Harvest Moon is a Japanese farm simulation game with an emphasis on managing your own farming business and family. The game has several entries in the series generally taking place in different towns and locations with varying storylines. The games all have great tutorials to them and help introduce new players to the mechanics quickly and seamlessly. The system and controls are pleasant to use and help the game instantly become addictive making the game a process that you can sink tons of hours into.
The Harvest Moon Franchise has been going since the Super Nintendo and even has a strong fan base around the world. The games have made their way onto just about every mainline console and their handhelds, excluding the Xbox. The games mostly make their way onto 3DS systems today, but they are great for the portable lifestyle that handhelds bring. Currently, the series is split into two parts in the states “Story of Seasons” which are mainline games and “Harvest Moon” which are games under the Harvest Moon name made by Natsume.
Most Harvest Moon games start out the same with you inheriting farmland or answering an ad to take care of a farm. Afterwards you are introduced to the town and as the in-game calendar goes by more shops/villagers move into your town. There is also an emphasis on getting married and in some games having a family. Generally, though, the game lets you choose your own adventure in a way on how you wish to live in your town. You could even just aim to win every festival within the game if you wanted to.
The gameplay for Harvest Moon is as simple or complex as you want to make it. You can choose to take care of livestock which you have to feed and take care of every day. If you prefer a little less responsibility you can choose to grow crops to ship in hordes. There is also mining, fishing, and collecting that can be done to make money in game if you would rather go a more relaxed route with it. The choice is yours on how to pay for your farm and house expansions. In some cases, you can even participate in the direct development and decoration of your town
This being said you should put heavy consideration into which game of the series you want to pick up as they all vary vastly with some of their features and can be a perfect fit for your gaming tastes if chosen correctly. Like for example if all of the farm stuff sounds cool to you, but you like action then there is Rune Factory which has fighting and RPG elements to it. If you want a game with a spanning story then A Wonderful Life is definitely your cup of tea! If you’re a fan of achievement hunting Magical Melody will be just perfect for you, since you earn notes that will free the Harvest goddess and help along the development of your town.