Review by CeliaOfTheSky

Reviewed: 08/09/06

Magical? You bet! Harvest Moon at it's best.

It seems that finally, finally the developers of Harvest Moon have taken a good long look at the good and bad of their famed farming sim and then did something about them. And, damn it, then did a good job.

Magical Melody follows the pervious Harvest Moon (A Wonderful Life) with a bang. Everything that seemed broken or wrong, so to speak, in that (or any other Harvest Moon) is fixed, at least to the point of being fun. Still around are all the good old Harvest Moon staples, including buying and caring for animals, watering crops, selling/buying and all those other things a striving farmers needs to do. Thankfully, all of that is easy to accomplish, thanks to the new stuff. That includes the new 'targeting' system, allowing you to work on the move with utmost accuaracy. The C-Stick is now for rolling through your rucksack and using items is a breeze.

The biggest addition in Magical Melody is the basic setup. No longer are you a farmer working to maintain/restore family honor, but rather a young man/woman who's out to build and start a farm of his/her own. Property can be bought, houses can be upgraded (that's not new, but still cool) and crops can be planted in a wide bevy of locations. All this costs moolah, however, cash is much easier to get this time around. Finally, the addition of a stamina bar makes keeping track of your farmer's health a breeze.

In the menu, which had been 100% revamped, shows the affection level of everyone (boys/girls/cows/chickens), eliminating the obnoxious 'diary checks' of Harvest Moon past. The menu also allows you to check recipies, money and all that other stuff you had to return home to look at in games past.

Aside from crop care, the town around you offers plenty to do. Swoon a wife/husband, go mining, picking flowers/herbs/fruit, make friends and, most importantly, collect 'Musical Notes', which you use to help move along the small story. These notes act as trophies of sorts and is somewhat addicting to obtain and give you a sense of satisfaction in the process.

Now, with all that, and that's a lot going for it, this gem also contains a flaw or two. The days sometimes roll by too fast as does your stamina. The winter months are barren and a little borning and lumber is STILL a pain in the ass to get. People have personalities, but spout the same one-liner over and over again, making seem like they're just robots, even your wife/husband to be. Wooing a spouse conisits of a daily routine or talk-present-talk everyday.

Overall, for your money, Magical Melody will not set you wrong. If you liked any of the previous Harvest Moons at all, then you'll love this one, I'm, sure. And, it gives you a good feeling: if Natsume hit so many good points in THIS game, what'll there next game be like? Don't think about too much though, or you'll miss out on the gem that is Harvest Moon: Magical Melody.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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