Harvest Moon: A Tale of Two Towns

The Harvest Moon franchise is a video game series which has managed to span decades, connecting gamers – young and old – through a single, popular style of gameplay. While it is true that the style itself does not often change, the new people, activities, and potential marriage candidates (or “friendship candidates” if you happened to play Friends of Mineral town with a female player, and had a great female “friend”) will always provide a new experience.

Today I would like to separate a single game from the bunch, simply because I consider it one of the better ones in terms of unique playability. That game is known as “Harvest Moon: A Tale of Two Towns” (available for the 3DS).

Pros:

  • Two unique towns to choose from (rather than the usual single town)
  • The opportunity to switch from town to town as you please
  • Multiple marriage candidates, each with their own personalities
  • An assortment of extra events beyond the usual game activities
  • The game can be played for a very long time (ranging on months)

Cons:

  • You’re in for the long term to reach certain aspects of the game (will have to progress to certain extents, each which can take a long time in-game)
  • Some marriage candidates are glitched, and thus time will be wasted trying to court them
  • Each town only has one focus – while you can use the other, this can be tedious until a shortcut is unlocked far into the game

Gameplay:
In this game, as with every Harvest Moon game, you are a farmer who has just arrived to a town in some form of crisis, and are given the chance to start anew, building up your barren lands into a well-ran farm. In the case of “A Tale of Two Towns”, you awaken to find yourself confronted by the mayors of two rival towns: Konohana, and Bluebell. The former town is of an Asian style, and its residents believe that the proper way to farm is to raise and harvest crops. Naturally, choosing this farm will leave with you with more land to till, but only a small barn and hen house, capable of holding only a few animals. Bluebell is of a European style, and home to the belief that raising animals is the proper way to farm. Choosing this town will leave you with a far larger barn and hen house, but less land to grow crops upon. Choosing one will not get you in trouble with the other’s residents, although the mayor of the rival town will certainly grumble about it.

Besides the usual goal of building up your farm and wooing your neighbors as you search out a marriage candidate to court (and later marry), you are faced with a goal unique to this game: You must take part in several cooking competitions – the only time in which the two towns are brought together – and keep winning for your town, so as to push the two mayors (who’s rivalry stems from a long history of the two towns hating each other over what appears to be a fairly pointless argument) into once more getting along. Why winning a cooking contest of all things makes them friends rather than even more bitter rivals, I do not know – in fact, it makes very little sense at all. But hey… that’s the game.

Who Should Play:
 Anyone who has played the previous Harvest Moon games – and enjoyed them obviously – will likely find some fun in “A Tale of Two Towns”. I would also recommend this to anyone looking for a game to keep them busy for a while, who does not remind repetitive actions. Harvest Moon is, after all, a farming game, and as such you will be dedicating a lot of gameplay towards that: tilling the land, planting crops, watering them, harvesting, and repeat.

Harvest Moon: A Tale of Two Towns is a truly enjoyable game. Anyone who fits the criteria I mentioned before should check it out. If you’re looking for a short term game, or something with surprises and action constantly taking place, this is probably not the game for you.

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