Let’s get this straight. We’ve been shipwrecked, we’re forced to run the only farm on the island - and we’re the only ones visibly purchasing anything from anyone, which means that we’re single-handedly maintaining this island’s economy? That’s a lot of pressure. Then, to rub sea salt into the wounds, other people gradually arrive and move onto the island out of choice, and at no point does anyone say “Hey, where were you headed before the shipwreck? Perhaps I can give you a ride?” Oh no - it’s all “Don’t be so eager, that turnip you gave me wasn’t all that great.” Lazy, ungrateful jerks.
Once again we find ourselves struggling against natural storms and disasters to maintain a lucrative farm with happy animals, all of whose happy byproducts translate into cold hard cash. Not that it’s meant to be about money. It’s meant to be about gaining respect and persuading one of your fellow islanders to go out with you - even if you’ve got straw in your hair and cow shit on your jeans. As it’s in Japanese though, the socializing feels a little arbitrary, and you’ll frequently end up walking in on other characters flirting with your potential mates just because they speak the same language.
So, it’s mainly just farming then. And, call us perverts, but we find it all rather satisfying. Even on a screen the size of half a cassette tape, our feelings are still hurt when one of our chickens gets sick, and we love the look of ripe turnips in the morning. And Harvest Moon gets better each time, with the control system tweaked for every new installment. A bit unwieldy at first, it’s actually very efficient once you find the best way to use it. The stylus picks a direction; you can run with the left shoulder button, and use the D-pad for actions (or do it all on the touch screen if you want). Shame there’s no shortcut to the rucksack with buttons you’re not using, but that’s our only quibble. The little hearts emitted by our happy beasts make everything all right.