Harvest Moon Magical Melody

Key events

Harvest Moon dev announces Project Happiness

Harvest Moon dev announces Project Happiness

"Will warm the hearts of gamers both young and old."

The creator of farming sim series Harvest Moon has announced a new game, currently code-named Project Happiness.

Yasuhiro Wada, the father of the long-running Harvest Moon franchise, is developing the title at his new studio, Toybox.

Harvest Moon developer Natsume is also working on the game, with regular Western publisher Rising Star Games also on board.

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Harvest Moon: Magical Melody

Harvest Moon: Magical Melody is a port of a two-year-old GameCube title that makes little and entirely optional use of the Wii controls, runs at 50Hz and essentially removes half of the game by taking away the choice to be a girl farmer. It's also an otherwise unchanged Wii conversion of the best Harvest Moon game ever made, released exclusively in Europe to make up for the fact that the Cube version never made it over here.

This makes things very difficult for me. As a female Harvest Moon fan, I'm incandescent that they've gone to the trouble to remove the option to play as a girl and marry one of the game's eleven bachelors for no good reason whatsoever (well, publisher Rising Star says it was to minimise delays, but after two years, who cares anymore?), and that this conversion isn't absolutely perfect. As a critic, though, the changes are unfortunate but essentially minor. Apart from marriage, every other aspect of this fantastic, addictive, captivating game has remained unchanged. Hear this, though, Rising Star: if you try to pull this trick again for the release of Tree of Tranquility later this year, I'm going to come after you with a hoe.

Like all Harvest Moon games, Magical Melody casts you as an honest farmer starting out in a new town. From the moment you harvest your first crop of turnips outside your tiny house until you're running a full-scale industrial operation with six cows, a flock of chickens and prize-winning pineapples, it grabs hold of your attention and keeps it until you've expended weeks wooing potential sweethearts, bought and furnished your own double-storey mansion and mined diamonds a hundred feet blow ground level. It is a huge game, full of things to discover, drip-feeding you new festivals, tools, items and friends as you get on with your idyllic day-to-day farming life in Flowerbud Village. It's terribly exciting for fans, but actually a bit overwhelming for newbies - expect a confusing hour or two spent figuring out how to use tools, eat meals and lay out the farm properly if you don't already have the benefit of six games' worth of instruction in virtual farming.

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FeatureCult Classics: GameCube

Part 2: Fear, frolf, farming and a bit more drumming.

Following on from part one, Keza stops understanding the alphabet and starts hugging everything vaguely chronologically. We've also done a quick check and she doesn't claim anything was released in "1005" in this one.

FeatureMan on the Moon

Harvest Moon's Yasuhiro Wada on the series' past, present and future.

As Harvest Moon: Innocent Life on the PSP approached European release, we were gifted a rare opportunity to have a few words with Yasuhiro Wada, the man behind the series for over ten years now since its SNES debut in 1996. We gleaned some fascinating insights into the philosophy behind the series, the games' creation over the years, and his experience of game development - and given that his series has been captivating fans old and young on almost every platform released over the past ten years, he's definitely a man worth listening to. We also learn new details about Innocent Life and Marvelous Interactive's plans for the Wii.

Harvest Moon Wii details

Harvest Moon Wii details

DS sequel already planned.

New details have been revealed of how you'll play Harvest Moon using the Wii's remote controller - along with news that a second DS instalment in the series is on the way.

According to an article in Famitsu, partially translated by IGN, Harvest Moon Wii is set on an island this time. It was once home to the Harvest Goddess and a great tree, but one day she disappeared and the tree dried up.

With the help of the friendly Koropokuru sprites, it's your job to make the island all lush and beautiful and that, so that the Goddess will return and the tree will come back to life.

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Harvest Moon: Magical Melody

Harvest Moon: Magical Melody

The moon on a stick.

Who'd want to be a farmer? Foot and Mouth, Mad Cow, Bird Flu - these are only some of the epidemics that threaten them. Crop farmers aren't exempt from suffering either, as supermarkets demand the best quality produce at the lowest cost, while consumers bitch about pesticides and genetically engineered food.

Plus, farmers are always incredibly hungry.

Harvest Moon: Magical Melody teaches us that farmers are the hungriest people on Earth. Play it for a bit and you'd surmise that the average farmer chose the career simply to get direct access to a food source. The simple act of watering the crops in the morning can tire out a farmer to the point where he has to devour all the freshly laid eggs in the chicken coop. In fact, a brand new farmer will spend most of his time foraging for leaves and berries just to put a dent in his appetite.

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