Time to start a farm, ya’ll!
A lot of people don’t know about the wonders of Harvest Moon. The older ones anyway, the newer Harvest Moon games don’t seem to have the same level of quality that the ones on the SNES, N64, and GBA had. It’s a type of game series that is hard to explain to someone who has never touched the series.
One part life simulator, other part RPG. Harvest Moon for the SNES is a hallmark classic that branched off from the usual action platformers or space shoot em up games that were all the rage at the time, and said “Well, what if we just made it a bit realistic but also spice it up here and there?” Thus, Harvest Moon was born.
If you’ve never played a Harvest Moon game before, then sit back and relax, we’re gonna break down the SNES version and make you think again about picking up the series.
Each Harvest Moon has near enough the same premise. You get either your grandparents, parents, or in some cases a strangers farm and you have to bring a new life to it. The SNES version is no different, you’re a young boy who has been given his grandparents farm. The current state of the farm is in shambles really, nothing has been done with it for a bit. Weeds need to be pulled out, and seeds planted. You’ve got a lot of work to do.
But you can’t just sit down and make it up over night, no no. Just like life, you have to adhere to a proper schedule, work at a steady pace to not pass out, and do what you can. Harvest Moon will see you wake up at 6 AM and give you the keys to the farm to do as you see fit. You COULD start the farm duties for the morning, plough the fields, plant some seeds, and then head out to to the market to restock on supplies. Or you could do something else!
There is a whole town attached to your farm, as it’s not in the middle of nowhere. This is where the RPG aspects will come in. You’ve got your goal of making a fantastic farm full of animals and bountiful with produce, but you can also befriend the locals, participate in events that happen on specific days in game, and uncover small mysteries layered within the town. So it’s up to you to balance all of that by deciding what you’ll do with your time.
The time is important. You’ll feel like you have a grasp of building the farm at first, and the game will start to introduce a plethora of elements that’ll test you. You can’t just keep pulling weeds, you need to focus on the chickens! But if you spend too much time with the chickens, you could pass up a chance to build up your relationship with someone in the town who may or may not be a love interest down the line!
It seems a bit boring when explained, but it’s highly addicting. Even when a day drags on, the next one will come around you’ll find yourself motivated to do even better than you did that previous day! It’s gameplay like this that lets the game really shine brightly. It truly overshines more obvious flaws, such as the somewhat frustrating item management system, which only lets you hold two things at once. Which can be a real pain in the butt when you want to do a bunch of things that involve different tools, as it means running back to your shed to change items.
Barring that however, Harvest Moon oozes personality. The townsfolk are all memorable and the events and moments you share with them are varied, and even the areas you explore are quite vast. Given the fact that it is the SNES, the town you get to explore has a bit more than you might expect! Caves, hot springs, all sorts. Including daily happenings, like mail collection or vegetable delivery at a certain breathes some serious life into the game.
The graphics are incredibly detailed and really add a cute aesthetic that could change at any moment. Admire the stylised anime visuals one moment, and then brace yourself for a storm that sees bright colours fade away. The music is chipper and while not particularly memorable apart from a few key tracks, they serve their purpose well enough and aren’t grating after a while. Everything about the game really feels welcoming and different when compared to other games of the time.
Harvest Moon is a staple series that isn’t given as much love as it used to. With good reason, the same one that has seen Castlevania fall from the spotlight. A lack of titles that truly capture the essence of what it once was. The new ones have failed to encompass what Harvest Moon used to be, even the latest offering from the series which promised to go back to the roots of the SNES era failed to do what it set out to do.
If you want a feel good game where you’ll be able to build your own little grounding from nothing and have a fun story alongside it, then go ahead and seek out any of the earlier Harvest Moon games! They all are fantastic in their own little way, but if you didn’t play one before, we cannot recommend the SNES game enough. Harvest Moon for the SNES is the one that started it all, and like we often say in the Retro community….
You can’t beat the original.
Did you enjoy the Harvest Moon games? Which is your favourite? Let us know the comments!
If you are a fan of classic Harvest Moon games, you can play a bunch of them on our Android Handhelds! We’ve got a wide selection for any budget if you want to play all your classic Retro games, just click here to check out our options and start gaming today!