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Harvest Moon: Magical Melody review

Reap what you sow: Harvest Moon continues to dig deep

Pros

  • Insane amount of stuff to do
  • Genuinely deep game
  • Tiresome tasks can be avoided

Cons

  • Pretty sad visuals
  • Newcomers are in for a rough season
  • Throat-clogging
  • syrupy flavor

Harvest Moon has always been a kiddie game, but a fair number of adults with active inner children have been drawn into the cutesy-pie farming simulation as well, even if they won't admit it in public.

On paper, it's hard to see the appeal of playing a character who gets up with the rooster and tends to chores like tilling the land, tending crops and chopping down trees. Farming sounds too much like actual work to be fun, yet Magical Melody somehow pulls a spirited, if simple-minded, world from workaday drudgery by transparently relying on sugary-sweet sentimentality and obsessive stat-building.

Players start by picking a sex, a birth season and an area to farm, balancing convenience and quality of land. Your goal is toscratch a successful living out of the earth and raise a family - oh, and also to save the Harvest Goddess. She's beenturned to stone, and only by collecting 100 magical notes canyou revive her.

There's no set path for collection for the notes, though: these things pop up out of nowhere for actions as diverse as not talking to anyone for a few game days, or walking a particular number of steps. The true goal is to develop your world as you see fit, whether that means idly fishing a stream, or turning every inch of acreage into arable land.

There's so much to do it's actually a little ridiculous. Rocks are pounded into dust and trees are cut down for wood, making room for land to be tilled and planted with a cornucopia of crops. Animals are purchased, fed and exploited for milk, cheese, butter and wool, which itself can then be sold or used in recipes. You can even train a horse for riding into town, or racing in competitions.

Leaving animals in the rain will get them sick, but there are a bunch of outbuildings to choose from as your ambitions grow, like chicken coops and barns. If that's not enough to keep you busy, rearrange your home, try your hand at mining, find a wild furry friend to cuddle or just socialize with townspeople.

Hell, each gender even has ten potential marriage partners. Just pick one that catches your eye and do everything you can to make them yours. You can even, eventually, bag your farming rival Jamie, even though she's a rude, heartless witch.

More Info

GenreStrategy
DescriptionIt's another lackluster Wii port with useless additional Wii-mote usage? We are so surprised. Still, it can't completely kill the fun of growing your own crops.
Franchise nameHarvest Moon
UK franchise nameHarvest Moon
PlatformWii, GameCube
US censor ratingEveryone
UK censor rating3+
Release date25 August 2009 (US), 14 March 2008 (UK)