Game Review: Harvest Moon (Back to Nature)

Harvest Moon: Back to Nature


Harvest Moon is a wonderfully addicting game about farming life. There have been many versions that have come out since I first played the PS1 game, with the gameplay being fairly uniform, except for some changes in some of the different versions. Back to Nature (PS1) is very similar to the Friends of Mineral Town and More Friends of Mineral Town version which can be played on the Gameboy Advance, while the Boy and Girl version is its counter-part for the PSP. The PS2 also has some other versions of the game such as A Wonderful Life and Save the Homeland.

Harvest Moon: Back to Nature begins with the main character (you), a boy whose grandfather used to own the farm that you spent one of your best summers in. Since your grandfather passed away, the farm has not been taken care of and there are weeds growing all over the field. It’s your job to have to bring the farm back to its original state (within 3 years) or else it’s good-bye Mineral Town (the town you are presently in). For the girl version of the game, there are of course minor differences, like the character’s history and such, but the story still runs the same way.

You start the game by trying to get your run-down farm back to its former glory, by cleaning the field up and filling the farm with life. Slowly and bit by bit, from the money you earn from selling herbs on the mountains and later on from money you earn selling crops you grow on the farm, you’ll be able to buy animals (chickens, cows and sheep), upgrade your tools and upgrade your infrastructure on the farm. The game is not entirely about farming life, since one of the basic necessities in the game still lies in your ability to be friends with the townsfolk. One of my favorite features in this game is the ability for marriage (to one of 5 girls) and if you’re playing a girl, it’s to one of 5 boys. You have to court the girl (or boy) that you plan on marrying, though it’s a common tactic to court everyone and then take your pick, since you eventually have to get-along with everyone anyway.

Courting the girl (or boy) of your dreams is not the only additional requirement, since villagers will be important if you wish to be able to survive the story. Villagers will also be very helpful in giving you recipes and helpful tips throughout the story. For the girls (or boys), if you wish to know your progress, a heart will appear at the end of the dialogue box when you talk to them, which will determine your relationship. Building up relationships also unlocks special scenes throughout the story.

Of course, as a town, one of the things the story’s fun revolves around is the town festivities. There are various festivals throughout the story, for example the Goddess Festival, or the Harvest Festival, the Sheep Festival or the Cow Festival and many others. There is also a Cooking Festival, which will be fun later on when you’ve upgraded your house and unlocked the kitchen, which you can use when you’ve collected ingredients, utensils (which you can buy from TV Home Shopping) and recipes (which you can get from the TV, villagers, and various other sources).

Other interesting features in the game is the ability to fish (once you’ve found a fishing rod), to mine for ores that not only upgrade your tools but allow you to create accessories, the changes in weather, the variety of crops depending on the season, dialogues between the different characters throughout the story, and other such features.

It is a wonderful game that can be very addicting, but also can be very monotonous. With 4 months per year (equal to 4 seasons) and 30 days per season, the game may seem like it passes quite quickly but in fact, it doesn’t. This is based solely from experience. For some days, it seems like there isn’t enough time to do everything you want to do: from gathering herbs, to watering plants, to taking care of the animals and to courting the girls and the villagers. Eventually though, you can unlock the Harvest Sprites who will be able to help you with tasks such as watering and harvesting your crops, and taking care of your animals.

There is a lot of variety and monotony in the game. If you are determined to finish the game, it can be a challenge to a lot of players. The game is wonderfully done, with its variety of music throughout different parts of the game, wonderfully done characters and character profiles, and other such things. The scenery throughout the village is wonderfully done as well. My problem may lie solely on it being just a village, without the ability to leave or mingle with people outside of the town. It can also be very tiring and daunting to have to do so many days every year. But one thing can be admired from all of these. If one marries, one can eventually live with their spouses and even have children, though endings differentiate for the girl and boy characters, with the girl character’s stories ending earlier than that of the boy’s. If you play the boy character, you can watch your child grow into a toddler, which can be very cute.

This game comes well-recommended, and even an impatient person like me finds a lot of fun in games such as these, devoting a lot of hours to playing the game.

This review does not include walk-throughs, character summaries, or tips for the game and such.


16 Responses to “Game Review: Harvest Moon (Back to Nature)”

  1. May 4, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    I love Harvest Moon even though I only play it using an emulator in the computer! I even have the files up to now though I’ve stop playing long ago because I got tired of the routine. But nevertheless, HM is a good game, something that would deviate you from the ordinary MMORPGs.

  2. May 4, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    @Bryan: I also have a copy for the pc emulator! It actually got to a point that all the scenes I liked, well I have a screen shot of them. Yeah, it can get a little boring towards the end, but the start of a game is always interesting for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for dropping by my site, by the way.

  3. May 17, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    I love HM too! XD My fave version is Save the Homeland. I guess it’s the only HM with ending. am I right about that? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • May 19, 2009 at 3:23 pm

      Hi Marie Lynn. I didn’t get to finish all the stories in Save the Homeland. I only finished one of them, the ferret one if I remember correctly. Haha. I actually prefer the A Wonderful Life/Back to Nature story. I did’t like how Save the Homeland gameplay meant starting from the beginning after each quest.

  4. 5 nazi
    July 8, 2009 at 1:51 am

    Some One said something a bout another village in this game. Is there anything like this?

    • July 8, 2009 at 2:00 am

      I don’t think you can visit any other village in the game, that’s been a usual trait in all the HM games though there can be references to other villages. There are other games though that take place in other villages, like Save the Homeland (PS2) or A Wonderful Life (PS2) and some others~ ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. 7 Fadly
    December 11, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    First time i knew this game was was when i was in 6 Grade junior School, Now it’s been 6 years since that, but i still so Addict, so admire, so Crazy bout this game.. I miss its sound, its background songs that every places, seasons change, eventhough my ps One has been Gone, i lost of it..Now i play it by Emulator, i neva forget this game, it’s has became part of my life and part of my pass, maybe someday i have a kid i will teach her/ him to paly it…

    • December 11, 2009 at 4:25 pm

      I think I began Harvest Moon around that time too. Haha, been about 10 years already. I feel the same way that you do. No matter how old I am, I am still addicted to Harvest Moon. It’s one of the best and most simple of games. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I too hope that if I have a kid, my kid’ll appreciate Harvest Moon.

  6. 9 Fadly
    December 11, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    First time i knew this game was when i was in 6 Grade junior School, Now it’s been 6 years since that, but i still so Addict, so admire, so Crazy bout this game.. I miss its sound, its background songs that every places, seasons change, eventhough my ps One has been Gone, i lost of it..Now i play it by Emulator, i neva forget this game, it’s has became part of my life and part of my pass, maybe someday i have a kid i will teach her/ him to paly it…ha….

  7. March 2, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    i like this game… simple n fun..

  8. March 8, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    What WP template are you using?

  9. 13 marien mae t.palicpic
    June 3, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    i wish i can play harvest moon in facebook…

    • June 5, 2010 at 1:16 am

      Me too, but I think the internet would cause the game to lag too much. It would be interesting though to marry one of your friends or something like that. XD

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The Doll(dalera)

What lies behind the mask of a doll, kept sheltered and propped against the shelf wall. Beautiful and untouched for all to see, she comes unmasked in beautiful glory.

The Doll behind the mask

A fresh university graduate from the Ateneo de Manila University who loves to write stories, articles and poetry. Enjoys reading books - mostly fiction, and loves to play video games.

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