Harvest Moon: Animal Parade!
Welcome, Internet, and My apologies. Due to some computer troubles, I've been unable to post much. But it's all better now, and I have a brand used game to review for you guys! This is a game I've been looking forward to for quite a while. Only recently, after a long battle with a lawn mower, have I been able to acquire this game. We're going to be talking about Harvest Moon: Animal Parade for the Wii!
It's easy to see why people who enjoy simulation games enjoy Harvest Moon games, Myself included. It's a nicely paced series with plenty to do. The thing that separates it from other simulation games is that It clearly identifies itself. You know it's a farming game by the Title, the presentation, even the artwork. And yet, when you dig into the game, you find so much more. You can farm, or you can mine, cut wood, fish, cook, fall in love, get married, or even live out a lonely life as a hermit on a dead farm! Literally, you can do that. Just don't plant anything or talk to anyone. Wanna say you lived your life all on your own with nobody else keeping you company? Harvest Moon!
Animal parade here does the same things as most of the well known harvest moon games, and the not so well known ones. You can do all of the aforementioned things in animal parade, but you have tons more options for each system. In the mines, you occasionally run into gases which have different effects on the player. You can also change your outfits, hats, and other accessories. You can even make cocktails!
A sweet little tale to begin the game!
The story is also an enjoyable aspect of this particular entry to the Harvest Moon series. You are hitching a ride to a Harmonica Town. You had just received your own farm, and you couldn't be more eager (or at least content) about it. There's something else to your trip, though. You're on your way to Harmonica Town with the help of Finn, one of several little people known as Harvest Sprites. The two of you are off to see the Harvest Goddess, whose tree is apparently dying out. This has a BIG effect on the environment around it. Crops are having trouble growing, wind isn't blowing, Fires aren't burning, and fish aren't biting. Even the people of the town are losing faith in the Harvest Goddess. The goddess has called out to the other Five sprites to ring their bells to heal the land, but none of them have been able to hear her call. She asks for your help in finding the five sprites and ringing the bells, and, probably due to video game logic, your only option is to accept.
Gameplay? it's nice. Exactly what you'd expect from the series, but nice.
The most important part of any Harvest Moon game is the player's farm. In this game, you start off with a tiny plot of land in a run-down house with similarly battered houses for animals. You have to first work off 5000 gold before you can do anything, but once you pay off your house, you can buy other plots of farm, and even a watermill near the river. You can also upgrade your house. You need to acquire both lumber and material stone, however, in addition to the money for the upgrade. One thing I personally like about Animal parade, that may or may not be in the other Gamecube/Wii entries, is that when you buy the upgrade, your house is instantly upgraded to the next level. You can also buy Appliances!
The appliances are all sold in different stores, but stay in the same general area. You'll mostly find yourself in the general store near the mine if you want these appliances. However, you can find tons of other things in different stores. One of my favorites is the camera and photo frames you can buy from a guy named simon. He actually gives you a camera for free when you begin the game, then you can buy a gold plated one later on. I'm not sure about the difference between the two yet, so let's move on to the frames. You can store the pictures you take in an album, then buy frames to put up on your walls, and put the pictures in the frame for everyone to see. I actually found myself spending a good portion of time just taking pictures of people and places. Harmonica Town is especially beautiful, and you can make tons of great pictures. You'll also notice that people nearby will stand still when you're in your picture taking mode. It seems like they want to pose for a picture.
Going back to the subject of Harmonica town, it's a very beautiful place. It features a bunch of stairways leading to different tiered shops and houses. I find it especially nice to look from the top of the school building at night time, and is nice when the moon is out..(Also, why has that school been untouched since the beginning of the game? Do these people hate school? Then again, there are only three children in this game...)
You can also get all kinds of different pets. You can tame a bear, panda, cat, dog, snake, turtle, or even a little squirrel. You can even ride some of the larger ones. Eventually, you'll meet a guy named Theodore, who has all kinds of animals in a circus (despite the title being animal PARADE). Unfortunately, three of those animals have gone missing in Harmonica Town. He asks you to help find them, but here's the clincher; He lost an elephant, a hippo, and a giraffe. How does one lose animals this large? Nonetheless, when you find them, you have to cook them a certain meal before they'll go back to the circus. It seems simple until you get into the whole cooking system.
Also, some other nice things about the game!
The music is another favorite part of the game for me. It really fits the mood, or even the feel of the environment. In the mines, you really feel like it's an industrious place going down, and as you climb the mountain, you feel like you're on this adventure deep underground (obvious, but fitting) and when you're in town, the soundtrack just makes you want to walk all over the place. Even the festival music fits the scenario! If there was any reason for a non gamer to enjoy this game, let it be the soundtrack.
The characters are also a memorable part of the game. They make the cutscenes particularly unique. I wanted to strangle the little girl when she kicked the red bell (one of the most important items in the storyline) into their chimney, and apparently, so did my buddy, Finn. That's another part, the cutscenes. You'll find them a lot in this series, and the game does a nice job with its own. The characters in these later installments really have their expressions lined up well, and you can see when and what emotions come to be. Their personalities are unique, and each character can clearly be identified based on more than just looks. Each person feels like more than just another character tossed into the mix. They feel as individual as you and...well, the guy next to you! Or girl, whichever one applies to you.
I think I've talked enough about it for now. All in all, the series does exactly what it's known for, and adds to the mix with a few interesting twists. I'm entirely glad to have bought this game, and am feeling completely refreshed after playing it for three days straight.(on that note, I think I have a problem.) Who's up for some castlevania next time around? I'm surprised it took me this long to write about a castlevania game, so we'll do that next time. I think I'll write about either Symphony of he Night, or Aeria of Sorrow...maybe. For now, see you guys soon!