The 'Shroom:Issue XXXVII/Non-Marioverse Review
Harvest Moon 64 is the first – and to my knowledge, only – Harvest Moon installment on the Nintendo 64 system. It was recently released a few months ago on the Wii’s Virtual Console.
The concept of Harvest Moon isn’t hard for a non-gamer to grasp; you’ve bought yourself an old, run-down farm to renew and literally make fruitful again. You engage in a host of farm-related activities such as growing crops and raising animals, and take it to a new level with the ability to participate in festivals. These events range from crop contests to horse races and luck-based challenges. The main choice to make behind any Harvest Moon game is: will your farm prosper, or go under?
Not every farmer has the same plan – you may or may not choose to settle down and raise a family. Maybe you’ll specialize in animal breeding and sell animal products. Or maybe your focus is just on plantlife. The game is almost completely non-linear and you can do everything the way you want to.
Some may be disappointed that the graphics of Harvest Moon 64 are merely detailed, enlarged sprites rather than the full 3-D graphics we’ve come to expect on the system, but it probably works best this way. In this perspective, it’s easier to get a look at your entire farm and everything surrounding you, and with the days so short, every bit of help counts. In fact, the graphics are a vast improvement from the original SNES title.
The game also makes improvements in the area of audio quality. Maybe the songs aren’t quite as memorable, but the quality of the tracks themselves is better. As the main farm theme changes with the passing of seasons, the music perfectly matches the season it’s meant to represent (fall is especially well represented).
Maybe the main problem with the game is repetition. As I stated earlier, the in-game days are very short, and as you must take care of animals and water plants once a day the concept wears slightly thin. But a persistent player will reap the benefits, and there are also many exciting parts of Harvest Moon 64.
While not perfect, I commend Marvelous on this effort and award the game an 8.2/10.