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In Brief: Harvest Moon: Pocket Ranch

click here to go to the developer’s website

This is technically not part of a series of articles I’m doing that covers the entire Harvest Moon franchise, but you can still read what I’ve covered over here.

I keep meaning to add to my Harvest Moon coverage, but the next game I want to talk about is Rune Factory Frontier, and that game is a serious time sink.  I’ve played 60 hours and am only in my first fall.  Each in-day game takes me an hour of real time, and of course I need to be able to play about a week in one sitting to make progress.  It’s an ugly cycle, but RFF is worth it.

That game is old news to Harvest Moon fans at this point.  Brand spanking new, however, and completely unexpected, is Harvest Moon: Pocket Ranch, available for iOS devices.  Ushi no Tane was the site that broke the news and provided the links where Harvest Moon fans can get in on the beta version.

I suspect this is the US adaptation to the recent Japanese release Minna de Bokumono, an online Harvest Moon game that is browser-based.  The two aren’t very similar, at least at this stage in Pocket Ranch’s development, so maybe this is an independent game and there’s still a chance of the browser-based version coming out here.  Minna de Bokumono seems to be driven largely by farm-based quests assigned by the Harvest Goddess and carried out by a team of harvest sprites in a large island farm, whereas Pocket Ranch is more about maintaining your little plot of land by your lonesome with your harvest sprite avatar and occasionally getting a little help from your friends.

… continue reading this entry.

REVIEW: Puzzle de Harvest Moon

this article is part of an ongoing series examining the entire Harvest Moon franchise. see the main article and index here.


I always assumed this was part of the 10th Anniversary reboots that included Rune Factory and Innocent Life.  It’s entirely unlike any other Harvest Moon game, using a Harvest Moon skin for a puzzle game that I’m told is similar to Panel de Pon.

QUICK FACT: Bears almost no resemblance to a Harvest Moon game, save for the fact that you do farm as part of the puzzle and you play against Harvest Moon characters.
QUICK FACT: The only Harvest Moon that is a North American exclusive.
QUICK FACT: It’s terrible.

GAME LENGTH:  There’s no story mode.  There is a multiplayer mode for wireless versus play with a friend, and a single player mode with four styles of play.  You can play and beat all the characters offered (12) and you can play 4 minute, 6 minute, or 8 minute modes.

… continue reading this entry.

REVIEW: AlphaBounce

(as a digital release, it’s got no cover, so here’s one of the puzzles instead)

You know, sometimes I cruise through the DSiWare store looking for a game to buy. Something. ANYTHING. The store is not laid out in a way that is very conducive to browsing, and past knowing that the ArtStyle games are supposedly good, advertising has failed DSiWare, and I know nothing about it.

After downloading this game, everytime I browse the store, I realize that it’s this game that I want, and I just quit out and play it. It’s everything I am looking for in a DSiWare game: something I can play in short sessions, easy to grasp the hardest parts of, easy to play, deceptively long to finish, and above all, a Breakout clone.

… continue reading this entry.

REVIEW: BS Bokujou Monogatari

this article is part of an ongoing series examining the entire Harvest Moon franchise. see the main article and index here.

So.  Japan had Super Famicom, and they also had a satellite radio company called St.GIGA.  If you had a subscription to St.GIGA, a tuner for the service, and an attachment for your Super Famicom called a Satellaview, you could play “gaiden” versions of your favorite games at certain times of day on certain dates.

Reading through the requirements, this Satellaview game service sounds pretty ridiculous, and at its peak, only served around 100,000 people.  But many popular SNES/Super Famicom games had little gaiden episodes on the service, and Harvest Moon was among them.

QUICK FACT: This isn’t a new game, just challenges using the game structure and pieces of the first Bokujou Monogatari
QUICK FACT: I don’t know a goddamn thing about the BS Harvest Moon, but am going to talk about it anyway.

GAME LENGTH: There are four episodes that were each allotted a 50-minute broadcast time, plus one rerun. They are unavailable to play outside the broadcast time.

… continue reading this entry.

REVIEW: Harvest Moon GB/GBC

this article is part of an ongoing series examining the entire Harvest Moon franchise. see the main article and index here.

This is probably the most basic of all the Harvest Moon games, since it’s all the farming with none of the socializing or marrying. Its simplicity also puts it near the top of my own personal Harvest Moon list, since it’s so easy to pick up and play.

I hope you love to farm.

QUICK FACT: This is the only Harvest Moon game that lets you farm in winter.
QUICK FACT: This is also the only game that has all the social elements stripped out. You can’t even make friends.

GAME LENGTH: Grandpa evaluates you at the end of the year, but the game goes on infinitely. You won’t want to play for longer than two years, however, since most of the goals and items can be obtained in one year, and the second is used for the last few items and reaping the benefits of everything.  You can play for longer, to get the end-of-the year items (there are three total, and you can’t obtain one in your first year of play), but you probably won’t want to.  With no social elements, playing for longer than that leaves you with nothing to do except earn more money than the game can keep track of. There’s a lot of replay value, though, since getting the “Master” status from grandpa in two year takes a lot of work and planning.

GB/GBC Differences: Literally, the only difference between these two versions is that the GBC was optimized for Game Boy Color and the Super Game Boy attachment for the SNES (you could play with a cute frame on your TV). There aren’t any of the usual version differences, like different people/crops/events, they are exactly the same game.

… continue reading this entry.

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