Review: Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley
A game where you can create and personalise your farm exactly how you please as you help the Harvest Goddess restore the seasons!
Nintendo have released an exciting new life where you take care of animals, nurture flowers and crops, as well as making new friends awaits in Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, which is out now for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems.
I gave this to my 8-year-old son, Chance, to play.
First you have to choose whether to play as a girl or boy. Naturally, being an eight-year-old, he chose to be a boy. Then you get ready to shape the land to create your very own personalised farm.
My initial thoughts, when I saw the premise of the game and started to watch him play, was that it was very Farmville-esque. Having seen the gameplay, I’m pleased to say that it seems to go much deeper than that.
You have to fulfil the requests of visiting townsfolk, befriend them and even get married, all as part of a quest to restore the four seasons back to normal.
While exploring the mountains high above the Lost Valley one day, you become caught in a sudden snowstorm and find shelter with the help of a faint voice. When the storm lifts you find and help a kindly Harvest Sprite buried under the snow, who tells you all of the seasons in the valley have vanished except for winter. To return all four seasons to the Lost Valley, you’ll need to farm the land with the help of the villagers, the Harvest Sprites, and even the Harvest Goddess.
I wondered if Chance would be at all interested when I originally spoke to him about the game. He’s a massive fan of certain games such as Pokemon and Minecraft, and I can rarely get him to deviate from those.
He seemed keen to give it a go though, and so I let him get on with it.
The first thing that’s worth noting is that there was no stuttering in terms of his gameplay. What I mean by that is that he was able to work out what to do, and how to do it, without having to ask me (and let’s be honest, as a 37-year-old, my ability to learn new games is unfortunately long behind me)
In Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley you can experience the freedom to create your own farm your own way, by moulding and shaping the land in a fully 3D environment. Dig down into the ground to create caves or stack the earth high to form mountains. Create fishing ponds and crop fields, and build roads and bridges to reach and explore new areas. Context-sensitive controls help streamline the action so that shaping your own world has never been so easy. Simply approach an object or area in-game and choose to perform an action like sowing seeds, picking flowers, or fishing.
The game has reflections of Minecraft in so far as it allows you the autonomy to build in a way you see fit. Thankfully it is more than just a Minecraft clone as throughout your farming adventure a wide variety of animals becomes available to nurture, including cows for milking, sheep for their wool and chickens that lay eggs to sell. Tend to your livestock every day by stroking and brushing the animals, keeping them comfortable, well-fed and happy, and they will provide you with better quality produce to sell.
As well as the daily care of your farm you will also meet and befriend local townsfolk who will offer you quests and useful items to purchase. Among the cute cast of characters, you’ll also encounter bachelors and bachelorettes who you may even end up calling your husband or wife.
We haven’t yet got far enough into the game to see anyone get married, so I am unable to confirm or deny whether two people of the same sex can get married (a topical hashtag here, I think: #LoveWins)
Offering a world you can shape your own way and the joy of seeing your crops and animals grow and blossom as you care for them, Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley is available in stores and from Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS now.
I asked Chance for his verdict on the game as well as what it was about. This is what he told me:
Every now and then you meet new fun characters and you have small dreams like, for example, it’s going to be your birthday.
At certain times and days there are events that revolve around the character. In one of them a girl had lost her mum, and she asked for help, so you go off on a quest to help her find her mum.
There are also storylines running through the game, such as helping the Harvest Gods bring spirits back to life, and you can complete those by doing tasks such as catching fish or trading items.
I’d rate it 9 out of 10, although I have to admit that I prefer my Pokemon Omega Ruby game. I’ll definitely play the Lost Valley game again in the future though.
I noticed that he played it for far longer than I expected him to when he first got hold of the game, but since then he has gravitated back towards his usual favourites. He is insistent that it’s only because he’s been on a “special part” of his Pokemon game, and that he intends to play The Lost Valley again. Time will tell.
You can buy the game in all good stores (and some bad ones too), though here’s a handy Amazon link: Buy from Amazon. (Affiliate link). The current price is £31.09.
Official YouTube trailer: Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley:
The game was given of me free of charge by Nintendo UK in exchange for an honest review, and I am an official Nintendo UK blogger. Full disclosure policy is available here.
For further details:
Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley website: http://www.harvestmoonthelostvalley.com
Nintendo 3DS website: http://www.nintendo.co.uk/nintendo3ds
Nintendo 3DS (UK) on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Nintendo3DSUK
Nintendo UK on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/NintendoUK
Nintendo of Europe on Twitter https://twitter.com/nintendoeurope
Nintendo UK on Twitter https://twitter.com/nintendouk