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More Thoughts on Harvest Moon: My Little Shop

So after playing this game for a while I’ve learned that it’s actually a little more in depth than I thought, but the real time day by day game play still cripples the game in my opinion.  I still only find myself with about 10 minutes of gameplay per day.  But non the less, I’ve learned some positives about the game:

  • The weather changes.  Yeah, it rains, hooray!  It’s a nice break though and makes the game seem less static.  Not much really changes when it rains, except that your animals go automatically inside the barn (your grandpa apparently puts them in the barn in the dark of night) where you must feed/pet/observe them.  And you don’t have to water your crops.
  • You can go to the carpenter to get store upgrades and buy new fields (it appears at the moment you can only buy two new fields though, when it looks like there’s room for three).  So you can’t clear fields yourself but you CAN get new ones, which is nice.

The screen shot showing the cute Strawberry Cow.

  • There are some interesting animal options.  No, you can’t have a barn full of cows, but you can have one each of the Cow (gives regular milk), Jersey Cow (gives creamy milk) and the Coffee Cow (gives…coffee flavored milk, go figure).  I’ve also seen screen shots of a Strawberry Cow, though I don’t know if this is an in-game option or if it comes with one of the add-on packages.  Same for Chickens – currently in my game there is a Chicken, Quail and Silkie Chicken.
  • There ARE festivals – though not nearly as interactive as in other games, I have so far come across one festival.  There wasn’t much to do but talk to some villagers and watch about two minutes worth of cut scenes.  I also don’t know when the festivals fall or how they decide it’s time to have a festival, seeing as the game takes place in real time.  I’m assuming that after so many days of gameplay a festival will automatically happen.
  • There does appear to be a rhyme and reason to the game, instead of just pointlessly playing mini games each day.  Problem is I don’t know what it takes to unlock anything – one of the windmills is now turning but I honestly don’t know what I did to trigger it.  I guess just keeping the store going is enough.  However, I really wish there was more story to the game instead of all the little games – or at least the infamous Harvest Moon “Get your farm up and running in 3 years or lose” story, which at least gives the gameplay a purpose.

My thoughts on Harvest Moon: My Little Shop

As I’m a lover of anything Harvest Moon, I jumped on Harvest Moon: My Little Shop as soon as I found out about it, which was about…two years ago.  I was excited–a made for WiiWare Harvest Moon, with what looked like adorable graphics (I’m a sucker for the cutesy chibi look) and the ability to get add ons? Count me in!

Once I actually had the game though, I was pretty disappointed – it plays in real time and there is only so much you can do each day, meaning there’s really only about 10 minutes of game play each day!  And unlike the typical Harvest Moon this one doesn’t concentrate on growing your farm.  The strategy of planting crops, earning money, upgrading your buildings and wooing spouses…allllll gone.  Instead, My Little Shop is all about…mini games.  Now, I don’t hate mini games, but I’m not really a mini game person.   So I played the game once, then forgot about it.

Well, a few days ago I decided to try it again and started a new game.  I generally have about 20 – 30 minutes in the evening when I veg out with a video game before dinner, and while I’m currently working on Harvest Moon SNES, I decided I needed a change of pace.  Well, I was surprised that My Little Shop isn’t that bad after all, if you only have 10 minutes to play it each day.  It actually fits into my schedule well.  I’m still not real thrilled with all the mini game playing, but after playing it for a few days I’ve realized there is more character interaction and farm upgrading opportunities than I had previously thought which is nice.  I’ll play the game for roughly 10 minutes than work on Harvest Moon SNES for the rest of my video game time (I’m in the second winter and there is NOTHING to do until spring).

Pros of the game (according to me)

-THE MUSIC.  My favorite thing about the game is the wonderful old-school Harvest Moon music.  Makes me happy every time I hear it :)

-The graphics.  I love the cute, colorful look of the game.  The flat-paper look was weird at first, kind of looks like a Harvest Moon version of Paper Mario.  But it suites the game.

-The characters. Oodles and oodles of classic Harvest Moon characters as well as new ones; it’s cool seeing all the characters from the different games.  Especially from the 64, Back to Nature, DS and Wonderful Life games.

Cons of the game (according to me)

-The mini games.  They can be hard to master and boring pretty quick.

-The lack of farming options.  I want to clear my fields and plan my harvests, instead you get a few little plots at the start of the game and you can’t harvest your crops – they just…sit there, and you water them every day. That’s it.

-The inability to marry.  COME ON, why do you think so many women play Harvest Moon? We want to date and have a family!

-The lack of actual game play.  Unless you want to play the mini games all day, there really isn’t much you can do.  This can be good if you don’t have much time to play, but you won’t be having any all-day gaming marathons with this one.

Overall, as a major fan of the series I’m glad I didn’t miss this game.  If you don’t expect it to be like a normal Harvest Moon game, you’ll enjoy it a lot more.

 

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