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Developer:
Marvelous Interactive
Publisher: Natsume
Platform: Gamecube
Release Date: March 28, 2006

by Jessica Rodriguez





Harvest Moon: Magical Melody, released March 28, 2006, is the newest addition to the successful farming series. Although I'm not overly familiar with this series, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience while playing Magical Melody. Like the other Harvest Moon games, you earn a living off of your character’s land. The game began by allowing the player to choose their character’s sex and month of birth. Immediately after these decisions are made, your character is “thrown” into the game.


You begin playing the game by picking one of three pieces of land on which to live. Each piece of land has its advantages as well as disadvantages. The area near the sea is large and good for raising animals. If you move near the river, you get a decent piece of land which is especially good for planting and growing crops. Both of these pieces of land are also excellent fishing locations. Finally, if you choose the piece of land in the city, you’ll be in the ideal place for socializing and shopping. These choices, along with some other choices that you make from the very beginning, might be quite influential on how your character’s life turns out in the long run.


As a fairly new player to the Harvest Moon series, I found myself a bit confused about what my goal was in the beginning. I probably should have taken the time to read the manual, but I was so eager to begin playing that I forgot all about it. I had a rough start and was initially disappointed. I wanted to buy things, but how did I get money? I wanted to plant items, so I threw some fruit onto a piece of land that I had just tilled… that turned out to be a mistake. I quickly realized that I had no idea what I was doing. So, I took to fishing. I tried to eat my raw fish, but that didn’t work out either. After a while I realized that I could either cook the fish on a fire, I could give the fish away and make new friends, or I could put the fish into a box in the front of my house and get money. I was finally on my way to hours of fun and exploring! However, I would have liked a little more guidance for new players, such as myself.


After exploring, I found many stores with essential items, many people and animals in the village to befriend, caves and mountains to explore, new items to discover, and much more. I believe that much of the entertainment that this game has to offer comes from exploration, and potentially discovering all of the things that the game has to offer. Harvest Moon was able to create a nice balance between the time spent making your character successful, and the time spent just “messing around.” Much of the day is consumed by planting/growing crops, tending to animals, and working on making friends. However, at the end of the “work day” there is still time to just have some fun. This kept the game from becoming monotonous, while at the same time allowing the player to feel as though they were accomplishing something.


The graphics of this game were very much what I expected. Although they were very simplistic, they were quite successful in delivering exactly what the game was meant to portray. I especially enjoyed the facial expressions of my character, which were uncomplicated. Yet, when my character was feeling an emotion, it was very apparent what she was feeling. The sound of the game was also quite interesting, particularly when animals were involved. The game was fairly accurate in making the animals sound authentic, and I also appreciated the fact that each character seemed to have their own “voice.”


Overall, I thought this game was fantastic. It kept me entertained for many hours, and it is a game that I am sure I will revisit many times. I am eagerly anticipating any new additions that there might be to Harvest Moon series!


Final Grade: 85%


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