|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|
When playing Puzzle de Harvest Moon, there are some very important things to keep in mind. First off, all the plots are communal, so this means that you can potentially harvest crops that you have had no hand in growing. Yes it's a slimy tactic, but it's how you win. You'll get less points for harvesting other people's crops, but they still count! Another thing to keep in mind is to play your toolkit smart. If you have no seeds but a ton of fertilizer, you can fertilize all your neighbor's crops and reap the benefits. Puzzle de Harvest Moon is all about strategic gameplay, and once you find a way to balance honest crop-growing with your own sneaky tendencies, you'll have mastered the Puzzle de Harvest Moon.
And that's where the trouble with this game begins. There's only three real "modes," and they're all excruciatingly similar. There's regular mode, where you pick from about twelve characters, pick a skill level, how long you want to play, and then you go for it. The next mode is survival mode, which is essentially the same thing, the only difference is that you'll keep going through the puzzle until someone beats you. And if you've developed a working strategy, you'll probably quit before you're eaten, simply because the computer competition isn't all that challenging. The last mode is quest mode, which essentially gives you bonus points for harvesting a certain crop. But the specified crop doesn't really alter the score all that drastically, so if you just play through it like a regular round, then you're more likely to win then if you waited around for the specific "quest crop."
Graphics, controls, and music all develop a very simplistic theme. The graphics are pretty good, but you don't really need much for a puzzle game where your main objective is to plant crops. The graphics can best be described as stoic, but I can't imagine much movement in a game like this. Controls use the touch screen exclusively, and all you really have to do is drag and drop tools from your menu or rub your crops via the stylus. Music is very simplistic, but not abrasively so. It's not a real pleasure to listen to, but the simplistic tunes don't really get on your nerves either, so I consider that a win.
Puzzle de Harvest Moon has a really unique concept, but unfortunately there's just no substance behind it. You can play through the puzzle, and then you can play through it again, and then you realize that there's not much else this game. Sure it's fun for a quick diversion, the same way games like Bejeweled and Jewel Quest are. But you won't get much lasting value out of this one, which is a shame, because it could have been done so well. Puzzle de Harvest Moon could have really benefited from time trial modes, challenge modes, maybe even some sort of story mode involving the characters that the game features. But alas, there is only one Puzzle de Harvest Moon, and much like the real harvest, this one is all about repetition. Oh, well.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer