I’ve been a long time Harvest Moon fan ever since I first got my hands on the original SNES title in ’97. Back then this was by far the most unique gaming experience around. Who would ever think that farming would make for an interesting gameplay mechanic, let alone a fun one? And yet there I was harvesting crops, raising livestock, and building a house for my family to live in….all now features of modern hit titles like Animal Crossing. I could even get married; just a neat bonus feature I thought at the time, but little did I know how important a topic virtual nuptials would be for all of gaming years later.
While the series may get flack in some circles it can’t be denied that the original Harvest Moon introduced a number of innovative new ideas to gaming that have since become modern mainstays. In its numerous iterations since, however, the innovation seemed to have halted; the old saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ couldn’t be more applicable. While still fun, the Moon-mechanics really haven’t changed all that much since the late 90s.
The newest entry in the series Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, the first to be fully developed and produced by Natsume (who previously have localized all entries), seeks to buck this trend and bring back some of the innovation that made the original game stand out, while holding on to all the things that fans love.