Game Review: Harvest Moon: Frantic Farming (DS)

FARMING_BOXSo let’s say you enjoy the idyllic farm life in the Harvest Moon simulation titles, but find the gameplay a little too slow-paced? Then Harvest Moon: Frantic Farming on the Nintendo DS may be the game for you. Frantic Farming is an action puzzle game with ideas, themes, and characters based on the Harvest Moon series.


Frantic Farming is one of those puzzle games that’s harder to explain than it is to play. Luckily, there is a very thorough tutorial mode with picture cues that explains all the rules and game modes to you. Your goal is to harvest as many fully grown crops as you can. A little Harvest Sprite gnome does all the work for you, and he’ll move about your field in a set pattern. Use the stylus to slide around the crop tiles. Your Harvest Sprite will harvest any veggies next to him, and then water adjacent tiles to help those crops grow.

Line up the same kind of crop together and the Sprite will pick them all in a chain reaction. Chains are handy because you’ll water more squares afterward, and drop rocks on your opponents’ fields in multiplayer matches. Each character has his or her own special skills, and be on the lookout for elusive golden crops and big veggies to boost your score. It’s Game Over if there are no more fully grown crops to harvest on your field, so plan carefully!

There are many gameplay modes in Frantic Farming. Choose a character and play through their faming adventures in Story Mode to unlock goodies. In Puzzle Mode, you have only a certain number of moves to slide around veggies to harvest. And you can test your faming skills in Score Attack and Free Play Modes, too. Up to four players can challenge each other simultaneously in a bumper crop of multiplayer modes. And best of all, you only need one game card to share among multiple DS handhelds to play!

The only problems I had with Frantic Farming is sometimes I had trouble moving around the tiles on the touch screen with the stylus. And the game froze up on me a couple of times, too (luckily I didn’t lose any progress). But other than that, Harvest Moon: Frantic Farming is a pretty unique DS puzzler.


Kid Factor:

Nothing violent or objectionable here. I guess very strict religious families may object to there being a Harvest Goddess in the game, but that’s stretching it a bit. Since Frantic Farming is a little more complex than other puzzle games, younger players may need a little help figuring things out, and some of the Story Mode challenges can be pretty tough. Plus, reading skill is helpful for all the text. Again, only needing one cartridge among four DS handhelds to play together is great for families. Harvest Moon: Frantic Farming is rated E for Everyone.

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