Harvest Moon 3D: The Misplaced Valley evaluation: Fractured farming tales
After taking root within the sixteen-bit period and spanning a number of console generations, the Harvest Moon collection now finds itself in a precarious spot. The North American publishing rights for the Marvelous-developed Harvest Moon video games have modified palms, leaving Xseed to publish the subsequent 3DS sequel as Story of Seasons. Freed of its ties to the collection itself however retaining the Harvest Moon trademark, Natsume took the chance to shift the franchise in a brand new path with the internally developed Harvest Moon 3D: The Misplaced Valley.
That includes terraforming mechanics impressed by the indie hit Minecraft, The Misplaced Valley shakes up lengthy-standing collection traditions in a bid to discover new farming-targeted gameplay concepts and forge its personal id. Whereas its makes an attempt at innovation are profitable to a restricted extent, longtime Harvest Moon followers might be disenchanted with the barebones finish end result.
The Misplaced Valley plops gamers in the midst of an deserted swath of land cursed to endure an everlasting winter. The Harvest Goddess is slumbering, and solely your agricultural expertise can wake her up, soften the snow, and restore the seasons. Thankfully, crops in The Misplaced Valley will develop even in wintry climate, supplying you with loads of choices in your quest.
In comparison with 2012’s Harvest Moon 3D: A New Starting, The Misplaced Valley wastes little time in equipping the participant with all the things they should kickstart a farming empire. You can begin planting and harvesting crops inside minutes – a welcome enchancment over A New Starting‘s hours-lengthy prologue.
Farming itself is simpler than it is ever been within the collection. After selecting a plot, your actions comply with a context-delicate sequence of occasions. Level your character towards a fertile sq. of land and you may until the soil, plant a seed, water it, and fertilize it with 4 consecutive button presses. The method is solely painless, and eliminates the fixed stock juggling that slowed down earlier Harvest Moon video games.
Prolonged and unskippable animations mitigate any time you’d save, nevertheless. Your farmer pauses to marvel at each single plant you harvest, and watering crops sq.-by-sq. is equally time-consuming. You’ll be able to enlist the assistance of harvest sprites to partially full your chores, however planting and watering a full subject of crops is usually a day-lengthy ordeal (a number of minutes of actual-world time), since you possibly can not improve your default instruments to hurry up the method.
The truth is, many options that beforehand outlined the Harvest Moon collection are both scaled again or lacking totally in The Misplaced Valley. In lots of Harvest Moon video games, as an example, gamers can wander expansive villages and work together with townsfolk after ending up their day by day chores. This was particularly interesting in A New Starting, which innovated with its customizable city format and a forged of dozens of likable villagers.
In The Misplaced Valley, there isn’t a city. Villagers present up in your entrance garden on particular days of the week, then promptly disappear at sunset. The Misplaced Valley additionally ditches character preferences and present-giving. You might want to converse to guests and fulfill requests for particular crops to be able to progress by way of the story, however in any other case you might have little sway over friendships. You’ll be able to’t even give presents to your romantic companions – not prefer it issues a lot, since The Misplaced Valley has few suitors to select from (three male, three feminine), they usually’re all equally generic and unappealing.
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The Misplaced Valley‘s Minecraft-impressed parts are one other disappointment. Terraforming principally quantities to elevating and decreasing land in your farm within the hopes of manufacturing peak-particular crop mutations, and the most important challenges you will face contain developing soil-based mostly staircases to succeed in larger floor. It is as thrilling because it sounds, which is to say not very thrilling in any respect.
When you’re hoping for Minecraft ranges of customization, you are additionally out of luck. You will have to play via a number of seasons earlier than you possibly can entry primary buildings like bridges and fences, and you’ve got few choices on the subject of character clothes and hairstyles when you lastly unlock them.
You will in any other case spend a lot of your time gazing a barren wasteland coated in snow, since restoring the seasons is a sluggish, arduous course of. Worse, you probably will not see the outcomes of your labor till the second in-recreation yr. Throughout my playthrough, I managed to finish the Harvest Goddess’ requests and restore Spring on the final day of the season. The subsequent day – the primary day of Summer time – all of Spring’s greenery disappeared, and the snow returned in full pressure. It felt like my earlier 5 hours of labor have been wasted.
It does not get any higher afterward. Summer time’s restoration quests make you wait weeks for characters to point out up so as to speak to them in a really particular sequence, and Fall requires you to tunnel by way of a mountain over a interval of a number of in-recreation days earlier than it sends you on a collection of tedious fetch quests. In between, you are caught shoveling snow till The Misplaced Valley lastly opens up, and even then, it is nonetheless nowhere close to as satisfying as earlier video games within the collection because of its many lacking or scaled-again options.
Harvest Moon: The Misplaced Valley has some good concepts, and the improved farming mechanics are appreciated, however its terrible pacing sabotages any enjoyable you may in any other case have the ability to squeeze out of it. Even when it isn’t taken within the context of earlier Harvest Moon video games, The Misplaced Valley feels half-baked, and its makes an attempt at selection do not add a lot to the expertise.
In case you’re on the lookout for an identical recreation to fill this yr’s Harvest Moon-formed void, Degree 5’s current Fantasy Life matches the invoice properly, providing ample depth to match its grind-pleased gameplay. As compared, The Misplaced Valley presents a pitiful quantity of content material, and what’s out there takes ages to unlock. This is hoping that Story of Seasons makes up for The Misplaced Valley‘s disappointing harvest.
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