November is a time for giving thanks for the harvest of the season, and what better way to celebrate than with another Harvest Moon video game? Especially considering this year is the series’ 15th anniversary! This new game, available on 3DS, has all the standard features fans love, while adding a few new important twists to keep things interesting. You’ll just have to read on to find out what they are!
At first, this Harvest Moon game starts out like any other. You’re a youngster coming to live and work on your family’s abandoned farm, and you’ll end up reviving the local town in the process. You’ll grow crops and raise livestock just as you did in other Harvest Moon titles. You can cook food and eat them or give them as gifts to townspeople. Speaking of which, by talking to townspeople and giving them presents they like, you’ll befriend them and they may even give you special items you can’t get anywhere else. You may even win the heart of an eligible bachelorette or bachelor and eventually marry them (Farmer Man Cary has his eye on the blacksmith lady). You can even help others raise animals and trade items online in multiplayer mode. There’s really so many things you can do in this Harvest Moon game that I couldn’t list them all.
Time progresses in this game in its own time cycle. Each ‘day’ lasts about ten minutes, and you’ll have to manage your time to get everything done, from watering crops, tending livestock, socializing in town, and more! There are four months in a ‘year,’ each representing a different season. You’ll grow different crops in each season, as well as find new bugs to nab, fish to catch, and festivals to attend. In a way, the game is much like Animal Crossing, and is a good tide-me-over until New Leaf (the next AC game) is released next year (the wait is EXCRUCIATING).
If all this seems overwhelming, then it’s time to talk about one of the new features of the game. Although it’s not exactly new, the pacing of this new Harvest Moon game is much more suited for beginners. There are plenty of tutorials to get you used to the gameplay, and they spread new features out evenly so that you have enough time to get used to them. But the good thing is that you don’t have to wait too long to do all the cool stuff. In past Harvest Moon titles, it would sometimes take FOREVER for you to get your first livestock animal. But here you get a cow within the first week of the game! The only disadvantage is that Harvest Moon veterans may find the pace too slow at first, but you can at least skip some of the tutorials. But all you have to do is make it past the first month and the game gets a lot more interesting.
The other new feature of this Harvest Moon game is a big one. A New Beginning has a high level of customization. When you first start the game, you’ll be able to pick several features of your boy or girl farmer character, including skin and hair color, facial expression, and more. Later on in the game, you’ll be able to make your own clothes to change into as well. You can also decorate your house with new wallpaper and flooring later on, too. Within the first month of the game, an architect moves into town and can sell you blueprints. By collecting and foraging materials, you’ll be able to build all sorts of stuff with blueprints you buy, from storage sheds and chicken coops and tool upgrades for your farm, as well as items to rebuild your town. Small things like benches and streetlights, to houses and other big buildings. You can then place your creations wherever you feel like in town. That means you can even pick up houses and put them where you want (your farmer must eat his or her spinach). Because of the more even pacing and new customization elements, this is one of the best Harvest Moon games yet!
Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning is rated E for Everyone with ESRB descriptors of Comic Mischief and Use of Alcohol. You only use wine for cooking in this game. Nothing else objectionable here. The game could be considered educational as it teaches and requires a lot of time management skills. Advanced reading abilitiy is a must because of all the text. But with all the cool things you can do in this game, older kids won’t be bored with it for a long, long while. Highly recommended by me.