Natsume recently released Harvest Moon Cute for the Nintendo DS on March 25, 2008. Many gamers may have decided to pass on this title, especially considering that Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness is expected to be released in June 2008. The thing is, Harvest Moon Cute is really a nifty farming game, and the most polished, portable Harvest Moon to date.
If anything, Harvest Moon Cute should really be considered Harvest Moon DS 2.0. It’s no secret that Harvest Moon DS, released September 2006, caused quite a bit of heartache and frustration for fans of farming sims. It was riddled with glitches and inconsistencies and the legendary “corrupted save” glitch kept many loyal fans away.
Thankfully, Natsume learned from its mistakes and Harvest Moon Cute is a solid game. Gamers just need to give it a chance. In case you’re still on the fence about purchasing it, take a look at seven reasons why Harvest Moon Cute is worth $29.99.
1: Harvest Moon Cute has
no glitches fewer glitches.
The original Harvest Moon DS was plagued by glitches. Save files would randomly become corrupted, the game would freeze for no reason, Items required to marry the Harvest Goddess were missing, and it was impossible to marry the Witch Princess. Animals freeze or get stuck. The game freezes. There were so many glitches that the Wikipedia entry on Harvest Moon DS created by users has a section devoted to describing glitches (appearing as of April 9, 2008). I personally experienced quite a few glitches while mining, where the game would randomly freeze when I’d break some rocks or drop to a lower floor.
Harvest Moon Cute fixes almost all of the glitches. If you look online, you’ll see far fewer complaints or reports of errors. Also the translation is a bit better, and there are fewer typos in game dialogue. Some people have reported relatively minor typos and an occasional glitch at Gamefaqs, but nothing as horrendous as a corrupted save.
2: You can play as a girl.
The most obvious change in Harvest Moon Cute is the lead character. After a quick opening quiz, players are assigned a blond “Claire” Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town avatar or a brunette “Jill” Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life avatar. Of course the two characters are identical. You won’t get certain stat boosts from being blond or brunette.
This also means that you try to hook up with the men of Forget Me Not Valley and, if you have one of the two versions of the Friends of Mineral Town in the GBA slot, Mineral Town. Seriously – go for a Mineral Town man. Something’s wrong with the water in Forget Me Not Valley, because most of the men there are ugly. Your husband doesn’t do any actual work on the farm, so go for some eye candy.
3: There’s sort-of a “Best Friends System” included
One of the most discussed, and somewhat controversial, concepts in Harvest Moon Cute is the “Best Friends System.” In the Japanese version, users could become “best friends” with the four special Harvest Moon DS bachelorettes – the Witch Princess, the Harvest Goddess, princess Keria and Leia the mermaid. There were heart events for each of the characters, and the blue feather could be used to “propose” friendship. That character would then move into the main character’s farm. Eventually the best friend would also find a random baby, which the two characters could raise.
The system is sort-of still included in the North American version of the game. Reports from GameFAQs forums and Ushi no Tane forums state that the heart events with the special bachelorettes are still included in the game, but that the game has been altered so the proposals will never be accepted. So you can kind of become “best friends” in spirit with the special bachelorettes. Knowing the creative nature of Action Replay DS code creators, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear about one of them making a code to reinstate the system.
4: Skye the Phantom Thief appears.
This new character in Harvest Moon Cute is a special bachelor who was created exclusively for the game. Sure, Skye the Phantom Thief looks a bit feminine, has cheesy lines and is probably the least menacing thief I’ve ever seen. He isn’t really that successful when it comes to stealing in Forget Me Not Valley either. That isn’t to say that he isn’t a valuable and welcome addition to the game though.
Let’s be frank – the men of Forget Me Not Valley are, by and large, grotesque. They’re freaks of nature, Rock and Marlin excluded. Plus some of them look really old. It looks like there’s at least a 10 year age gap between the lead girl and both Carter and Griffin. Skye might be a bit unconventional, but at least he’s cute. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the people playing are wooing Skye. I know I am.
5: You can marry Mineral Town people and not have your game end.
In Harvest Moon DS, there was a downside to marrying one of the Mineral Town bachelorettes. Your game would end, because apparently your character would have to “move” to Mineral Town with his new wife. Since one of the joys of Harvest Moon is the ability to keep playing forever, it was a serious let down.
In Harvest Moon Cute the men come to you. If you decide that a Mineral Town man is the one you want, then go ahead and woo him without fear. After you propose, he’ll pack up everything and come to live with you.
6: There are new home and clothing options.
Two new customization options are available in Harvest Moon Cute. May, the little girl from Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town, now works as a decorator. (I guess there are no child labor laws in Mineral Town.) The player can call May and purchase new outfits and change the appearance of the house. As you become a more accomplished farmer, more outfits and design options become available.
This doesn’t really impact the game in any way. Bachelors and townspeople aren’t going to have favorite outfits or colors. Its just a little extra included to try and make the game more visually appearing. Plus, I hesitate to say this, it’s cute. Perhaps that’s where the “cute” in the title comes in.
7: The GameStop listing still says “Harvest Moon DS Cute with bonus!”
People who preordered Harvest Moon Cute from GameStop/EB Games also received a stuffed black cat that looked identical to the pet cat in the game. Now, the preorder period is undoubtedly over, but the listing is still showing “with bonus.” This could mean that you might still get a stuffed kitty cat if you buy the game from GameStop.
Plus if you happened to preorder Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town (I know I did), then the stuffed puppy preorder promotion you already own can have a new friend! You know you want a complete set of Harvest Moon pets, and getting Harvest Moon Cute is the only way to do it. Okay, you could stalk eBay, but getting the game is easier.