back to basics with Harvest Moon: Magical Melody.
by Colin Thames
13, 2006 - The
Harvest Moon series could be described as part RPG,
part economic sim and part adventure game. However
you want to define it, it definitely has taken on
a life of its own. There is plenty of micromanagement
in your day-to-day activities on the farm but it all
has a genuine purpose and never feels like busy-work.
There is great satisfaction in exploring this virtual
life and watching our whimsical character prosper
as a result of his or her efforts.
learn as you go in Harvest Moon. There are no complex
control schemes. It's pure simplicity, but the results
can be astounding depending on your selections and
virtual work ethic. In a nutshell, you are a farmer.
You start from scratch and build your empire up one
chicken at a time. You have total freedom in your
venture, which may be a little disconcerting for those
new to the game. You can talk to some NPCs and get
some ideas on what to do or just consult the manual.
The gameplay is open to experimentation so have some
fun and see what works for you.
Magic Melody the developers have decided to try to
recapture the magic of the original version. This
version is less flashy. It's got that wonderful wholesome,
relaxing vibe to it that the original game had, with
simple but endearing graphics. There is lots of depth
to this version so don't let the straightforward presentation
fool you. There's plenty of horsepower under the hood.
Expect lots of activities, side quests and plenty
of character interaction, since you'll be looking
to fall in love with someone in the town and eventually
get married and raise a family.
begin the game by choosing your sex -(don't get smart).
There are no advantages to playing as either a boy
or a girl, just different love interests. No, I don't
think there is a Brokeback Mountain mode. Once you
roll into town, the mayor offers you any one of three
parcels of land. Seems the township wants to promote
farming. Choose one section of land and start trying
to earn a living on it. You do this by selling things
that you produce on your land. You're not restricted
to crops and livestock, although they do play an important
role later on when you have the cash to buy these
things. You can harvest lumber from the forest with
the aid of an axe. You can catch fish in the lake
and sell them. With a hammer you can crush rocks and
extract the ore. You can even go into the woods and
collect things such as flowers and honey.
are plenty of animals in this version and they are
every bit as charming as the characters that you'll
meet in town. They not only provide companionship
but they also help generate revenue for your farm.
The sheep are a good source of wool, the cows give
milk and the chickens lays eggs, all of which will
make you money. Planting seeds is another good business
move. By careful tending of the soil and watering,
you will likely have a bumper crop to harvest a few
months down the line. There are more than 25 different
crops to grow. The more money that you raise the more
things that you can purchase to make even more money.
You can even buy those other parcels of land that
the mayor was offering.
daily chores are taken care of semi-automatically,
giving you more time to experiment and just generally
have fun. You can have more things on the go than
ever before. The time passes by quickly so you'll
want to get as much done as possible within the time
frame. Of course, your character isn't superhuman.
He or she only has so much stamina. There is a stamina
meter which will tell you how much energy you've wasted
and how much you have left. Every activity will drain
the meter, whether it's chopping trees or weeding
the garden. You can carry some food around with you
to regain some energy but it has to be stored in the
inventory sack which means that you can't carry around
other useful items such as tools to perform some of
the work that you need to do. If you run out of stamina
you'll wind up in the hospital. The only penalty will
be a day of work lost which can set you back a bit.
name of this version, Magic Melody, comes from the
collecting of musical notes. Early on in the game
you are approached by a number of garden gnomes that
ask for your help in saving the Harvest Goddess who
was turned to stone. To do this you have to collect
100 musical notes. There are many different ways to
collect these notes. You can find them, you can earn
them or you will just simply be awarded them for going
about your daily activity, as long as you continue
to grow and try new things.
expect a lot of production values. The game looks
like something that was ported from the N64. It's
designed this way on purpose, so as to focus solely
on the gameplay. I think the game could have used
more polish, especially with the background animations.
When you go to festivals and other places where there
are crowds, the background characters are relegated
to one simple animation which makes them look like
they're suffering from some compulsive nervous disorder.
The other characters are just static. There are no
voiceovers and there isn't a lot of music but the
quite segments are part of the appeal. When you go
into town things become more exciting both visually
appeal of this game lies within the complex results
your interactions and decisions generate. There is
also a four-player mode where up to four players can
take part in mini-games based on some of the gameplay
features found in the single-player mode. There is
horseracing, mountain climbing and fish catching events
that offer a nice diversion. The overwhelming replay
value is to be found in the single-player mode. Even
though this game may look like it's got Playskool
written all over it, it can be very challenging. Don't
underestimate it until you've tried it.
as either a boy or girl! Each gender has 10 potential
against a rival farmer! Your productivity will be
judged on a daily basis against that of your rival's...you
will also compete against your rival in the festivals!
a wide variety of crops and trees!
cows, sheep, horses and chickens!
Moon: Magical Melody also offers mini-games in which
4 players can participate!
different plots of land and expand your farm by
building various extensions!