Harvest Moon: Back to Nature
|Harvest Moon: Back to Nature|
PlayStation version cover art
|Developer(s)||Victor Interactive Software (PlayStation)
Marvelous Interactive (PSP)
|Genre(s)||Life simulation/Role-playing video game|
Harvest Moon: Back to Nature (牧場物語～ハーベストムーン～ Bokujō Monogatari Harvest Moon?) is a video game in the farm simulation series Harvest Moon, developed by Victor Interactive Software. It is the first Harvest Moon game for a non-Nintendo console. Characters from Harvest Moon 64 were transferred to be the characters in this game, although with new lifestyles, personalities, and relatives. A girl-oriented remake, Bokujō Monogatari Harvest Moon for Girl (牧場物語～ハーベストムーン～forガール?), was also developed, but until 2007 had not been released in English.
This game was later remade as the Game Boy Advance games Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town and Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town. In 2005 Harvest Moon: Back to Nature was coupled with the girl version and ported as Harvest Moon: Boy & Girl (牧場物語ハーベストムーン ボーイ＆ガール Bokujō Monogatari: Harvest Moon Boy and Girl?) for the PlayStation Portable, although the box art and instructions portrayed it as a completely new game. In 2008, Marvelous Interactive released Harvest Moon: Back to Nature and Bokujō Monogatari Harvest Moon for Girl for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable via the PlayStation Network.
As a young boy, the main character went to his grandfather's farm for the summer. His grandfather was too busy taking care of the farm to spend much time with him, but he was free to explore the town and the forest as he wished. The boy befriended his grandfather's puppy and met a little girl his own age with whom he became close friends. When the summer was over the boy had to go back home, but he promised the little girl that he would return someday.
When his grandfather died years later, the boy had grown into a young man, and he came to the town again to take over the farm. The mayor talked things over with the villagers, and they had decided that he could stay as the rightful owner if he could restore the farm to its original state within three years. If he couldn't restore the farm, or get along with the villagers, he would have to leave.
The main character begins with a ramshackle farm and a small amount of money. Over the course of the game, the player must build a thriving farm, and become a friend of the citizens of Mineral Town. Gameplay involves the acts of farming and interacting with the people the character meets, and balancing time, money, and energy. In Harvest Moon: Back to Nature, since the death of the player's grandfather, the farm has fallen into disuse and the fields have become overgrown with weeds. Once this initial obstacle is cleared, the player can then start to expand on these most basic tasks as they proceed to build up the value of their produce. There is no requirement for tasks to be performed upon starting a new game, though players have a limited number of years before being asked to leave the farm if it remains in disrepair. Time passes while players are outside buildings, and pauses inside buildings and mines. The growing of crops and raising of livestock requires daily attention and the expenditure of time. The player begins with a hammer, hoe, axe, watering can, and sickle. Upgrading the tools requires time and money, but allows the player to work more efficiently, allowing more work to be done with less energy. Energy is the other concern facing players who wish to be successful, particularly in the early stages of the game. The main character can perform a limited amount of tasks each day. Rather than displaying an energy bar, the game instead shows the character becoming more tired as he performs more tasks. Repeatedly pushing your player beyond exhaustion will result in him passing out and having to visit the local hospital. The player's maximum energy can be increased by locating hidden "power berries" scattered throughout the game world. Energy can be regained through rest, eating, or visiting the local hot springs. The weather can affect how the player completes their goals during that day. Regardless of season, most days are calm and do not cause adverse or positive affects on the player's activities. Rainfall results in crops being watered without player intervention, freeing time to pursue other goals, but at the same time, can cause the player to develop a cold, forcing him not to work for a day. Hurricanes and blizzards prevent the character from leaving his home for the day and cause the destruction of crops and the loss of certain livestock if they're left outside.
There are five girls whom you can marry: Mary, Ann, Popuri, Elli and Karen. The girl version has five bachelors whom you may marry: Cliff, Doctor, Gray, Kai and Rick.
The barn holds your cows and sheep, and can be expanded. Players interested in keeping livestock will spend time talking to their animals, brushing and feeding them in this building. If they are healthy and happy, you can get milk from the cows daily, and wool from the sheep weekly. The barn is where wool and milk processing machinery will be delivered, once they are purchased. The stable provides living space for a horse, should the player choose to accept an invitation to care for the animal. You do not need to feed him, but he does prefer to be outside. If players treat their horse well, he will become an adult and can help carry crops. This enables the player to work more efficiently as he doesn't have to run back to the shipping box when his inventory is full. If the horse is not properly cared for, there is a chance he may be removed from the farm. The chicken coop provides room for five birds but can be expanded like the farmhouse. After the expansion you can keep up to 10 chickens. There is also an incubator to hatch chicks. The egg processing machine will be placed here if purchased by the player. All livestock can be taken or lead outside in order to feed themselves, though all dislike being left out in bad weather. Though all the outbuildings which house livestock are present from the outset, players must pay for a hothouse to be built if they require one. Within the hothouse, any crop can be grown, even those out of season. Purchasing the hothouse enables crops to be grown and harvested during winter. Extreme weather conditions can destroy the hothouse, since it is not built to withstand such force. Players must consider whether they're willing to risk the expense of losing the hothouse and its contents, balanced by the opportunities it presents.
You can clear the land by pulling weeds, breaking rocks, and chopping stumps and sticks for lumber. Your first hammer and axe are capable of dealing with only small rocks and branches (you can also just put the rocks and branches in your rucksack, and move them to another part of the field where they won't be in the way). After you upgrade the tools you can chop up stumps and break larger rocks. Once you have cleared the land, you can till it using a hoe and then plant seeds. If you water the seeds daily, they will grow, and eventually you can harvest them and sell the crops. Some crops are single-harvest (such as potato) while others may be harvested many times (such as corn) until the season changes and the crops die, unless you have a hothouse. There is a different set of crops for each season (spring, summer, fall), and none can be grown in winter without the purchase of a hothouse in which all types of seeds can be grown. One particular crop, the Orangecup, can only be grown in the hothouse. Once you get the fishing pole from Greg and are able to catch fish, you can add any fish to the pond by throwing them into the water. Should you decide to raise fish you will need to feed them daily. In doing so they will breed and grow. However during the winter the pond freezes over making feeding and removal of the fish impossible. (It can be noted that the player is free to remove the fish, store them in their refrigerator for any period of time and return them to the fish pond with no negative effects.)
Mineral Town and surrounding area
Mineral Town contains shops for seeds, farming machinery, wine, and other items. Buying livestock is done within town, and expected buildings common to towns such as a church, a library, an inn (it has the only phone in Mineral Town), a clinic/hospital, and more. Outside of the town, one can go to the woodcutter to order building upgrades. Outside of town is also several mines, a waterfall, a forest, and a mountain. Festivals take place within the town on a yearly schedule. Befriending townspeople results in one being invited to more festivals rather than watching the television.
IGN rated the original PlayStation version of the game at 7.5, or "Good", calling it "creatively deep", though it was graphically weak, and rated the PSP counterpart of this game a 7.1, or "Decent".
In Japan, Famitsu magazine scored the PlayStation version of the game a 31 out of 40.
Despite of mediocre reception from critics, the game is highly praised in Indonesia 
- "Harvest Moon: Back to Nature Release Dates". Gamespot. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
- "Harvest Moon: Boy & Girl Release Dates". Gamespot. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
- "牧場物語 ハーベストムーン" (in Japanese). PlayStation. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- "牧場物語 ハーベストムーン for ガール" (in Japanese). PlayStation. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
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- プレイステーション - 牧場物語 ~ハーベストムーン~. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.22. 30 June 2006.