Who says farming should be left to the men? In Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life, you take on the character of a cheerful brunette, ready to strike it out on her own and run a farm!
This game is almost
a remake of Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, save for the obvious difference of being a female player. Other than that, a few bugs have been fixed, and there have been a few other minor changes to the game. Some were way cool, and others were just…meh. A few even made the game worse, but we will talk about that soon enough.
One of the most noticeable changes is that your pasture grass is short and stubby. Unlike the other game, you must fertilize every square of grass before it can grow. Luckily, you start off with some fodder in your bin, but you better grow some grass fast or Bessie might go hungry. This is very annoying, and quite expensive. Fertilizer isn’t that much, but buying tons of it can really cost you. I would say to gradually buy it in increments of 10 or so, and fill up your field slowly.
Another cool quirk is the ability to change outfits! If you know anything about girls, they love to be fashionable. Each new outfit you can buy from the merchant Van, (he’s the really fat guy with glasses who wears a red shirt) he gets new ones in stock every season, and they escalate in price with each new addition. Each one is the same style, but the colors and patterns change. Most of the outfits have colors and patterns that reflect the season it comes out in, such as, the green-and-cow print outfit (yes, green- and- cow print. xD ) called “Moo Moo Summer” comes out in, you guessed it, Summer!
Also, a mirror has been added to your room. Girls really care about the way they look! With the mirror, you may see how your character is feeling. Upon looking into it, she will tell you how she feels, it can range from really good (My hair is so shiny~!) to average (I wish I was a harvest sprite…) to bad. (I have dark circles under my eyes…) her mood results from things like her stamina level, eat and sleep regularly to keep her mood high. Another way to tell how she feels is her face. If you look closely , she will have a big smile when she’s happy, a horizontal line for a mouth when average, and a big sad frown when she’s in poor condition.
In this game, you can spend some quality time training your pooch! I’m not exactly sure what the training does, but your dog’s affection seems to grow from it. Time stops when you play with him, so don’t worry about wasting daylight! I have heard a few rumors, I do not know how true they are, but some sources say that training your dog teaches him to chase away trespassers on your farm, including that little homeless guy that steals your food named Murray.
That’s quite a few differences!
As for the gameplay, it is lacking to me. I honestly believe that the producers put more work into the scenery than into a good game. The game looks great, but that definitely doesn’t make up for the slow-moving pace of the game. Sometimes, it gets so boring I have to put it down for a while. Every action takes time to complete, so you are left staring at the screen while she slowly waters the plants, milks the cow, or goes fishing…even her movement is slow, it takes her so long to walk anywhere.
Most of your gaming experience will consist of planting and growing various crops, taking care of livestock, and other farm-based things. There’s no difference here between other games, animals and crops are the essence of any game slapped with a “Harvest Moon” title. Other than that, you can run around and make friends, go fishing, spend some quality time with your boyfriend, go foraging for flowers and berries, or dig up treasures at the local archeology site. You’ll have a lot of time on your hands, so it’s good to find some stuff to do.
The graphics are very pretty. Trees can change colors in the different seasons, the animals look more life-like than previous installments, and come in a variety of breeds and colors. A prime example of this is the cows, you can get a regular black-and-white cow, a brown cow, a “marble” cow, with pink and black spots, and even a “star” cow! The game is very pretty all around, which makes me think they put their heart and soul into the graphics, and took out a lot of potential for the gameplay.
The story for the game is sweet and simple. You’re a city girl, whose father has passed away. You decide to come down from the city and take over your father’s farm, along with his old friend, Takakura, whom reside in “Forget-Me-Not Valley”. He may look scary, but Takakura is a nice guy who narrates the story and tries to help you out along the way. The main goal in the first year is to get married and make your farm prosperous to advance to the next chapter.
The story takes place in Chapters of your life, where you and the villagers age with time. Each chapter is one year long, with four seasons consisting of 10 days each. This may not seem like a long time, but it is! As I said, time moves very slowly, days are so much longer on this game than they have been before.
In order to complete the first chapter, you have to get married! There are three lovely bachelors in town to choose from, each of which has a different personality and will greatly affect your child and every aspect of your life. Gustafa is a creepy artist who looks like a hippie, but he wears a funny green witch hat with a flower in it. To top it all off, he lives in a tent. Marlin is an emo farmhand, he whines about being sick and can’t work, and to top it off, he’s trying to pull off an Elvis hairstyle. Rock is another hippie who hates work and lives to party. Not many choice there, and no real prizes, either, but hey, it’s what you’re stuck with, and you have to tie the knot to move on in the game!
Each guy will have a rival girl you compete with for his affection, but don’t worry too much about her. They can’t get married, no matter how many cut scenes of their love you see. You, too, will run into your own cut scenes with each guy, depending on how many hearts you gain with the bachelor. If you don’t propose to your guy by the end of the year, he will come find you.
It’s no real secret that after you tie the knot you end up with a baby. Each kid wears colors similar to daddy, and carry on his personality, because it seems you aren’t allowed to have a personality in the game. You get to name him, and yes, he will always be a boy. He starts off as a toddler, and grows bigger with each passing chapter. During this time, show him things and direct him to choose a career, he has choices from things like farmer, rancher, athlete, artist, musician, and more! You can check your diary beside your bed to see how interested he is in each subject, and also how much skill he has in each field. What he becomes depends on the friends you make, the things you show him, and obviously, daddy’s hobbies. Gustafa’s son is naturally interested in art, while Marlin’s is inclined to be a farmer. Rock’s kid has ADHD, which makes him a good athlete. Don’t forget to pick him up and have some quality cuddle time early on, which can affect the mother-son relationship later on. To be blunt, he will hate you if you don’t show him some love.
This game has a lack of music, certain places have little tunes, and your farm starts off with an upbeat record on your player. If you look in your shed on the shelf, there is another on there with a more laid-back song on it. You can get more records later on, but so far, I haven’t found any more of them. You have to do certain things to get records, and there are other secrets the game hides from you as well. Although, in places absent of music, you can hear birds singing, the water from the river running, and even the wind rustling through the trees.
Don’t like your dog? You may be able to get a new pet! It is possible to get pets like a cat, lizard, or even a raccoon from your friends in the village. For example, if you befriend Romana, the old lady at the Villa, she will give you a cute little black cat at the beginning of Chapter Two. I haven’t gotten the other pets, but I have heard rumors that they are available. As for the dog, you still have to keep him, too, no matter how many pets you acquire. They will all share the same food bowl, too.
All in all, this is a great game if one is in the mood for it. Personally, I have to be in a particular mood to enjoy playing this game for any amount of time. If you are new to this game, it can give you hours of farming fun, because initially, your village seems like a big place. However, the more you play, the smaller your world becomes.
My final summary is that this is a good-looking game, but leaves some gameplay elements to be desired. It’s fun at the beginning, but can get old very fast.