Review of Harvest Moon: Light of Hope

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Harvest Moon: Light of Hope is technically not a Harvest Moon game. The team responsible for producing the classic Harvest Moon games of yore is currently releasing titles under the Story of Seasons banner. Natsume, the publisher who holds the rights to the Harvest Moon name, has meanwhile decided to continue the franchise by hiring lesser skilled developers to make new sequels. The situation reminds me of the time when Eidos and Sports Interactive parted ways. After the split, developer Sports Interactive lost ownership of the Championship Manager brand. This forced them to release new games under the guise of Football Manager. Eidos went off to make Championship Manager games in house and ultimately run the series into the ground.

OVERVIEW

When I say that Harvest Moon is now in the hands of less talented developers I am not kidding. Just look at this game’s graphics. The characters may look cute, but there is no disputing that these visuals are below the standard one would expect from a PS4 release. In particular the low-res buildings look especially bad on a big screen. Gameplay wise things aren’t much better. The farming on offer hasn’t advanced much from the rather basic Harvest Moon GBA game I enjoyed many moons ago. In order to grow crops one simply needs to plant seeds and water the soil on a daily basis. Fertilizer is only required if you elect to grow something out of season. Seems easy enough. I wonder why Zimbabwe had so much trouble with farming when Mugabe kicked out all of the white farmers.

Still, who cares about farming? In this game I didn’t find agriculture to be particularly profitable. Rather than sell produce I just gifted my veggies to the local townsfolk or cooked them into stamina replenishing meals. If you seek riches I would recommend foraging for seashells at the beach. Those things sell for a surprisingly high price. I also hear that mining for ore can be lucrative, although that venture requires some investment. To crack open the rocks that house gems one needs to first upgrade their trusty hammer. Later in the game you can also trade eggs, wool and milk by populating your barn with livestock. I like how you can name the animals you buy. My cow, lamb and chicken were christened Mooris, Baary and Hen-Tai.

VERDICT

My rating for Harvest Moon: Light of Hope is a three out of five. The game is inferior to rivals Stardew Valley and Story of Seasons in terms of content. Without too much trouble I was able to complete the four-chapter story within a couple of in-game months. Despite its faults I must however say that I appreciate the relaxing experience it offers. Rather than start the morning with fifteen minutes of meditation, I can instead turn off my brain by doing chores for quarter of an hour on Harvest Moon’s virtual island. Even if I have already saved the land, by repairing the isle’s mystical lighthouse, I still intend to continue playing the game for the foreseeable future in short bursts. There are plenty of trophies yet to earn and a mailbox worth of villager requests to complete.

Other activities I can look forward to are the monthly festivals. These events allow the player to partake in various mini-games, which include fishing contests and dog races. Thus far my pooch has managed to scoop the top prize, but I have fared less well in the angling tournaments. Most important of all I cannot conclude my Harvest Moon adventure without first getting hitched. From the five available bachelorettes I have my eyes set on the bespectacled doctor. She may not be the most attractive of the bunch, but she won my heart during the tutorial by generously gifting me tons of free cabbage seeds. When it comes to romance the ladies don’t have to do much to make me swoon. I’ll settle for any girl, providing that she doesn’t carry much emotional cabbage… um baggage.

21 thoughts on “Review of Harvest Moon: Light of Hope

  1. I have to admit I’ve only ever played Harvest Moon 64, which a lot of people consider the best in the series. If what you’re saying about this one is true, then it looks like the students surpassed the master.

    • I don’t have much experience with Harvest Moon either. Previously I have played a HM game on GBA and Gamecube. I liked the handheld game, but didn’t finish the Gamecube one as it was very slow paced. When it comes to farming I prefer titles were the days pass by in a few minutes, as the main appeal is seeing my tools upgrade and friendship levels increase.

  2. This is the first time I’ve heard of Harvest Moon, it kind of sounds like Farmville. From what I’m seeing here, it might be for the best because I’m getting the impression that this series’ glory days are well and truly dead.

    • Farmville and other games in the genre owe their success to Harvest Moon, as the first game in the series came out back in the nineties. Many fans of the franchise will agree with you that Harvest Moon is on the decline. The impression I get is that Stardew Valley has overtaken Harvest Moon, as the king of farming video games.

  3. I preordered Little Dragons Cafe because it was by the creator of Harvest Moon, but the mixed reviews made me cancel it. Sounds like both Harvest Moon’s spiritual successors and named games need to be improved on right now.

    • Little Dragons Cafe looks cute, but I hear that the controls and visuals could use some polish. From what I have read the game is more focused on telling story than managing a profitable cafe/farm. I don’t think the game even has money to worry about.

  4. Hello The Otaku Judge,

    Thank you for sharing your review of this game, and some advice for when playing the game.

    I never played a Harvest Moon video game as far as I know, but some of my brothers have played one or more of the Harvest Moon games in the past (I think that they liked the first one that they played).

    -John Jr

    • Farming games aren’t for everyone, but they can be relaxing to play. Some other tips I can offer for this title is to rebuild the flower shop and restaurant as soon as possible. Selling flowers and veg/fish to those places gives you more money than placing them in the shipment box.

      • Hello The Otaku Judge,

        Thanks for the advice.

        I think that I could probably like a farming game like this.

        I liked the settlement system in Fallout 4, even with its flaws, and in Fable 2 I liked buying all the properties and businesses and making money off of them and upgrading them et cetera.

        Thank you for responding,
        -John Jr

  5. May I say it’s great to see a post from you again? Missed seeing these 😊😊 I haven’t played these, but I know there are a lot of people who really enjoy this series (a friend of mine has it on his phone and can’t even stop playing it at workπŸ˜‚). Not my kind of game though, have to be honest. But as always: great post! 😊

    • I think this game would work better on mobile than console. The graphics aren’t state of the art and shortish days make it ideal to play in short bursts (or at work haha.) Thank you for the kind words. I try to post new content every week, but I was feeling lazy so this time there was an eleven day gap between reviews.

      • Haha..no worries, as you may have noticed I haven’t had much content out the past few weeks either, but hopefully that will change in September 😊😊

  6. Sorry to hear it isn’t what it used to be. I remember Harvest Moon once being heralded as the best Sim game series not invented by Will Wright. To this day the Super NES, N64, Gamecube, and PS1 iterations are quite collectible.

    • Harvest Moon isn’t the first franchise that suffers a dip in quality when a new developer takes over. I still think this game is okay for casual players though. Those who want a farming sim with more content can check out Stardew Valley instead.

  7. Hahahahaha….. a chicken named Hen-Tai πŸ˜€ I love it πŸ˜€
    The Harvest Moon game for Nintendo DS was a lot of fun, sorry to hear this one isn’t as good as it πŸ˜€ In saying that however, this game still sounds fun, but I’m not sure if it would be as enjoyable to play on a console like PS4. I prefer shooting and fighting on PS and Xbox hehe πŸ˜€
    Great review πŸ™‚ I really enjoyed reading it πŸ˜€

    • I’m glad that you approve of my animal names haha. The idea was inspired by a fellow blogger named Denny Sinnoh, who likes to use puns when naming his Pokemon collection. Unfortunately the Harvest Moon game on DS passed me by and I won’t be able to play it now because both my DS and 3DS have since broken. I agree that the Harvest Moon games feel more at home on a handheld than console.

  8. Pingback: August 2018 in Summary: The Zelda Retrospective is Complete! | Extra Life

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