: Rune Factory 2 (DS)

The Harvest Moon series of farming simulation console games have made many improvements and additions over the past ten years, but the basic gameplay idea has always been the same. Grow crops and raise farm animals for money, and make friends in the nearby town and possibly marry and start a family. But something always seemed amiss: action packed battles! Now that void has been filled with Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon for the DS. It’s one of the best Harvest Moon games yet!


Rune Factory 2 starts out like any other Harvest Moon game. Your little farmer man comes to a new town, starts working on a run-down farm, and earns a living growing crops and raising animals. Everything is time based, so you’ll have to harvest crops at a certain time to get money that day, and make sure to take care of your plants and animals daily. Keep track of time so you don’t miss an important event in town either, whether it’s a festival or a shop’s hours of business. Make friends with people in town by doing favors for them or giving them gifts they like. You may even win the heart of a lady this way and eventually marry.

That all sounds like typical Harvest Moon type stuff. But what separates Rune Factory is that in this game, you can fight monsters in dungeons. At times you’ll want to put down that hoe and pick up a sword and venture off to four different dungeons, each one representing a season. You can even find patches of farmland in each dungeon so you can farm crops from all seasons! In the dungeons are monsters to fight and quests to take on. The way you acquire farm animals in Rune Factory 2 is by taming the monsters in the dungeons. Some of them aid you in battle, while some provide help on the farm. You can even use Nintendo’s Wi-Fi connection to trade items and let monsters play with each other.

There’s so much you can do in this game that I can’t put it all in one review. You can learn magic, mine for precious ores and stones, forge new weapons and armor, learn to cook, create medicines and potions, fish, and more! So much stuff to do that it’ll take a second generation of characters in the game to do it all. I have to apologize to the readers out there that I could not cover everything there is to do in Rune Factory 2 and still have the review out in a timely manner. And since I never played the first Rune Factory, I also can’t describe the improvements in the sequel. So please forgive me for that.

The graphics are well-animated, colorful, and have a 16-bit RPG charm about them. Music is equally peppy. Rune Factory 2 seems to have pretty high production values, with an animated intro and voice acting at key scenes (though the voice acting isn’t that great). You can play the game with the stylus and touch screen or by using the buttons, and it’s easy to learn to do everything. The town is well-organized, too, and getting around is a snap. About the only problem with Rune Factory 2 is it’s a bit slow going at first. I have to say that I’ve gotten bored with other Harvest Moon games after about a day or so, but Rune Factory 2 has definitely held my interest and I’ll be enjoying it long after I’ve written this review. If this is the direction the Harvest Moon games are taking, I’ll gladly support it!

Kid Factor:
Rune Factory 2 is rated E for Everyone with ESRB descriptors of Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, and Use of Alcohol. You do use alcohol to cook. Even though you fight monsters with weapons, defeated enemies only disappear. And you’re encouraged to make friends with the animals anyway. Suggestive themes? Well you can marry one of the girls in town in the game, and there is some flirty text here and there. But nothing very serious, it’s all campy and good-natured. But because of the micro-management gameplay and the mounds of text to read and wade through during the adventure, Rune Factory 2 is still best for older kid gamers.

No Responses to “Game Review: Rune Factory 2 (DS)”

  1. So, is the game based on the DS internal clock then or just a timeline that ticks off as you play it?

  2. That’s a good question! Sorry I did not make that more clear. The game runs off it’s own timer, not the DS internal clock. Just like every other Harvest Moon game. –Cary

  3. how do u make animals your friend?

  4. can sum1 plz write me back!!!! i want to know how to become friends with the lambs and other monsters plz write me back!?!?!

  5. There’s a bunch of things you need to do in the game before you can befriend the monsters and animals. There’s a quest on the bulletin board that nets you a special glove. You also need to build a barn, talk to the mayor about that. I can’t remember much else right now, though. –Cary

  6. What about the “mild language”? How bad is it?

  7. Does anyone know of a walkthrough for this game?

  8. Can anybody write a FAQ about how many time a monster have to be pet to tame it? Please and thank you.

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment

Tired of typing this out each time? Register as a subscriber!