|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Marvelous Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Natsume Inc.||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 24, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
But the just reward for all of your hard work is the arrival of the bazaar. That's the part where you get to sell all of your goods to the eager customers. There's a childish joy to putting on your apron, standing at the farm stand, and ringing your little bell to attract customers. By ringing your bell with the B button, customers will wander over to your stand, and depending on which three items you've chosen to put on display, they might make a purchase. Other people will come up to talk to you, ask for directions, and try to barter with you. Depending on your reaction to these events, your customer service reputation may go up or down.
This is where the bulk of your money is going to be made. It's easy to make more than 10,000 dollars after a few weeks. That's when the real fun begins. Early on, things are fairly casual, and you can easily sell all of your goods before the end of the bazaar. But, once your farm grows in size and quality, there's a lot of pressure to make large amounts of sales so you can continue to sell stronger at the next bazaar and meet the goals set forth by the town's mayor.
There are some odd problems with the game though. To begin with, the immersion of the experience is completely broken by the terrible in-game clock. In the game, every minute that passes corresponds to about one second of real world time. It sounds okay on paper, but you almost never have enough work to last even until noon, let alone a decent evening hour.
More often than not, you end up waking up at six o'clock in the morning only to go right back to sleep at eight o'clock, and if it's raining (meaning you don't have to water the plants), then you might as well go right back to sleep. Even supposing you do have enough work to last a decent amount of time, there's a stamina meter that prevents you from doing too much work. If you begin work when you wake up, that usually runs out around noon, forcing you to go to sleep. It gets better as the game goes on and you have to do more chores, but the beginning itself is annoying.
At this point, you can see that most of the compliments I have for this game are minor, and similarly, most of the complaints are quibbling as well. This is because the gameplay has mostly been refined over twenty or so games and they've pretty much nailed it at this point. Each person will have to decide for themselves whether this game is worth it for them, and that choice will rest almost exclusively on whether or not you're sick to death of the Harvest Moon franchise. There's plenty of fun to be had raising animals and tending to your crops, but that's not going to change your mind if you're sick of the formula.
It's disappointing, but clearly Harvest Moon has a dedicated set of fans that will enjoy this game. So once again, if you love Harvest Moon, dig in. If you don't, then don't bother.
CCC Freelance Writer