Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Harvest Moon - Skytree Village (Nintendo 3DS)


We were so excited when the opportunity came up to review the latest version of one of our favourite games - Harvest Moon: Skytree Village for Nintendo 3DS! We have reviewed Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley 2 years ago, and although it's a bit different than the previous versions, with the additional feature where you can change the landscape, we love it just as much, and we even completed the game!

Although the gameplay for Harvest Moon: Skytree Village is very similar to Harvest Moon: The Lost Village, there is a certain number of differences that make the game just as fun and worth playing like all the previous Harvest Moon games. Me and Abby had to fight over the new Nintendo 3DS to play!

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Natsume and Rising Star Games' Harvest Moon: Skytree Village for Nintendo 3DS (RRP £29.99, pegi 3, available on Nintendo EShop, in stores and online) is a single-player farm simulation role-playing video game and part of the Harvest Moon franchise, where players play as a new farmer in a village, and help the Harvest Goddess in a certain task by taking on farming and living the country life.


Character Creation and Story:

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

In Harvest Moon: Skytree Village, players has a choice of playing a male or a female character, choosing their birth date, as well as naming them.

The character stumbled across a barren village, which has been abandoned by its villagers. After meeting the Harvest Goddess, the character will offer to help her restore the Skytree Village, and make it lush and beautiful again.


Save/ Load Data:

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

2 data slots will be available to save the game. Players will have to manually save the game through their game menu. As you can play as a boy or a girl, the 2 slots will be quite useful if you want to experience both lives (outfit and people of interest will be different). For me and Abby, as usual, we use a slot each to play our game, saving gingerly so that we won't overwrite each other's game!


Map Expansion and Villagers Attraction:

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game


To help the Harvest Goddess, players' goal is to make Skytree Village beautiful again and attract new villagers to live there. To do so, players will start with Farming, and then other things to bring back the power of the Goddess.


Unlike The Lost Valley, Skytree Village's map is not completely open for players to explore at the beginning. The Harvest Goddess' power can only spread further when the Skytree in that area is unlocked. It kind of keep the players focus on the tasks on hand, which is good as I remember I spent a lot of time exploring and rebuilding the land in The Lost Valley, which has distracted me from my "duty".


1. Farming:

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

From tilling the land, planting seeds, watering, fertilising and harvesting, the game covered them all (it is a farm simulation game after all, although I'm sure it's still easier than doing it in real life!). The good news is that players can do multiple plots together, and with upgradeable tools, more jobs will become quicker to complete.


2. Trading:

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Players will be given seeds at the beginning to help them get started, but later on they can use the money they earned from selling their produce to merchants to buy new seeds.

A wandering merchant will also be selling fertilisers, composts and other useful things at a comparatively expensive price, which players will be able to make themselves later on, as well as rearing animals for produce.


A thing worth mentioning is that the developers has a created a separate village map where visitors will settle and set up shop and residency, which makes a lot more sense than in The Lost Valley where traders will wander outside your house.


2. Animal Rearing:

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Players will unlock animal rearing, allowing them to buy (and sell) animals for produce, such as milk and eggs. Players will of course have to look after their animals by keeping them and their accommodation clean, feeding them and making them happy. The better they are looked after, the higher the quality of the produce they will give you.


Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Animals can also learn a trait/ skill that will make them easier to look after in some way. This trait can then pass on to their babies (you can create animal babies through giving them a certain potion). You don't have to create babies as you can buy baby animals, but they will have to be trained afresh to get a skill.


3. Other Jobs/ Fun Things to Do:

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

There is more to do than just farming for crops and animal produce of course. Players will be able to fish, cook, chop wood and mine ores, as well as changing the landscape by digging and filling the land. The materials gathered through all these trades will help players complete requests as well, sometimes for the story to keep going, or even to unlock new items or skills.

Although certain things are required to help with the story, players are flexible to choose what they want to focus on doing, after all, you only have so much time a day to do things, and you do want to have fun and play the game how you want to.


4. Requests:

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

In Harvest Moon games, players can make friends with the villagers. The more they socialise, the higher their friendship level is. By completing their requests, the friendship level will go up a bit more than just chatting with them daily.

Sooner or later, a great relationship with the opposite sex could lead to building a lovely family too!

Completing requests is also a great way to help you decide what things you might want to do next, such as which crop to grow next.


Your House:

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

I actually find it a bit hard to keep track of what I need to do for requests (you don't really have to take on a lot at the same time of course), and find myself constantly checking my quest log, as well as trying not to sell the produce I was suppose to gather for someone!

This is when I will go home (apart from sleeping to regain my character's strength) and put things away in either the drawer and/ or fridge, so that I won't sell them! You can store them for other reasons as well of course.

Your home is also the place where you will do all the cooking, change into different outfits, and feed your cute dog, which will becomes a very useful helper later on in the game!


Every Little Helps:

There is a lot to do in Skytree Village but time is limited (you do need to sleep at night or it'll affect your strength next day), so any help players can find will give them more time to do other things.

1. Skytrees and Harvest Sprites:

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

By doing certain requests, players will gradually unlock Skytrees and its surrounding area, as well as waking the Harvest Goddess' adorable Harvest Sprites.

Each Harvest Sprite will help players in different areas (fertilise crops, for example), so the more you wake up, the more things they can help with. It's also very cute to see them "working" on your farm!


2. Horse:

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Although your horse lives in the barn with other farm animals, and you look after it the same way you look after them, the main purpose of your horse is to help you go to places faster. You can also enter a horse riding competition with it too.


3. Pet Dog:

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Like real life puppies, your pet dog won't be doing much apart from wondering inside your house and eat at the beginning. But after it grew and you became best buddies, it will start helping you in the farm!


Others:

1. Levelling Ranks

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

I think this is like an achievement, where players will unlock them by doing certain number of things.


2. Festivals and Competitions:

I haven't attended any competitions in Skytree Village yet as I found myself missing the entering time every time there is one! There is a Harvest Festival coming up in my game though and I am hoping that I can make it this time!


3. Wild Animals:

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

If you pet a wild animal every time you see them, they will start to appear daily on your farm. In one of the Harvest Moon game I used to play, the befriended wild animals will give you something every day, I haven't seen anything different yet from my bunny, but she's so cute it's nice just to see her hanging around the farm!


4. Graphics and Sound:

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

Harvest Moon Skytree Village, Nintendo 3DS, farm simulation game

The graphics for Harvest Moon: Skytree Village is as cute and colourful as ever, but I did notice that the characters, except the Harvest Sprites, has a more grown up look. It's not affecting anything for us though, they are cute in a different way. The familiar Harvest Moon theme tune is very welcoming too.


Overall, we enjoyed Harvest Moon: Skytree Village as much as we did with the other Harvest Moon games. Abby even completed the Harvest Goddess' request and have seen the credits scrolling past! But that's not the end of the game though as she can continue helping villagers out and try to make her own family in the game.

I think the villagers, animals and items information can do with a better proof reading, as Abby has found some of them incorrect, But other than that we are very happy with the game.


We will no doubt continue playing Skytree Village over the Summer Holidays, while looking forward to Harvest Moon: Light of Hope for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and for the first time ever, for PC!