Review by FrozenCarrots
A Harvest Moon game as satisfying as any other
Harvest Moon: Boy & Girl is a port of a previous Harvest Moon game Harvest Moon: Back to Nature, although now with the added bonus of a girl's version. Similar to the boy's version of the game, the girl will perform many of the same chores, although aspects of the game are changed to suit a girl's perspective, and instead courting the various females in the town, girls court men. Not a big difference, but it's something. Onto the review.
Gameplay - 8/10
If you were hoping this game would put a new twist on the Harvest Moon series, you'll be disappointed. Players will experience the same game they've played through before: do chores, make money, upgrade, do more chores, make more money and then try and get with the opposite sex. If you're new to Harvest Moon games, or simply enjoy the same old stuff like myself, you'll be happy.
Much of the game consists of a daily set of chores to be done; you need to make money, and to do so you must export products. A top-down view of your character is convenient when planting a garden based on a grid. You've options of many different vegetables to plant, based on what season it is. Harvesting the plants when they fully mature will provide a good portion of your income, allowing you to--that's right--plant even more plants.
Aside from harvesting, there are other activities to do. You can mine for minerals in the mountains, fish for fish in lakes and rivers, raise a chicken army from a single chicken, get cows to provide milk, sheep to provide wool, and even get a horse to race. There are many things to do which prevent the gameplay from becoming too dull, and you'll find each game-day passing quickly as you hurry along trying to get everything done. Days can get so busy, in fact, that one can easily get overwhelmed by their list of chores. An interesting answer to this problem is Harvest Moon: Boy & Girl's allowance of helper-sprites--little gnome-things that will aide you with your chores, depending on their affinity to your character. This'll free up some of your time so you can accomplish more important tasks, such as trying to get lucky with one of the girls in the town you live in, as well as prevent you from getting fed up with repeating the multitude of tasks game day after game day.
Graphics and Sound - 8/10
The graphics in Harvest Moon: Boy & Girl follow Harvest Moon tradition in that they feel very child-oriented. Your character resembles a young cartoonish character. During gameplay, you're presenting with a third-person view of your character, who stays centered on the screen, Pokemon-style. Most in-game objects are aligned to a grid, and are illustrated in the same simple manner that the character is: cartoony and simple. Don't misunderstand me, however; the graphics feel right for the type of game it is, and appease nostalgia for long-time Harvest Moon fans. From its bright, cheerful colors to the cutely-drawn animals, the graphics in this game will cheer you up if you're feeling down, and entertain you when you're happy.
Game music, especially on hand-held systems, is usually pretty simple. The music in Harvest Moon: Boy & Girl consists of soothing, cheerful music repeated in the background. To give you an idea, the music fits the graphics in terms of light cheeriness. To accompany the music is the odd in-game sound-effect, such as noises when you use a tool or interact with an animal.
Story - 6/10
In Harvest Moon: Boy & Girl, you play a young man who has inherited a farm from his grandfather. The farm is completely run-down, though, so the mayor of the town makes you a deal: restore the farm to its former greatness by the end of the third year as well as capture the hearts of the townsfolk and you're allowed to stay there, failure to do so results in getting the boot.
Play Time - 7/10
Harvest Moon is a long-enough game as it is: each game-day lasts a few minutes, depending on if you spend a lot of time in-doors or not. Each year has 120 game days, and there are a total of three years to the main game. Upon completion of the three-year task, you're given the option to continue playing the game and living in the town permanently. One would think after 120 days of repeating tasks one would want nothing more than to throw the game out the window, but if you're someone who likes to go through a game completing every minuscule task and getting every penny of value out of a game, then the option is there.
To new Harvest Moon players and nostalgic oafs such as myself, this game is a great buy for the PSP. You wouldn't think a farm-life simulation could be so enjoyable, but undeniably, this game will keep you busy as you play through, and have you considering a career as a farmer. If you're looking for a new and innovative twist on regular Harvest Moon convention, perhaps you should pick up Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon, as that'll likely suit your needs.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
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