Harvest Moon: Back to Nature
|Harvest Moon: Back to Nature|
PlayStation version cover art
|Developer(s)||Victor Interactive Software|
|Series||Story of Seasons|
|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 Story of Seasons, developed by Victor Interactive Software and published by Natsume. 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 version featuring a female protagonist, Bokujō Monogatari Harvest Moon for Girl (牧場物語～ハーベストムーン～forガール), was also released.
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, so the boy explored the town and countryside on his own. 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. Ten years later, years after his grandfather's death, the boy, now a grown man, returns to the town to take over the farm. Upon meeting the main character, mayor and other villagers decide that he would be allowed to stay as the rightful owner if he restored the farm to its original state within three years. Otherwise, he would have to leave.
The game begins with main character inheriting a small amount of money and ramshackle farm covered in weeds. Over the course of the game the player must build a thriving farm, and become a friend of the citizens of Mineral Town. Throughout the game the player must balance between attending to the farm and interacting with other characters to maintain friendships. In order to begin with the story, the player must overcome the first obstacle of reestablishing the farm by getting rid of weeds and planting new crops. Once that is done a time frame of three years to completely rejuvenate the farm begins. Time passes while the player is outdoors, and pauses inside different buildings such as shops or barns and mines. Both the growing of crops and raising of livestock require daily attention and the expenditure of time.
Player starts off with an assortment of rudimentary farming tools which can later be upgraded and refined to allow for a more efficient work rate, allowing more work to be done with less energy. Energy is the predominant element of the game, affecting all other aspects of it, particularly in the early stages. 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. Working after the energy has been depleted results in character's blackout and hospitalization which leads to incapacity to perform work; duration of hospitalization increases with each subsequent blackout. There are weather patterns as well as four different seasons in the game, often changing at random but also when certain progress is made. There are rainfalls, hurricanes, frost and blizzards which all do damage to player's farm as they would in real life.
Player can participate in a number of activities, such as betting on horse races, dating and partaking in festivals which coincide with the seasons. During the game, the player will be tasked with finding a suitable wife who will, once proposed to, join the player on the farm where they soon after marry and start a family.
Once the initial three years pass, if the farm was completely renewed, the player character's family settles on their farm for good and the game continues indefinitely, otherwise the game ends.
The game received positive reviews and holds a score of 82 out of 100 on Metacritic and 79.32% on GameRankings. 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". GameSpot's Gerald Villoria gave the game a score of 8.3 out of 10, calling the game a "surprisingly one of the most satisfying role-playing experiences to be found on the PlayStation." In Japan, Famitsu magazine scored the PlayStation version of the game a 31 out of 40.
- "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 February 8, 2009.
- "牧場物語 ハーベストムーン for ガール" (in Japanese). PlayStation. Retrieved February 8, 2009.
- Zdyrko, Dave; Smith, David (October 27, 2000). "Harvest Moon: Back To Nature". Retrieved January 10, 2015.
- プレイステーション - 牧場物語 ~ハーベストムーン~. Weekly Famitsu. 30 June 2006.
- Adam Cleveland (November 20, 2000). "Harvest Moon: Back to Nature". IGN. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
- Villoria, Gerald (December 15, 2000). "Harvest Moon: Back to Nature Review". Retrieved January 10, 2015.
- "Harvest Moon: Back To Nature". Metacritic. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
- "Harvest Moon on Gamerankings". GameRankings. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
- Ryan Clements (August 2, 2007). "Harvest Moon Boy & Girl Review". IGN. Retrieved June 29, 2009.