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Rune Factory: Frontier review

Turnips: the Final Frontier. Will you boldly go?

If you want better crops then you need to ensure that Trampoli has excellent spiritual health. A maiden’s favourite food may require ingredients dropped only by the fiercest dungeon boss. A happy gaggle of women will grant advice and help for questing and farming. Healthy crops underpin the entire experience. Nothing is cheap, so you’ll need to bring in that 150-turnip haul for a payday. Or maybe focus on selling tools fashioned from metals taken from the dungeons and built in a forge paid for in turnip money…

Before you know it, Rune Factory has you in its grasp. Most importantly, while you can up the stakes by trying to shove all of the above into a single day, you needn’t stress about it. Yes, hard work pays off, but neglecting any aspect of the world is forgivable too. Okay, so crops might wilt, but the ladies will forgive absence, the dungeons politely await your return and the rune spirits will eventually repopulate. Trampoli is beautifully self-righting, but won’t spill rewards unless you work for them.

Hardened Harvest Moon fans may quarrel with the more sympathetic difficulty level. Farming is but one part of a bigger experience and feels streamlined as a result. Crops are quicker to grow and less likely to fail. The fact you can walk over your plants will seem like heresy to those who like the bitter sting of digitized sweat in their eyes. To others, it’ll be good riddance to horseshoe-shaped veg plots and hello corporate turnip spamming.

Other people may find the game’s demands a little overwhelming. Until you’ve amassed your core toolset there’s lots that won’t make sense (how to chop wood and mine, for example) and these core tools aren’t all easy to find. Actually, scratch that – half of them are nigh-on cryptic, squirrelled away with obscure characters, though we suspect this is to get you into the habit of chatting with the townsfolk. And chat you should: the localization is thoroughly charming and witty.

Like the best fantasy, Frontier does exciting. Unlike the best fantasy, it still understands the appeal of the relaxing. Never demanding one or the other, but particularly brilliant with both, this is a great addition to a series, eclipsing Wii’s Harvest Moon escapades with style.

May 27, 2009

More Info

GenreSimulation
Description

Like the best fantasy, Frontier does exciting. Unlike the best fantasy, it still understands the appeal of the relaxing. Never demanding one or the other, but particularly brilliant with both, this is a great addition to the series, eclipsing Wii’s Harvest Moon escapades with style.

PlatformWii
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
UK censor ratingRating Pending
Release date17 March 2009 (US), (UK)
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