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3DS  header logo

Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns

For: 3DS

Game of two halves

Product: Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns | Developer: Marvelous Entertainment | Publisher: Rising Star Games Limited | Format: 3DS | Genre: RPG, Simulation, Strategy | Players: 1-4 | Networking: wireless (adhoc), wireless (network) | Version: Europe
Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns 3DS, thumbnail 1
The most divisive element of the Harvest Moon titles has always been their freeform structure. Sure, there are small goals to achieve throughout the entries, but predominantly you've always been left to your own devices.

This break from the video game norm of regimented missions, points totals, and other targets to aim for has understandably put some people off.

Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns is an attempt to expand the series's appeal to include a more traditional audience.

It provides plenty of direction and assistance to those left bewildered by the openness of other instalments, while still giving more adventurous players plenty of freedom to explore and interact with the game's cutesy world.

Manual labour

The story is thin, mostly relegated to background information about the two titular towns. In a nutshell, Konohana and Bluebell are two urban areas separated by a mountain.

Unfortunately they've fallen out over who produces the best food, and since they can't get on the Harvest Goddess has blocked off a tunnel that used to connect them. It's your job to reunite the towns (both literally and figuratively) by being a good farmer, talking with characters from both sides, and fulfilling Requests.

You start by choosing the village you'd like to set up your farm in. Konohana has excellent soil, which is perfect for growing crops, while in Bluebell the land is best-suited to raising livestock. 

Both types of activity are simple but require effort. You need to care for the well-being of your animals with food and attention, while crops need planting, fertilising, and watering. Whichever path you choose, you can then either ship the goods as they are or cook them to create meals that fetch more money when sold.

Bountiful crop

While you're not tending to your farm there's still plenty to be done. Talking with villagers and giving them gifts makes them happier, as does completing the Requests you'll find on the town's noticeboard. These are mainly simple fetch quests, but they're used to slowly teach you about the systems that govern the world and add meaning to your day-to-day actions.

There's much to learn, too, as you discover new tools and facilities in the game to make more money or gain access to new areas.

There's also a huge library of critters to catch on the mountain while foraging, whole books of recipes to discover, and loads more. It's daunting initially, but once you set yourself a target (or indeed, when the game does it for you) you'll want to see everything on offer.

The title is as complex and time-consuming as the rest of the series, but the overarching goal of uniting both towns adds structure to a previously structureless experience. As a result it's both rich in content and one of the most approachable and entries in the series so far.
Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 1 August 2012
It's more Harvest Moon, sure, but it's still top-notch fun, and the inclusion of clear goals this time around should convert some new fans to the series
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