Wednesday, March 26, 2008

For Girl Gamers - Harvest Moon DS Cute is Release!!

Ah, winter. While global warming trends may or may not have delivered the expected seasonal chill and covering of snow, we once again find it time to revisit the weird, yet strangely compelling world of the farming RPG. The generally quirky, usually lovable Harvest Moon series continues to release one pleasant variation after another, with a standard of quality approaching that of earlier entries in the Final Fantasy series (the exception to this rule being the horrible Animal Crossing knockoff A Wonderful Life Animal Crossing knockoff A Wonderful Life – for its part, the FF series pretty much died around the release of the visually stunning, yet horribly annoying card-game driven FF VIII).

Harvest Moon DS Cute

An unfortunate trend which seems to be cementing into place with the Harvest Moon series is to first release a “normal” version of the game where you play as a male, while shortly after the game has lived out a brief (generally one year) lifespan, a second, nearly identical version appears, changing the lead characters gender to female. Case in point: Harvest Moon DS Cute, a fairly straight distaff remake of Harvest Moon DS. One interesting, if annoying quirk: after answering a series of Animal Crossing-style questions, the computer chooses which girl it thinks better suits your personality. The two girls in question are the blonde from Harvest Moon for Girls or the pony-tailed brunette from Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life. While these sort of “personality match” games are amusing enough when whiling away time over the internet, it seems a bit fascistic to have your choice decided for you, without consent or a view to personal preference. It’s very much akin to locking you in to whatever career your guidance counselor deemed a best fit back in HS…and we all know how far afield those options were!

As with any Harvest Moon game (excepting once again the It’s A Wonderful Life travesty), you’re given the task of building up and running a successful farm. This time around, you also have to find all 101 Harvest Sprites, who have mysteriously gone missing (given how hard they work your farm in previous series entries, this is no real surprise – munch munch, budum!). Along the way, you can get married and (should you have some overbearing need to) have a child with one of the local guys – and in addition to the usual suspects, a thief named Skye has been added to the pool of eligible bachelors. This time around, you also get the option to marry one of the guys from Mineral Town without having the game end immediately thereafter as in Harvest Moon DS. Of course, in order to meet one of Mineral Town’s eligible bachelors (quick, somebody get Jim Lange to emcee this!) you will have to have Friends of Mineral Town simultaneously inserted in your Nintendo DS.

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