Review by samuellee60

Reviewed: 11/30/10

A Solid Harvest Moon Title

I love the Harvest Moon Series. And, although I have shelled out hundreds of dollars on Harvest Moon games that look exactly the same, I continue to purchase them in the hopes that the new ones will curb my appetite for farming like the old ones did. Unfortunately, as of late, this hasn't been the case. With advances in video game technology it seems the standards for gaming are unbelievably high. However, Harvest Moon: Magical Melody meets the standards of Harvest Moon games set before it and is a new harvest moon to keep my attention for a while longer.

Story: 6/10
Well to be honest there never really is much of a story with any Harvest Moon game. If you've played one Harvest Moon before, you've played them all. This one is no exception. However there is a plot, albeit very small. The harvest goddess has been turned to stone and you must save her by collecting "notes." For more on notes, what they are, and how to collect them, see game play. In the game play section I will really expound on the notes and the story of this game.

Music and Sound Effects: 6/10
Ah, the same old Harvest moon music we've heard for many years. It never gets old. Oh wait... at times it does. There is not a big variety to hear in regards to the music and sound effects. You're going to hear the same song played over... and over... and over again until the thirty days are up and it's a new season. Then the music track changes and you hear a new song! And then you hear it again... and again... and again... and then the thirty days are up and its another new season! Then the music track changes and you hear a new song! Catching on yet?

There are 4 seasons (more to come) and each season has one song to play. There are a few sound effects like when you chop wood or do any of the basic commands your character has at his disposal. The only good thing about the music is you can get a music player and actually change some of the songs so it will not be as repetitive.

Graphics 7/10
I thought the graphics were done really well. It's the same overhead view that the classic Harvest Moon games had, such as Friends of Mineral Town. There is no camera controls. The camera is always in the same spot. This doesn't give a whole lot of freedom and can be a little annoying in a few places but it does not hinder the game. There are a few cut scenes (if you would call them that) that are done alright. They don't show the Nintendo Wii's capabilities by any stretch of imagination but they are not all that bad.

The characters are done pretty good with not a whole lot of attention given to detail. The environments are done pretty well and the colors are bright and crisp. They are really smooth and like mentioned there is not a lot of detail; a lot of round, smooth edges.

Game play 10/10
This is why we buy the Harvest Moon games. The game play is always fantastic. Albeit sometimes it gets a little repetitive, but on the whole there is so much to do you should be entertained for a while. Like mentioned before in the Story section of this review, you have to save the harvest goddess because she has been turned into stone. These little fairies called "harvest sprites" enlist your aid. In order to save the harvest goddess you have to play a beautiful symphony. Well, in order to make the symphony you have to collect instruments. In order to collect instruments you have to collect musical notes for the instruments to play (hence the name magical melody). To collect these notes you must perform certain tasks.

For example there is a note that you get when you pass out from working too hard. There is also one you can get when you catch X amount of fish or grow X amount of crops and what not. So the main premise of the game is to collect these notes. In order to get some of the more rigorous notes, you are going to have to do a lot of different things. You're going to have to farm, fish, and mine to get these notes. You're going to have to raise a lot of money so you can buy new things for your home, stables, etc. There are many different ways you can make money in Harvest Moon.

You can grow crops and raise a farm on your plot of land. There are many different crops to choose from in the four different seasons of the game (spring, summer, fall and winter), and most of them you sell for money. However, you can turn them into seeds and plant them as well. How you choose to make money is up to you. These crops will only grow during their specific season.

For example, turnips will only grow in the spring. After the 30th day of Spring is over, your turnips will die if you have not harvested them. Corn grows in the summer. After the 30th day of summer your corn will die if you have not harvested it. This makes it vital to plant recurring crops on key days (depending on how often they will yield fruit) and to plant as early and often as possible.

Your plot of land (which is called a ranch) also has room for you to build a stable and a chicken coop among other things. These stables and coops are to house the animals you can purchase throughout the course of the game. The animals you can raise are chickens, cows, sheep, and horses. You can sell the eggs of chicken, the milk of cows, the wool of sheep etc. You can also sell the animals for a nice profit when they are mature enough although it is not really a smart investment.

Like older Harvest Moon games, you can get married (there is a nice variety of spouses to choose from) and have a kid. The flexibility with the game play is why fans keep coming back and new ones get hooked to the series. There is so much to do. You have many different festivals to attend that can yield prizes and offer a lot of neat content to the game, and between that, raising money for your home, trying to upgrade your tools, working on wooing the girl of your dreams, trying to collect notes and buy new properties to build more ranches, you're going to have a lot to do. And like mentioned before, the game play is fantastic and extremely addictive. But also mentioned it can get repetitive.

For example, a lot of times you'll find yourself getting up, watering your crops, petting and feeding your cows, horses and sheep, giving a flower to the girl you want to marry and having no energy left for any remaining tasks. That being the case you have to spend $500 of your well earned cash to buy food to eat or go to bed to replenish your energy and it might just be ten in the morning. This can get frustrating early on but the game does require some amount of patience. Overall though, the game play receives a well deserving ten out of ten.

Replay Value 10/10
There is so much to do. I cannot expound on that enough. Collecting all the notes to save the harvest goddess is a rigorous task. Going through the mines and getting all the power berries are incredible chores. If you are a perfectionist the amount of hours you will pour into this game is staggering. And of course you can't make just one save file. You will have to make more and marry all the different women. There is so much in this game to keep you playing. And most of the hours you pour into this game are worth it. You feel very rewarded after you spend so much time and you can finally buy that new item or new building you wanted so bad. The game is incredibly fun and boasts high replay value.

Very in-depth game play
Nice clean graphics
High replay value
Many crops and animals
Lots of fun

Repetive at times
Repetive music
Not a lot of detail albeit clean graphics

Overall I think this is a great game. It is not the best Harvest Moon of the series and it probably won't even make your top 50 game list. But it is a solid title that should keep fans and newcomers of the series interested for a long time.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Harvest Moon: Magical Melody (US, 08/25/09)

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