I recently got my federal tax return back. After stashing some away in savings, catching up on bills and even buying a few things we needed for the house, I decided we should spend at least part of it on something we wanted rather than what we needed.
Because of this, I made a rare purchase for myself this past weekend when I bought the game Harvest Moon, Magical Melody to play on my Nintendo Wii.
This is the first time I have played any of the Harvest Moon games; though I have been interested in trying them since they first came out years ago. And, to be perfectly honest, the only reason I even bothered buying this one was I found it for just $15 and thought it was something everyone in the family could play.
The concept behind this game, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is pretty simple. You run your own farm; growing crops, raising animals, etc. In addition to that, you do your part to participate in the community, raise a family and even save a fairy that has turned into stone.
My first impression of this game when I started playing it was it reminded me a bit of the game Animal Crossing. In fact, a lot of the things on this game are very similar to that game; including the background and how you fish.
Of course, that whole thing with the fairy (which requires you to collect musical notes by completing various tasks) reminded me a bit of some of the Zelda games I used to play; especially with the long, movie-like introduction.
When I first bought this game, I will admit, I thought it was a game that I could play for a couple hours at a time and basically rot my brain with mind numbing repetition (feed the cows, water the crops, etc). But, it has proven to be a bit more challenging than I expected.
Part of this is because the instruction book is a bit vague about how to do certain things, like raising chickens (I tried to incubate an egg I bought at the store rather than buy a chicken and that didn’t work at all) and making various meals to keep your strength up. The rest of the reason is there is a lot going on that you need to keep track of and you only have so much time in a given day (especially since time flies by faster when you aren’t in your house) to devote to your farm, visit various festivals and find a wife.
Because of the above, I actually had to restart a couple different times because I ended up making uneducated decisions that set me back a bit. And, I’ll confess, there are times when I have gotten somewhat frustrated. In fact, I am wondering if my daughter will be able to play this or if it will prove to be too difficult for her.
That being said, the game is surprisingly addictive. I’m not usually a person who will sit more than an hour at a time playing a game. But, I have sat for two or three hours straight playing this one; telling myself I will save once I finished that day only to start a new day. And, unlike similar games I’ve played, I found there isn’t really any activity I like more on this game than others. One day I might fish. Another day I might head up to the mine to search for ore. And, on still another day, I might chop wood.
I also found I like the fact the game isn’t in real time (like Animal Crossing and several other games). This means, if something is scheduled to happen in a week, I don’t have to wait an actual week. I’m not a very patient person so I appreciate that.
If nothing else, I feel this is a game I will get my $15 worth out of. I’m guessing I’ll eventually get bored with it (like I normally do with video games like this). But, until then, I think I’m going to continue to have fun.