Immersing yourself in a video game is a very unique experience. There are numerous titles right now that you can play anytime and anywhere using a handheld device. Games such as Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley make you spend hours playing the game in a very fun way. Another one of these titles is the new Harvest Moon Game entitled One World.
In this review, we will take a look at this new Harvest Moon game and see if it’s something you’d want to put hours into.
What is Harvest Moon: One World?
Harvest Moon: One World is a new Harvest Moon game created by Natsume. The game was created for the Nintendo Switch and the PS4 and is the fifth game created solely by Natsume.
The Difference Between Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons
Before we begin, we need to talk about the differences between Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons. A long time ago, both of these IPs used to be just one, and there were a lot of fans that enjoyed the series. The original series was called Story of Seasons, known as Bokujō Monogatari in Japan. The games were created by Victor Interactive Software, now called Marvelous Inc. However, they changed the name to Harvest Moon when it was localized to the West to better appeal to the audience. The ones that oversaw the English translation of the games were Natsume, which continued to do so until 2013.
When 2014 rolled around, however, Marvelous Inc. decided that the latest installment of the Bokujō Monogatari series would be localized by their US publishing brand Xseed Games. Thanks to this, they localized the title into Story of Seasons.
However, the original localizer, Natsume, kept the name Harvest Moon as compensation, and that’s where our story begins today.
Harvest Moon: One World Review
Let us now take a look at what the new Harvest Moon game has to offer.
Story and World
Harvest Moon: One World tells the story of the disappearance of the Harvest Goddess. Due to her disappearance, the land was left with fewer crops than it used to enjoy before limited to cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes. However, the Harvest Goddess managed to imbue tiny Harvest Wisps all around the world with the knowledge of various types of seeds before her mysterious disappearance. Due to this, it ensures that a variety of fruits and vegetables that are available to the world wouldn’t be gone forever; they only need to be found again. Thus, your farmer begins your quest: roam and travel the world, collect seeds from the various Harvest Wisps, and plant them.
After getting the seeds from the Harvest Wisps, you can now choose to eat them, sell them, gift them to various bachelors and bachelorettes, et cetera. Eventually, you will be asked to help revive the Harvest Goddess.
Lack of Character Definition
This isn’t like the other Harvest Moon games where the player proceeds to get to know an entire town of various districts and some personable neighbors. Now it’s not that bad. There are a few developed characters in the game even outside of the pretty great roster of Bachelors and Bachelorettes. Usually, it’s just those individuals, and only one other named character in each of the five areas. Most of the game’s cast is just made up of individuals that look incredibly similar. The names don’t even inspire individuality either, with names like Thoughtful Woman, or Awkward Man, with their personality traits being very apparent in their names.
Farming simulators have a similar type of gameplay. After all, the only thing you need to do is just plant seeds, look for more seeds to plant, and sell the crops that grow for money. However, making farms all over the world would, of course, take time and resources. Luckily for your farmer, it’s a good thing that you have a magical Expando-Farm. This Expando-Farm allows the player to place down a farm on an available empty field wherever the game takes you.
This Expando-Farm has a barn, a small field for your various crops, and lastly, a home with a bed to rest in. and bring it with you to go as you traverse the globe. In total, the player needs to explore five unique areas, with unique individuals, new challenges, and some exotic animals like camels, tigers, reindeer, and bears to tame. And like what we said, Harvest sprites can also be found so that the player can unlock additional crops to plant.
Now don’t get us wrong, somewhere in the new Harvest Moon game there’s a pretty interesting idea that Natsume has for the farming sim. That kind of new idea would, of course, be much appreciated after 25 years of stagnation. In the right hands and developers, this idea of turning a farming simulator series into a newer, exploration-focused, plot-driven adventure game sounds like a brilliant one. Don’t get us wrong about that.
However, the game, or more accurately the developers, unfortunately fails in a lot of ways to be interesting or innovative with this idea. They only managed to layer it atop another mediocre farming sim.
One World doesn’t have the player inherit an old farm that’s located in a dying village. They don’t have the player spend years rebuilding said farm and village, learn about their neighbors and settle down. Unlike the lord knows how many Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons’ predecessors and competitors that released all these years. Instead, as we’ve already mentioned, the player’s given a portable farm by their scientist neighbor.
As for how they’re given that? They just turn up on your front doorstep and proceeds to say “Here’s a portable farm, have at it.” Ten minutes into the game, you immediately go on an adventure that takes you all around the world. You go through five unique towns, each with its unique hazards, climates, and specific problems. You’ll establish your porta-farm near one of these towns for a season or two, mop up the sidequests, collect the collectibles, and finish the local plot in the town in question. After that, you then move on.
Graphics, Sound, and Glitches
However, even after all that we’ve described, its world is still boring in a lot of ways, especially graphics-wise. A lot of the game looks incredibly bland except for a few of the named character models. The game’s various towns look empty, dull, and usually just have a couple of identical houses each. Beyond that, the areas located in between them are usually just long and same-ish paths. Everything else looks flat and simple. The game looks like it has no detail nor personality. The game usually looks like a long stretch of space with some trees thrown in if you’re lucky to see them.
There are also some instances when the game doesn’t work correctly. The game’s sound has frequent sputters when the players move from the game’s various areas. The objects and characters tend to appear and disappear from your view. There are times when this is on purpose due to their respective schedules. However, sometimes there’s a case when they just straight-up vanish due to not loading in fast enough. This is also very apparent when the player is riding their horse. Now we don’t like to call anything having “X-era graphics.” However, the previous versions of Harvest Moon such as the GameCube version were more detailed and better looking compared to Harvest Moon: One World.
The Marriage System
As we’ve mentioned, the Bachelors and Bachelorettes in the game have a few more things going for them in terms of personality and looks. However, if you look at them more closely, they’re still pretty much coming out of it looking the same in the end. Every single one of them care about their hometowns. They want you to save their town and think that the main character looks cool, handsome, pretty, et cetera. For the most part, the various Bachelors and Bachelorettes are usually distinguished due to their looks and where their hometown is.
This eventually leads us to the fact that you can marry the Bachelor or Bachelorette of your choice. However, marrying someone is pretty much something inconsequential and almost feels like a mere afterthought. It’s like something they added into the game so you have additional content. Also, you can’t get married until you finish the game’s main plot, which is an incredibly annoying thing to do.
Other than that, you also can’t marry the same gender, which might piss off some people. You have a choice between five bachelors and five bachelorettes. In addition to the main five, a single Bachelor, Shogen, and a Bachelorette, Sana, were included through a DLC. Now don’t get us wrong, they look good for their game. But as we’ve already said before, they’re pretty much similar in what they want and usually have very shallow motivations. All that, combined with everything else, will sour the enjoyment some players will have with this game.
Is the New Harvest Moon Game a Must-Play?
If you’re a big Harvest Moon fan, then there’s a chance that you probably want to play Harvest Moon: One World. That is if you can still go for it even after the glitches, bugs, and lackluster content. The game has some pretty neat ideas to it and might have been great. However, the amount of graphical bugs and glitches and the lacking amount of content hampers the game severely.
Comparing One World to Similar Games
It also doesn’t help that Harvest Moon: One World is already but one of the many games of its genre available to players. Here are some games that are comparable, or even surpass the new Harvest Moon game.
Overall, Stardew Valley is one of the bigger rivals of Harvest Moon: One World. It has better gameplay and overall looks better in terms of graphics. It’s pretty much a prettier-looking version of Harvest Moon: One World, and you can say that with the other entries on this list. What Stardew Valley has over this game, however, is the fact that the game’s gameplay, as well as graphics, are incredibly consistent and don’t have any overt glitches.
Stardew Valley is incredibly well put together, and you can’t find that many flaws in terms of its gameplay or graphics. The game has some pretty cool areas as well, with mountains, caves, and a whole lot more. The last thing that helps its case, however, is the fact that you can play it ANYWHERE, from your PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, to even your smartphone. So long as you have the space for it, you can play Stardew Valley. It doesn’t hurt that in terms of art style the game looks incredibly similar to Terraria, which might be a coincidence.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Let’s look at the more mainstream games and talk about Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Animal Crossing isn’t exactly a farming simulator. After all, it’s a life simulator, which is very far from Harvest Moon’s farming simulator. What they’re similar in, however, is their overall gameplay. You pretty much do the same thing on both games, the only difference is the fact that Harvest Moon puts more emphasis on farming while Animal Crossing adds a life simulator, territory management, plus a couple more genres to its gameplay.
If you’re looking for a diverse gameplay experience, you might go for Animal Crossing: New Horizons instead of Harvest Moon: One World. New Horizons is the kind of game you won’t get tired of playing if you enjoy it. Overall, the game is about collecting collectibles from bugs and fish, decorating your island paradise, and exploring it. You have the freedom to do the things you want on your terms. The graphics are great, and the fact that there’s a pretty robust and relaxing multiplayer element to it helps. After making your dope island town, you can invite your friends to check it out. You can set the rules, add new landmarks and other buildings when you get them to improve them.
You can do a lot of cool stuff in Animal Crossing as well even if it’s just a relaxing game. Furthermore, you can also invite your whole batch for your graduation as an example, which was done months ago when the pandemic happened due to the quarantine. You can probably do a lot of stuff in Animal Crossing: New Horizon, unlike Harvest Moon: One World if you have the know-how.
For those that want Harvest Moon gameplay with some additional spice, you might want to test out Kynseed. It’s pretty much the same as Harvest Moon, but the game does go a step further from the usual farming simulator. It has elements of your usual RPG with the added spice of exploration and crafting. You can explore dangerous areas, get cool loot, and fight against monstrous creatures that add additional spice to the gameplay.
You have a legacy in the game as well, that grows by developing your family, fostering relationships with nearby villagers, and a whole lot more. In addition to that, there’s a whole lot of items that you can create on Kynseed, from weapons and building materials to beer. If you’re looking for a good substitute for Harvest Moon: One World, you might want to try out Kynseed.
Story of Seasons Series
The Story of Seasons series, which we’ve already talked about above, is pretty much the successor to the Harvest Moon series. Overall, Story of Seasons is the refined version of the older Harvest Moon games. If you’re a fan of the previous Harvest Moon games, the Story of Seasons series is worth checking out.
For Story of Seasons fans, you should probably wait until the 23rd of March, which is the release date of Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town. If you’re looking for a great Harvest Moon alternative, then you might want to try this out. There’s no better alternative than the original, no?