There’s nothing quite like your first Harvest Moon experience. Flung in the arse end of nowhere with little but a weed patch to your name you’re expected to develop an agricultural empire out of nothing but determination, sweat and tears. The formula - fight for an agricultural foothold and trade up to greater things - rarely changes. If you’ve played a previous Moon you’ll have some idea of the strategy needed for success.
Well, actually, if you’re playing this you are playing a previous Moon - Magical Melody appeared on the GameCube but never saw a European release. As a Wii port it’s not great. The visuals are firmly GameCube era with a mysterious black border wearing its non-widescreen roots with pride. And the controls? It’s honestly easier to direct a real life plough about, as illogically mapped buttons lead to regular map and tool confusion.
Yes, you can flick the remote to use tools, but considering you’ll need to use your hoe, sickle and hammer about a billion times each, your wrists will be dead long before your first crop is in. We’re not asking for an all-singing, all-planting flick-a-thon, but this goes beyond simple rustic charm, verging on backwater marry-your-sister crudity.
Which is a crying shame, as the core game is as strong as ever. Watching that barren plot of land birth your first row of turnips, giving you the income to branch out into more exotic crops and property development, is immensely rewarding. And with a series of musical note objectives to be met - kind of like salt of the earth Xbox achievements - Magical Melody comes with added accessibility. For most, however, being thrown in the deep end is the appeal. It’s a shame that the thoughtless porting adds unnecessary strife.
Mar 27, 2008