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Harvest Moon: Magical Melody

Bored of staking half-naked vampire chicks through the hooters? Tired of lugging around furniture sized sci-fi laser cannons, exploring dwarf riddled netherworlds and bending your Lamborghini round a flag pole? Then why not become a farmer and nestle yourself in this quiet little town filled with helpful country folk just looking to make ends meet? This is a game that moves at a pace you dictate. Rise at 6 A.M., till the dirt, plant some seeds and carry on with your daily farming routine. The bigger and better you make the farm, the happier your townsfolk will be, and therefore your quaint village will attract more prospective townies. With more residents comes more business, and a few more attractive types to potentially shack up with.

See, the goal isn't just to sustain a farm, but also to find a fine lad or lass by being nice, trading items and just behaving yourself like any good neighbor would. Bringing a farm up from its two-crop beginnings is a slow but rewarding experience some gamers will never find appealing. Others, mostly those already in the Moon fan base, know exactly what an undertaking it is to balance feeding livestock, watering crops and having a social life... in the game, that is.

For a game that preaches friendliness, cleanliness and hard work, Harvest Moon: Magical Melody wastes no time in introducing a thoroughly annoying rival farmer. Every personal goal you set, be it reaping enough crops or building a new barn for your packed-in livestock, is always targeted by the overzealous Jamie. She's determined to revive the ailing Harvest Goddess (think omnipotent god of farming in the shape of a hot chick in a dress) before you do. Poor Jamie's missing the crux of the whole Harvest Moon series: heart.

As an aside to the regular tasks of watering plants and catching fish, there are also 100 musical notes you need to find by doing random things. Yeah, it really is that vague. The point is to convince the Harvest Goddess that people have not forgotten the simple, yet important lessons in life. You'll get one just for standing still or "stopping to enjoy the scenery," if that's any indication of what milestones await you in March.

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