Preview: A tale of two portable Harvest Moon games

July 16, 2011

If you’ve been waiting for Natsume to radically change up the Harvest Moon formula, you’ll probably be waiting for a long while. While you’re waiting, you should probably check out the newest changes in Harvest Moon: A Tale of Two Towns!

Just as the name suggests, there are two towns in Harvest Moon: AToTT, Konohana and Blue Bell. These towns seem to hate each other, apparently competing over who has the best food. As usual, the hero who swoops in the save the day will be you. At the beginning of the game, you’ll be asked to choose which town you want to live in. This isn’t a permanent decision, but it is an important one, as each town houses different people, shops, and festivals. They also have different farming benefits to choose from. Choose Konohana and you’ll have extra fields to sow crops in, but choose Blue Bell, and you’ll have plenty of extra barn space to house more critters. Speaking of animals, the Alpaca makes its Harvest Moon debut in this game, though we didn’t see it in our time with the game.

In addition to a new story, surroundings, and villagers, Marvelous Entertainment has taken it upon themselves to refine and enhance most of the elements of the game. Fishing in particular was revamped. Now, you’ll wade into the water to fish, and in shallow water you’ll simply fish with your bare hands. Additionally, the request system from Rune Factory 3 will be making its first appearance in the mothership series. These requests will give you something to do during the day other than tend crops and animals, and will reward you with friendship points with the villagers.

The controls felt very smooth and responsive when playing on the 3DS, and the graphics look better than they have in any other handheld game in the series. As for the 3D? It is more of a subtle effect, making the scenery and background pop out at you just enough to enhance the graphics, but not enough to bother anyone.

Both the 3DS and DS are light on games so far this year, but this title is looking like a great candidate to help end the drought when it releases on both systems this fall.