Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Farm Report: Harvest Moon - 1st Spring

I've started playing a few different farming games recently. It started with Farmville 2, then WoW farming, and then I bought a Harvest Moon game (Back to Nature)to play on the train to and from work. I haven't played a Harvest Moon game since Harvest Moon 64 for the Nintendo 64 many years ago. Fortunately I still remember a bit about the games and that seems to have helped me starting off.

I made two mistakes in the first season of the game. The first was not buying seeds on my first day, since the market was closed on the second day (it's closed on Tuesdays). This set my gardening back by two days, which slowed down my ability to reinvest in my farming. The second mistake was I upgraded my axe first, which doesn't actually have any ability to improve my immediate farming ability. Getting the watering can upgraded would have simplified my watering process and upgrading the hammer would have let me clear out some more portions of my field.

I planted some cucumbers because they were a recurring crop and then invested the rest of my money into potatoes and turnips, which are cheaper, single-harvest crops. I was also able to get four patches of grass planted so that I'll be ready to start investing in animals come summer. While I didn't have many crops initially, I spent much of my time in the mine to get extra money and some items to sell. Having upgraded my axe I also made sure to go to the hills to break up stumps for lumber for future house upgrades.

I was able to get my hammer and watering can upgraded near the end of spring. Quite fortunately it rained one of the days my watering can was out for upgrades (it takes 3 days for them to upgrade an item) so my farming wasn't set behind so bad.

My plan for summer is to harvest a ton of crops and invest in animals, so I can have a sizable stable come Winter when you can't plan crops without a greenhouse/hothouse. To that end I'm setting up two animal areas, one for sheep/cows and another for chickens (their building aren't next to each other like the were in Harvest Moon 64. I also hope to start the path down romance during the summer.

I've never played this particular Harvest Moon before. This one, Back to Nature, came out for the PS1 8 months to ~1 year after Harvest Moon 64 was released. As such the two games play very similarly and seems to share many assets. I have absolutely zero problems with this since I absolutely adored Harvest Moon 64. The layout of the town and surrounding areas is completely different and your farm is laid out differently as well. Some of the game systems are slightly different, and the characters, while they look the same, play different roles in some cases and the story bits are different as well. The graphics aren't quite up to the pace of the 64 title but it's not a very big difference.

So far, though, I'm really enjoying my time playing this game. You unfortunately can't take screenshots of PS1 titles on the Vita (licensing issues I presume) so I can't provide evidence that the blacksmith greets me with "Well if it isn't Tau from the Butts farm."