Harvest Moon: (More) Friends of Mineral Town
Hello, Hubbers, Google people, internet users, and aliens hacking computers! How's your Wednesday been? Feeling kind of down? If you are, I bet you have something to make you happy. I bet there's something you have that cheers you up, something that just finds a way to make you smile. For me, that would be the wind. Also, video games! But it's not good for your happiness if you fail at a game, right? Here's a good game to cheer you up without risking failure and further unhappiness!
Not everyone is interested in the Harvest Moon series, and not everyone should be. It's a game that requires patience at times. Yes, you can game over in the Harvest Moon series, and in some of the games, you'll find yourself losing more often than not. This game, however, is an installment in the series in which you really can't lose. There are still things you can fail at, but you really won't find the disappointment of losing in this game very often. Has anyone figured out which game I'm talking about? Exactly! We're playing Harvest Moon, Friends of Mineral Town!.
Now, there's another Game boy Advance Harvest moon game called More Friends of Mineral Town. These two are essentially equivalent to Pokémon red and blue/gold and silver/etc. In the way that the two games are, for the most part, the same. They just have different things exclusive to different versions. More specifically, in Friends of Mineral town, you play the role of a boy who was given a farm in a will by an old man that he made friends with when he was younger. In More Friends of Mineral town, you play the role of a girl who saw an ad for a farm and bought it, only to find out that it was completely run down, and nothing was growing but weeds. On the bright side, she gets to hit the mayor with a hammer and get away with it!
For those who have never played Harvest moon, this one would be a GREAT place to start. There's no specific goal in the game, so you're free to go at your own pace. You'll find yourself starting with a few tools in your toolbox, and some things in your inventory. Your first job should be to try to clear out your field so you can get ready to plant crops, but here's where it gets easy. You don't necessarily have to even farm. You can go out and find plants to make money from out in the field, or you can even go mining for ores to make cash. It would definitely be best to farm, though. Especially when you consider the fact that your bag can only hold about 3 items. It can be upgraded later, but there lies the problem. It's not later. In fact, if you're just now reading this as you begin a new game, It's about the 2nd of spring.
There's another thing. The calendar of this game. It doesn't act in real time, but it has an interesting system of days. There are 30 days in each of the months, but there are only four months to each year, and different things are available at different seasons. Also, you'll only be able to grow certain plants in certain seasons, all but Winter, in which nothing grows, and you have to either make sure you're stocked up on things for sale, or have your hammer and hoe ready. The winter isn't that bad though. (for the sake of helping) You have access to a second mine which allows you to mine for gems. The gems don't have loads of purposes, but you can ship them during the winter to sustain yourself.
You have to be careful when you're mining, fishing, or anything else that involves using tools. As you use the, your stamina is depleted. If your stamina hits zero, you start using fatigue. If you run out of fatigue, you pass out and are promptly taken to the hospital. This is one flaw within the game, as you can't see your stamina or fatigue until you acquire an item called “Jewel of Truth” of which, you need nine parts, all nine of which are scattered, and a few of them are unavailable for quite a while in the game. Also, there are some predesignated times when you use fatigue instead of your stamina, making it even easier for you to be taken to the hospital.
Another thing you can do, which is one of my favorite features of the game, is be sociable! You can talk to people, give them gifts, or...no, that's pretty much it. Despite that, there is still a challenge to it. Certain people like different things. You also have to be careful when giving people things. Sometimes you find yourself giving people something they don't like. If this happens, they may dislike you. I haven't found very many benefits to their dislike, but if you get more people to like you, you become popular (not really. Well, sort of.) You get access to different things at different times, though.
You can also choose from one of five eligible women, or men if you're playing More Friends of Mineral Town. These eligible characters will have a heart on the chest of their icon when you talk to them. Them more you talk to them and give them things they like, the more they like you, and the bigger the heart gets. The heart also changes color to indicate how much they like you. Be careful though! Similarly to the normal townspeople, these girls (or guys) have things they dislike as well. You have to keep a careful eye on their reactions, and judge where to go on that. If you get their heart up to red, you can buy a blue feather to propose to them with. That's right, kids! You can get married! Better get ready for it by simulating it with video games! Well, you really shouldn't, especially with this game, considering all you have to do to make people happy is give them things you find in the dirt.
You can also trigger events while wooing your woman. The cutscenes are different, but you have to choose a reaction to whatever happens. One choice will make them love you even more, the other will not change anything, and sometimes there will be a third choice which makes them dislike you. The good thing, however, is that the choices are kind of obvious. You can even trigger “Rival heart” events that involve your potential lover, and someone else. If you trigger all of that couple's rival events, they'll get married. You can easily stop them by having a higher heart level, though. Also, the rival events can only be triggered at certain times, but the same can be said about heart events for you. It's a nice, yet tedious Idea for a simulation game of any kind.
One of my favorite things about this game is that it really never ends. Even after you get married, and the credits roll, you still have things to do. Events still happen in towns, you can still farm and care for your animals, and all that stuff, but you can also get other things. You get a mountain home if you stay happily married for 50 years (in game, this is MUCH faster what you think, but still takes forever. There are tons of things you can still do in it after getting married. You can even have your wife call you by a nickname, and eventually, you can have a child. Also, you'll find that the hearts on the other girls are gone now, but beware! They still have feelings, and you can still give them stuff if you really want to, but it won't do that much anymore.
Harvest Moon, in itself, is a wonderful series. These two, however, are possibly my favorites among the games. They emphasize the portability, and still generate the same experience I've seen across all of the harvest moon games. Admittedly, It's not something everyone will enjoy. But, for those who enjoy simulation games, or farming, would love to jump into one of these games. It's also a great start for anyone who is interested in the series. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a simple game to cheer them up. With that, I have to stop typing. If you like it, good. If not, I still have to improve, let me know how! In the mean time, see you guys soon!