Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life - GameCube

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Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Simulation
Adventure: Role Playing
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Marvelous Interactive Soft. Co.: Natsume
Publishers: Natsume (GB)
Released: 26 Mar 2004 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 3+

Summary

One of the few games in the Natsume series to make it over to western shores, Harvest Moon is a bizarre franchise with a significant following and an established reputation. And what makes this strange is the fact that Harvest Moon is actually a farming simulator. That's right - in a world where mundane violence and car racing is omnipresent, Harvest Moon represents a break from the norm, bringing with it some witty 'Japanese' gameplay and a little imagination.

A brand new adventure, Wonderful Life brings with it all the qualities of its predecessors and adds a plethora of new characters, a new marriage system, the ability to raise your child, a refined approach to animal rearing, and a new event aspect that plots the story of your 30 year life in the Harvest Moon world.

In concept, gameplay is simple, whereby the player spends each day fulfilling a variety of chores. Feeding chickens, milking cows and taking care of crops may sound like menial tasks, but strangely enough, there's great pleasure to be taken from running a virtual farm. It's sometimes hard work and often time-consuming, but the end result is usually rewarding.

But besides farming, there are other things in your life that need taking care of. A career, a new wife and a family are among your highest priorities, and it’s the way you interact with the game's non-playable characters that influences how you progress through the game. By earning and then giving away numerous valuables as gifts, you'll earn respect in your farming community and you'll also uncover several new paths in your adventure.

Harvest Moon, in a basic sense, could also be touted as a life simulator, since your farming efforts are partially responsible for your character's personal life. It's a game typical of its Japanese origin. It's cartoon-like, the dialogue is direct, if a little corny, and gameplay is humorous as well as innovative. When you get deeper into A Wonderful Life and all of its underlying qualities, it's really not difficult to see why Harvest Moon is such a big deal.