|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Platinum Egg||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Natsume||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 6, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Puzzle de Harvest Moon has a pretty interesting concept behind it. You wouldn't think that a genre that defines itself almost exclusively through agricultural simulations would have much room for a puzzle game in its vast catalog of games. But somehow, we got Puzzle de Harvest Moon. As you might expect, the core gameplay of Puzzle De Harvest Moon involves farming. Essentially your task is to harvest more than the competition. It sounds daunting, but the way that this is accomplished is pretty nifty.
Essentially you start off with a 5x7 plot of land. This plot will be your "battle" area. Then it's up to you, as well as four competitors, to plant seeds, and then water, fertilize, and harvest them and achieve farming glory. The way you do this is via a five-panel "toolkit" on the right hand side of the touch screen. Here you will find everything you need for success: seeds, watering cans, fertilizer, a basket for harvesting, and the occasional farm animal. However, the five spaces do not have a static tool in them; in fact they are all completely random. So you could end up with five panels worth of seeds and no water or fertilizer. But that's all part of the puzzle!
Each item in your toolkit must be used in the communal plot for success. As you might expect, you start off by planting seeds. Each seed takes up one plot on the land. Then you use your fertilizer and watering can and nurture it until a fruit or vegetable grows. Once it does, then you use your basket for harvesting. Since your five-panel toolkit is a little random, you might not always have a basket, so you can alternately shake your onscreen fruit or vegetable by rubbing your stylus back and forth over it.
You may also have a farm animal or two dropped into your toolkit. There are five standard animals, which are upgradable to "golden" animals should you perform well early on in the game. But we'll start off with the basics. There are five animals: a dog, cow, horse, chicken, and a sheep. Each of these animals can be used for strategic purposes, and smart use of the farm animals can really make or break the game. The most useful of the animals has to be the dog, which keeps a 2x2 plot of land safe from interference from anyone who might try to capitalize on your hard work. The cow has the opposite effect and prevents other players from working on their own 2x2 plots. The horse changes plots on a 2x2 plot to your color. The sheep only lets your opponents use one item from their toolkit, and the chicken eats your opponent's seeds. The "golden" versions of these animals amplify these status effects by covering the entire farm plot instead of just one 2x2 area. The only exception to this is the golden cow, which causes your crops to grow twice as fast.