In 1997, the Super Nintendo was on its last legs but that didn’t mean that there weren’t great games being produced for it still. Video games can take boring, mundane, and obligated tasks and turn them into fun. Harvest Moon started the farming craze back in 1997 when Natsume released it for the Super Nintendo. Who knew that running a farm, planting crops, and raising animals could be so fun? Natsume did and the series continues today. Time to save your Grandpa’s farm so let’s plow a path in this Harvest Moon review!
Harvest Moon Plot:
Harvest Moon begins when a young man’s parents gift him with his deceased grandfather’s old farm. The farm is rundown, full of weeds, stones, and is in shambles. The father gives the son two and a half years to get the farm up again and making money.
Over that period, the player must renovate the farm, grow large fields of crops and raise farm animals like chickens and cows. If you want the best ending, you’ll need to woe several bachelorettes in the neighboring town, convince them to marry you and have children with them. During the middle of the second year, your father will return and judge your farm.
There’s a ton of Harvest Moon games out there but the main goal never really changes. Take over a farm, make it successful and make money! Let’s head to the gameplay portion of this Harvest Moon review.
Harvest Moon Gameplay:
Like all the other Harvest Moons, you must balance your time and energy to perform daily tasks that will benefit your farm. You’ll need to pull weeds, stumps, and stones out of your soil so you can ho the dirt and plant crops. You’ll be able to grow and sell corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and turnips, each has a specific season that they can grow.
Aside from planting crops, the farmer needs to manage animals on the farm. You’ll be able to purchase chickens and cows from the local town. When you give them attention and feed them, they’ll produce milk and eggs for you to sell. You’ll also have ownership of a horse and a dog.
The majority of your day is spent on the farm making sure everything is running smooth but after a hard day’s work, you can visit two other areas in Harvest Moon. The local town is just a quick walk away and offers a few buildings to visit. There’s a tool shop, a flower shop, a church, a bar, and a restaurant for you to visit and interact with the characters who work and visit these places. You’ll visit each of these places multiple times throughout the game if you want to advance any plot points or improve your farm.
Speaking of improvement, you’ll have tools to help you on the farm. At first, they are basic tools like an ax or hammer but through quests and money, you can improve your tools to make your tasks easier and shorter. You can also visit the forest and mountain peak near your farm. You’ll be able to pick berries and chop wood for your farm expansions.
Once you’re in a grove with dividing your time between farming and raising animals, it’s time to start courting a wife. You’ll have your pick a few different lovely ladies but my wife always chose Nina during her Harvest Moon review who has pink hair that she has affectionately nicknamed Nina as “cotton candy”. My wife will try and “bang all the hos” in Harvest Moon but Nina always comes out on top for her marriage material. To get the girls to like you, you’ll have to give them gifts, talk to them daily and do small tasks for them when they ask. Once you’re married, your wife will move in with you and you can begin to have children. The toddler looks like a kid in Yoda pajamas and likes to say “Boo-Boo Dah” when you talk to it.
In Harvest Moon, you’ll do the same tasks over and over each day, but the game tries and keeps you guessing with fun events. Some events are random, some are seasonal. There will be festivals to attend where you can mingle with the ladies and townsfolk. Storms, hurricanes, and earthquakes will occur that ruin your crops and tear up your farm.
Numerous secrets can be found throughout Harvest Moon. You never know what you’ll end up doing each day which kept my wife playing. She may have started of hoeing the fields (she would) but by night she’s at an egg festival.
Harvest Moon came out late in the life of the Super Nintendo but the 2D graphics were perfect for the system. I prefer them still over the newer 3D version. My wife is currently playing the newest Harvest Moon that came out in 2019 and I still think the SNES version looks a million times better. The sprites are beautifully colored and there are details in every screen whether it’s the crops, the forest, the townsfolk or the water in which you can fish. Harvest Moon was detailed very well and its beautiful setting made it a game that I wanted to watch my wife play.
I have Harvest Moon on an emulator on one of my laptops. Each Summer my wife and I go on a road trip to a city we’ve never been to. She brought the laptop a few years back and she played it for this Harvest Moon review the entire way there and back on it. It was cute to listen to her get excited about purchasing a cow or talking to one of the girls in town. She loved checking their diaries to see how much they liked her.
Here’s a memory from my wife as she during the Harvest Moon review.
“I didn’t like it at the beginning because there was no tutorial. The only way that you learn stuff is to look at forums or google the question. If I didn’t have the internet to look stuff up at first, I’d be lost. It took me a while, but I ended up really liking it. I married the hardest girl to get so I was proud of that. I got the best ending, but I liked seeing all the other ones. I enjoyed the credits to the game as it shows highlights of your work.”
Harvest Moon Review Score:
Harvest Moon invented the farming genre and they nailed it on their first try. Offering farm animals, numerous crops, a marriage quest and a world full of secrets, Harvest Moon launched one of the best series for the casual gamer. Special thanks to my wife who gave me the input for this Harvest Moon review. This is her score for Harvest Moon.
Harvest Moon scores an 8.2 out of 10.
What would you write in your Harvest Moon review? Did you play Harvest Moon when it first came out for the SNES? Have you gotten into the series later? Which girl did you choose to marry? Let me know your thoughts and memories, I’d love to read them!