“I am so rich I can do anything.”
-Superbat, Final Crisis
“The following is a guest post by The Five More Minutes Mage.”
At the start of Harvest Moon: Animal Parade, after choosing if you want your character to be male or female, you wake up in the back of a cart full of hay. The cart is being driven by a stranger, and you have no idea what your name is or where you came from. Are you being kidnapped? Well, sorry people! You’ve actually bought some farmland and plan to make your fortune by farming and raising animals.
While riding the cart, you also encounter a type of fairy called a Harvest Sprite. This fairy, named Finn, is basically your companion throughout the game and main story. Finn can give you tips and reminders about the things your character needs to do in order to progress in the story.
Now you’re probably wondering why I chose the quote above for this review. Well, the reason is because, when you have enough money in Animal Parade, you can do almost anything. But where do you get your moolah? Well, there are 5 main ways to make it rain. Those are: farming, ranching, fishing, mining, and foraging.
First, let me explain two of the main ways to get money in Animal Parade: farming and ranching. At the start of the game, your hayride arrives at your farm. From the outside, it doesn’t look like much and it’s kind of rundown.
Raising animals, or ranching, in Animal Parade is reasonably simple. First, you buy an animal from the store or use a special potion to make one of your animals pregnant. When you get an animal, you raise and take good care of it, and when it becomes an adult, it starts producing stuff for you! The more the animal likes you, the better the products that are produced. There are two buildings where you can raise animals. One of them is called the coop, and in it you can raise chickens, ducks, and silkworms. The other ranching building, the barn, is where you raise cows, sheep, horses, goats, and even ostriches! All of the animals mentioned produce products regularly when they are adults that can be sold or converted into animal products such as cheese or mayonnaise. All animals need to be fed each day, and if they aren’t, eventually they will kick the bucket.
Now let’s get into farming. At the start of the game, you receive a farming plot that is just south of your house, barn, and coop. In that plot, you can plant trees or regular crops. Seeds are planted by using a hoe on the soil, and then using the seed item(s). Then if, you water those seeds, the plants will grow and produce produce. Usually, when you harvest a plant, you’ll receive produce, but the plant will disappear, and you’ll have to buy new seeds. Other plants, such as strawberries (my favorite in-game Spring crop), will keep growing after harvesting them. Trees produce a regular amount of berries or nuts, but only produce those things in one of the seasons. For example, cherry trees only produce cherries during the Summer, and eggplants (my favorite in-game crop) only grow during the Fall.
There are also flowers that you can grow. Flowers are very much like regular crops, but they usually grow faster and sell for less. Although, flowers usually have a bigger positive impact when given to someone. Think about it, would you rather receive a potato or a rose?
In one Animal Parade year, there are 4 seasons, each 28 days long. So a year is approximately 4 months. I’ve listed my favorite Spring and Fall crops above, so I should tell you that my favorite Summer plant is: Hibiscus. There are barely any plants that grow in winter, so I won’t list my favorite winter crop. Now let’s talk about where you can get those seeds and other important locations.
Let’s discuss locations using the map above. Your farm is in the center of the map. On the right side of your farm is Flute Fields, which includes a farm and a ranch. The farm is the primary destination for purchasing seeds, and the farm also sells basic crops. The ranch sells animals that can go in your coop or barn, and also sells animal food and basic animal products. You will see an entrance to a dense forest called the Fugue Forest, but you cannot enter the forest proper without having a key, which is obtained after some running around and talking to people.
On the other side of your farm is Harmonica Town, which features shops for almost everything. There’s an Inn to get good food, a bar to get good drinks, a medicine shop, a fish shop, a photography shop, and also a clothes shop. At town hall, you can buy more land. North of Harmonica Town is a church called Celesta Church.
Northwest of your farm is the Garmon Mine district. You must complete a small fetch quest in order to access the Garmon Mine district. The shops in the Garmon Mine district are all about upgrading. There’s a carpenter shop where you can upgrade your buildings or buy new furniture, a jewelry shop where you can turn mined ores into metals or jewels into jewelry. There’s a blacksmith shop where you can upgrade your tools by paying with money and some rare metals, and a general store that sells electronics and resource refiners. In the Garmon Mine district is an entrance to the Goddess Spring, which is an important part of the story, and also an entrance to the actual Garmon Mine.
Mining is another one of the ways to get money in Harvest Moon. In various caves and mines you can find stones and crystals, and once mined these can give you ores or what are called “wonderfuls.” If you’re lucky, after refining those stones, you will get jewels or precious metals! Ores sometimes produce metals, and “wonderfuls” rarely produce gems.
Fishing is another effective way to earn money. After casting your line and usually a short wait, an exclamation mark will appear and you can spam the A button to reel in a fish. The bigger the fish, the more profit it’ll generate. Eventually you obtain a tool that allows you to cook your fish.
Another way to collect money is to forage. You can find shells, berries, mushrooms and more in Animal Parade, and all can be sold for a small profit. But sell a lot of foraged items and you get a hefty profit.
There’s actually a story in Animal Parade. In the beginning of the review I mentioned that at the start of the game there is this little fairy named Finn who urges you to go talk to the “Harvest Goddess”. After a series of fetch quests, when you talk to the Goddess she tells you that the land has fallen into disrepair, and that she is dying. So, in order to save her, you must ring 5 elemental bells to restore the land to what it once was. Ringing the bells is completely optional, but it is recommended because with each bell rung, certain benefits are added in the form of higher crop value or upgraded shops. The story is not Animal Parade‘s strong point in the slightest, because really the story is a bunch of fetch quests.
Really, the main attraction of Animal Parade is the NPCs. You can get married, have kids, get a penguin as a pet, and more. Literally all you have to do is give gifts to someone every day (if possible), and eventually they’ll become friends with you. Give enough gifts to a specific character, and you can get married to her. You can literally force other people to get married if you give gifts to a certain person.
You can also adopt wild animals, such as bears, dogs, cats, rabbits, raccoons, etc. The same process works with wild animals — just give them what they like over and over again and they’ll like you. People, though, have very specific items that they like and don’t like, while wild animals have more of a variety. For example, Bob (not an actual NPC) likes catfish specifically, but a wild house cat likes any type of fish. You can also pet and pick up wild animals to increase their affection by a small amount.
The 8-Bit review
The visuals in this Harvest Moon are pretty good I guess. The colors in Fall were very nice, but sometimes the visuals were pretty bad too. The camera tracking can sometimes be annoying, and since there is no feature to change the angle of the camera, sometimes important items are hidden.
The audio of Animal Parade can sometimes be pretty interesting. One tune plays during the day, and another at night. But then again, both tunes are pretty similar. There was some music I really liked, but overall, sometimes, the music just wasn’t that great. The music changes each season, but throughout the seasons, the music always stays kind of similar.
I thought that the music above and below were pretty good, though.
I found that the controls were very simple and easy to use. There were some glitches, and also the system of setting down and picking up items has its faults, but all in all the controls got the job done. Sometimes, my character had trouble moving for some reason, or gave something to someone instead of setting the item down. Those glitches were uncommon, but not rare.
The multiplayer for this game sucks. It really sucks. The second player points his Wii remote at the screen, and people and animals that the person points to gain bonus affection points. That sounds like a good idea, but the affection bonus is very little and when the first player is farming or fishing, the second player can’t do anything.
Really, the story in Animal Parade is not very interesting, and the reason that this game’s Narrative score is 8 is because of the characters. The characters all have interests that you don’t see until you befriend them. For example, befriending the man in charge of the fish shop will trigger a certain event that allows you to give items you don’t need to him and get a reward. There are a lot of similar events that occur like this, and it’s kinda fun to see how they play put.
Animal Parade takes a long time to play. Usually you end up putting a ton time into it in order to get a small amount of progress. The first time you play Animal Parade, it takes some time to acquaint yourself to the game, but once you do it’s pretty easy. Playing the game a second time, you’re already acquainted, so you get things done much faster.
Animal Parade is a farming sim. It’s also basically the same thing as every other Harvest Moon game. Some of the characters even look the same as other Harvest Moon games! But hey, as the Well Red Mage said himself:
“I remember playing the game myself and being surprised at the ostriches. Weren’t there lions too?”
-the Well Red Mage
So yes, there are ostriches and a lion, and also giraffe, elephant which is pretty cool, but you can’t buy lions, giraffes, and elephants, which is pretty sad. Those animals only appear in a circus that comes to town every month.
My Personal Grade: 8/10
Personally, I liked Animal Parade. I thought it was pretty fun, but eventually I got bored with the same daily routine. I found myself speeding through the days, because you can only give one gift a day to someone. And in the end, I just stopped playing. There were other games that got my attention. If you play Animal Parade, you can see it’s quality, but in the end it’s just a farming sim.
Aggregated Score: 6.1
The Five More Minutes Mage is a writer over at gamegato.wordpress.comwhose favorite color is turquoise. Be sure to check out more of his cattish work there! (Checking out this blog increases your coolness level by 2000 points)
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