I am an intense Harvest Moon fan. My very first “Harvest Moon” game was released on the Playstation 2; I had been visiting a friend and she sat me down to play Harvest Moon: Save The Homeland, and that was my first game I ever played in the series. Now, in all honesty, from what I saw of that game it kinda sucked, so I never purchased it. Soon after, the GameCube was released and Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life came in the little bundle of video games that my grandmother bought me for my birthday and I was in love! I could not put this game down and I have been hooked on the franchise ever since I was 10 years old. There’s a few that I skipped because I didn’t have the right console (Animal Parade for the Wii) but I kept up to date and still have some of my GameBoy and DS cartridges.
Since then, the publisher for the series changed, and the new publisher can no longer use the Harvest Moon name anymore (since Natsume, the old publisher, still owns it) so it had to be changed to Story of Seasons. I wrote a whole article explaining the debacle here.
The ‘Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town’ Remake
Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town was first released on the GameBoy Advance in 2003 and a new remake has been announced, titled Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town. I’m a little late in reviewing this announcement because, initially, I wasn’t sure how to take it. I’ve played Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns which was released in 2016, and I dumped a lot of time in to that game, but it just didn’t have the same “Harvest Moon” vibe. I just wasn’t sure what a remake would mean for one of my favorite GBA games. Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town released in Japan on October 17, and footage from the Japanese game play is all over YouTube.
Exactly one day after its release, an English mod was released that reveals a few English text translations. This actually comes from the Japanese version of the game, which has a mostly-complete English version tucked inside its files. It’s clear there are some things that need to be patched up before it actually releases outside of Japan (a known bug of the horse being stuck in the river, for example), but there’s a good enough base here to play through without much issue. The biggest issue is the English text overflowing and being cut out of the chat boxes.
I’ve watched a lot of these playthroughs in my spare time and (ignoring sound glitches and such) I’m actually quite pleased. At first, I was taken aback by a few of the character details (and the new style of the game in general). For example,Gray is missing his iconic hat, but I love that they reference his original hat with his shirt (look closer at the “UMA” (‘horse’ in Japanese) on his hat and t-shirt))!
I was also more than a little irked when an announcement revealed that they did away with the shopping channel and replaced it with items being sold in Jeff’s General Store. The shopping channel allowed players to purchase items on the TV, and would only occur on Tuesday. These items were random, and they could not be purchased via any other method. Some of these items were pre-requisite to unlock marriage in the game. Additionally, they removed rival marriages, which removes some of the difficulty of the game, but I have hopes that this remake will be a modest success, even without some of the old features of the game.
They’ve brought mining (and the cursed tools!) back, they’ve revealed that children will grow a bit older, and they have revealed that a few additional areas have been added. Some of the original festivals have been removed, but to compensate, they’ve added additional festivals, such as a romance festival. After listening to fans, director Hikaru Nakano, is considering adding DLC. Overall, the elements of the game are unchanged.
In this article, Mr. Nakano also hinted at the release of future Harvest Moon remakes under the Story of Seasons title. I like that Story of Seasons is experimenting with the art style before moving on to the older games, like Magical Melody and A Wonderful Life.
I’m very excited about the remake! Sure the character re-designs were a little weird at first, but overall that’s fine so long as it carries the same fun farming vibe as the original at the end of the day! However, I do have one concern… please, for the love of the Goddess, PLEASE DO NOT START ME OUT WITH A BAG THAT ONLY HAS 3 SLOTS! NOT 👏 AGAIN 👏 I WILL 👏 LOSE 👏 MY MIND 👏 IF I HAVE TO GRIND GRASS TO GET A BIGGER RUCKSACK!
Harvest Moon 64 and Harvest Moon: Back To Nature were before my time (well, they were released in 1999) and it’s been said they’re the best to play. If there are future remakes, I hope they don’t skip the old releases, which is in my opinion, the best of the series. Some localizations, like Harvest Moon DS and DS Cute, had some serious localization flaws—which I’m happy to cover in a future article—and it would be nice to see those game remade into a modern, fully function-able Nintendo Switch release.