HARVEST MOON: ANIMAL PARADE
Harvest Moon is one of my all time favourite games. Its fun, addictive and suitable for just about everyone. This is yet another farming simulation game from developers Marvelous Entertainment and publishers Natsume and Rising Star Games. The game is only available for the Nintendo Wii. Harvest Moon usually revolves around running your own farm in a small little town with a bunch of friendly villages that you can befriend and even marry should you wish too. There are three different official release Harvest Moon games on the Wii which include Magical Melody, Tree Of Tranquility and of course this one and I would say Animal Parade is the most intriguing with more options and a little more variety in its gameplay. The story to the game is just like any Harvest Moon game and to be honest it doesn't get old with the similarities in the story.
You pick either a boy or girl as your character but note the story is the same for each. The town of Harmonica is struggling because all of the animals of the town are deciding to up and leave because the divine tree which stands in the middle of the Harvest Goddess pond is withering away. The only thing that can save the land is the Harvest King but he is nowhere to be found and time is running out. Also five bells around the island have lost their powers and need to be rung again. Your missions are to ring the five bells, find the Harvest king and revive the Goddess Tree. All of which must also be done whilst you run your own farm and live your life. Can you save the land and most importantly save the animals!
After deciding on whether you want to be a boy or girl in the game then you will be asked a few questions such as your birthday and favourite food. Answering these questions doesn't alter the game at all that much. When the game starts up you will be shown around town and you will also notice that the island is one of the biggest in a Harvest Moon game and there is far more exploring to be done than previous Harvest Moon games. You're given a small house that looks a little rundown but its a home nonetheless and then the game starts properly. There are a few people around the island that can help you and might also give you items of use. Some of the island you cannot reach until you help out a guy who is working on fixing the bridge to a new part of the island. The island is reasonably big and you can spend hours exploring it.
Around the island there are places such as the mine that you can go into to find rare materials to create items for girls or to upgrade your tools and so on. You can also visit different shops that sell different things such as tools, animals, seeds and more. Also around town are eligible women that you can marry and start a family with but that's only if you're a boy character. If you're a girl then you can find eligible males to marry and you can also get pregnant too. The game revolves around animals this time around hense the name Animal Parade and there are tons of different animals scattered around the island that you can have join your farm as long as you make them happy enough. There are animals from cats, dogs, boars, bears, rabbits, lions, elephants and many more.
When farming you will notice on your farm that there is certain places where you can grow crops but only one from the start of the game. You can grow all kinds of crops but there are 4 different seasons in the game and different crops can only grow in the right seasons. There are all kinds of crops that you can grow from tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, corn, turnips and many more. All of which can be used for cooking or you can sell them for gold to buy more seeds and earn even more money. Selling crops isn't the only way to make gold in the game because you can also sell eggs, milk or wool from chickens, cows and sheep or you can use eggs by putting them on an incubator and in time it will hatch into a chick. Milk and eggs can also be used for cooking and other needs. You can also go fishing with your fishing rod and sell the fish for gold or you can store the fish in your refrigerator and use it for cooking later. There are tons of recipes in the game and a lot of outcomes when you're cooking.
Along with growing crops you also have to water them daily which can be a pain if you have lots to water because your character has a stamina bar and if the bar empties then your character will faint. There are also tons of different tools to use but nothing really new from older Harvest Moon games. With your Wii controller you can do movements towards the Wii Sensor which can do things like cut lumber, water crops, fishing, dig and care for animals. In Harvest Moon Animal Parade you can upgrade your home and other buildings to increase the size of your farm and also you can buy plots of land so you can grow more crops. Your character has a rucksack in which he or she carries all their items and tools but there is only a limited space to store things. If you run out of space then don't threat because you can store plenty at home or you can sell all unwanted items in your shipping box in your farm.
The games time moves slightly slower than previous games but that's a good thing later in the game because you will be doing more exploring. Something new to this Harvest Moon is the added feature of clothing. You can now dress up your character to look snazzy or you can dress up to look smart its entirely up to you. You will also receive a camera in which you can take photos and hang in your home. There are still festivals in the game and these are probably part of what makes a Harvest Moon game. There is also a circus you can visit and have fun at. There really are endless possibilities in Harvest Moon Animal Parade and if you play this you will be definitely hooked on it because its a lot of fun and full of variety in the gameplay.
Harvest Moon Animal Parade is one of the better looking and better designed Harvest Moon games to date so far. Animal Parade along with Tree Of Tranquility are the two better looking games over Magical Melody on the Wii but that doesn't mean they are better. There is more character options in Animal Parade with the fact you can choose a boy or girl and dress them how you want and I do feel they look better in this Harvest Moon overall. The town and other parts of the island are probably better designed but the only real problem being there tends to involve a lot of travelling on foot to explore other areas with it being a fairly big island. Other characters look fairly good, animals both on the farm and wild animals look really good at times and also things you see around the island such as houses, trees, the beach, woods, a mine and more all look reasonably good but for a Wii game they look fantastic and this is by far one of the best graphical games on the Wii itself.
Sound effects are very similar to all the Harvest Moon games and to be fair there isn't a whole lot of difference in this one than a few previous games. Most the animals sound the same with the noises they make, the music is a little similar but probably the only real part of the sound effects that changed a whole lot and also the overall sound effects when you're watering crops, digging in the mine, fishing and all your everyday bits to running a farm sound reasonably good as always. I still think the game would benefit more if the characters actually spoke for dialog rather than you having to read every little thing that pops up but that's something to work on. Overall I was quite impressed with the sound effects and it wasn't really that much of a surprise with how good they were going to be.
DIFFICULTY & LONGEVITY
Harvest Moon Animal Parade is one of those games that can be enjoyed by the majority of gamers and it also can be enjoyed as a family game. Its very enjoyable even to just watch someone play the game but even more fun to play the game yourself. Its not at all difficult in anyway. You cannot die in the game but animals of yours can if you don't tend to their needs. They also die of old age but you can replace your animals with new animals. Growing couldn't be any easier because it tells you what crops grow in which seasons so you just basically plant them and water them, its easy. If you are struggling with the game then you can visit your home and read books about how to do everything in the game which will certainly help you out. The controls are ridiculously easy and will not cause any problems at all. Now the length of the game is very interesting indeed because Harvest Moon games have their replay value but most importantly most of the Harvest Moon games just let you carry on playing and playing and playing with no end to the game. This is no different but only if you don't do everything in the main quest such as ring all the bells, and then get the hero status and go up the mountain a second time to see the Harvest King. After doing that the main game is over but you don't have to do that for as long as you like and you can make the game last you a lifetime. I have had the game for around 6 months now and still play it quite a lot even tho the main game has pretty much ended. Overall I think the Harvest Moon games are the kind of games that can last forever!
- Running a farm whilst living your life trying to find a wife and much more.
- Take part in many different festivals, challenges and more.
- One of the best looking graphical games for the Wii and the sound effects are really good as well.
- Lots of different animals to tame and try to get as pets.
- The game is almost endless and you can just keep playing and playing over again.
- Very simple controls and a very easy game to play suitable for almost everyone.
- Not much of a story overall.
- The island seems a little too big at times with a lot of space not used in the game at all.
- Can get a little repetitive with the daily things you do but it doesn't get boring at all.
- Some of the loading screens are a little ridiculous when going into a new part of the island.
- No multiplayer but that's not surprising really.
Harvest Moon Animal Parade is definitely one of the best farming games around so far to date with tons of exploring available and tons of options available as well. Harvest Moon Animal Parade isn't just a farming game because its actually a fun adventure game with other bits mixed in. The thing I like about these type of games are the replay value. There is so much fun available and some of these Harvest Moon games never end.I'd definitely recommend this Harvest Moon to fans of the series because its enjoyable and rather fun. The game does pass the time and it is a little repetitive with the daily things you do but it doesn't seem to get old at all. Also if you're a fan of that silly Facebook game Farmville then you should seriously think about ditching that because this is much better with more options. If you miss combat in a good RPG then you might want to check out Rune Factory games which are similar to these but involve exploring dungeons and combat whilst running your own farm.
The price of the game is quite reasonable for a Wii game that's a lot of fun. I got the game a good 8 months ago and it only cost me £19.97 from Amazon. The game is a little bit dearer now on Amazon and there is chance this game could go rare one day. Its currently on Amazon for £22.97 but I still think its very much worth it. The game manual that comes with it is fantastic with colourful pictures and tons of useful information. The game also has an age rating of 3+ and is suitable for just about everyone!
I love this game series and this one is one of the best in the series. I would give Harvest Moon Animal Parade a solid 9/10!
Review also on dooyoo under the username: simon020187!