Sept 13, 2007
If you were disappointed by the oddness of the last PSP Harvest Moon (Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon, in which you played a robot farm boy who, understandably but unfortunately, couldn't woo girls), you'll be relieved to hear of the return to normalcy in Harvest Moon: Boy & Girl. All the traditional elements you've come to love - farming till midnight, gathering herbs, patting cows so they produce milk, discovering magical creatures and berries, and most importantly, romancing the ladies (or gentlemen, if you're a lady yourself) with conversation and gifts - are intact. But there's a catch. They're intact in the exact same form as the Harvest Moons of seven years ago - because Boy & Girl is little more than an untouched port of the original PlayStation titles Harvest Moon: Back to Nature and Harvest Moon for Girls.
It's one thing to re-make a game, overhaul some of its art and gameplay elements, and release it on a current system as the same game (think: Final Fantasy III), but it's a horse of a completely different color to take an old game, make zero significant changes, and then repackage it as new. That strikes us as misleading, to say the least. However, if you can overcome that fact - or go into your purchase armed with, or precisely because of, that knowledge - then Boy and Girl is actually a fantastic, if dated, game. There are a few quirks with the port, such as unusual moments of lag and imprecise controls with the PSP nub, but overall, the game is the same as the original.
You start the game as a boy who inherits his grandfather's mess of a farm and has to revive it within three years in order for the residents to accept you as one of their own. Or, if you play the girl version, you obtain the exact same farm after being found on the town's beach with no memory of your past. In either case, your job is to farm your way to prosperity by planting seasonal fruits and veggies, mining for upgrades in a local cave, and raising livestock for eggs and milk, find a spouse, and make a life for yourself. Along the way, you'll encounter elves, town festivals, a bit of fishing, and more.
If you don't mind paying full price for an unchanged port, albeit of a classic game, then you're most likely already a Harvest Moon fan and know what you're getting yourself into. Everyone else, we recommend waiting for a better Harvest Moon title - one with gameplay worthy of the series and graphics worthy of the system - to come out on the PSP.