Alright so this review is brought to you by the same company. NATSUME. They have put out a lot of Harvest Moon games and only one HomeTown Story game. For some reason (like similarities and combining) I felt the need to put these two reviews in one. Now let’s get going!
Story/Harvest Moon: You start off on your merry way to wherever you think you’re going to live when your horse gets spooked and ends up crashing. After you wake up you find yourself in the company of the mayors of Konohana and Blue Bell. They each give you their spiel about why their town’s are so great and why you should live in their town. You notice they don’t get along too well with eachother and decide where you wish to go (honestly doesn’t matter I just went with Blue Bell because you get a free chicken and cow). After settling in you are summoned by the almighty Harvest Goddess to bring the towns together and open up the tunnel!….That she closed in a fit when the Mayors started fighting. Bring their friendship up and open the tunnel and you’ll be everyone’s hero/heroine!
Story/HomeTown: Your Nana has died and left you her quaint little shop on the countryside. You come to see just what you’re working with and a small creature greets you! Saying that they are happy to work with you in making Nana’s store awesome!….Even though he waited for you a crazy long time. So what do you get from getting the store to awesomeness? Events, relationships, upgrades, etc… There is no big thing to build to aside from make an awesome store but let’s face it Harvest Moon sometimes just wants you to make an awesome farm so why not an awesome store?
Learning Curve/Harvest Moon: Harvest Moon gives you everything you need from instructions to items for a happy farm. Depending on where you go will determine what starting gift you get and what you specialize in. If you go to Konohana you get more land to farm and if you go to Blue Bell you will have more space for animals. Tutorials are offered for everything and you are given what you need for your animals as soon as you have animals. Keep in mind your village is not your ultimate fate. You can switch as often as you like. However if you switch over from Blue Bell to Konohana with more animals than the other farm can handle you must leave some with Jessica the other farmer in Blue Bell. If you switch the other way around…well I hope you’re not too fond of the plants left behind or have already harvested them if the tunnel is not complete. Otherwise you would have to go back and forth up the mountain trail.BATTLE SYSTEM WARNING!! While on the mountain trail while foraging you can interact with the local wildlife. However, Some initially may not want to interact with you. Bears and Boars tend to even attack you! Do NOT do what I did! Admittedly I didn’t like being attacked by a bear so I hit it with a hammer. Animal activists can sit down and shut up because I believe if you get attacked you should be able to defend yourself. So anyways, moving on DO NOT HIT THE ANIMALS. They are supposed to be able to give you things if they like you enough. The rest of the game is hurry up and wait while you try to get new things or add new tools to your trade.
Learning Curve/HomeTown: You learn pretty quickly with an easy tutorial, setting up tables, goods, merchants, foraging (which begs the question why can’t the people get it themselves? Since most of the stuff is just sitting around town!) You don’t do a ton with the environment save picking stuff up, buying it and selling it. Most of the game is that and unlocking events. Not really much to it sadly.
Graphics/Harvest Moon: The graphics for Harvest Moon are very clean and very well done just not to the point of crisp unless you look at their portraits used during conversation. This was done to round out the cuddly look of the game (or so I suppose). In this game you get to choose if you are a boy or a girl and eventually your clothing once you’ve helped out Nori.
Graphics/HomeTown: Everything is chibi and big dewey eyes! Its sickeningly adorable. You get more choices in what you look like at the beginning from your hair color, how your face looks, down to what you wear. It’s super plushy looking.
Replayability/Playtime/Harvest Moon: I myself have brought the two villages together and thusly ‘won’ the game. Simple right? Nope! Anyone who knows Harvest Moon knows its truly never done with you. You can still upgrade your house, find a spouse, have a baby, etc. Here you can also buy the house in the other village. Although no matter what village you live in you can still utilize the beehive in Blue Bell (if you built one) or the gardening area in either town. There are even more parts to the tunnel after you’ve finished. I’ve still a lot I can do but that’s the adventure of it all!
Replayability/Playtime/HomeTown: You could theoretically play forever I suppose the only thing you are trying to do it build up Nana’s business. You trigger events and whatnot, build relationships, etc…
Now here is the wrap up…. Harvest Moon A Tale of Two Towns is an awesome game. I’ll admit I was a bit obsessed with trying to get the towns back together. I just wish I knew to go to the festivals no matter what and to save every time I go to bed because of a glitch. Go figure right? It’s a charming game and everything you expect from Harvest Moon… unlike Harvest Moon Frantic Farming. Hometown Story while going in a good direction with the selling aspect was improper in execution. By taking away the ability to use tools it took a lot from the game which made it likened more to Harvest Moon Frantic Farming. However, not every game inspired by Harvest Moon without the name is bad. Let me explain. Innocent Life A Future Harvest Moon for the PSP was a wonderful game. I absolutely adored it. You could do everything in Harvest Moon and MORE! With the aspect of searching ruins and hell even being a robot its awesome! Sure you don’t get to choose your form or gender but if you love Harvest Moon you’ll love Innocent Life…Which I can’t wait to get back onto my PS Vita!
http://www.fogu.com/hm10/ For all of your in depth questions about Harvest Moon a Tale of Two Towns I found this site crazily helpful! Especially in the realm of not hitting the animals….
http://hometownstory.wikia.com/wiki/Items This site helps more with pricing of items for HomeTown Story.
Also I want to put a nice big warning sign for Harvest Moon lovers. Just as Harvest Moon Frantic Farming was not what gamers expected neither is another game I’m about to mention. Rune Factory Tides of Destiny for the PS3 it was supposed to be a fighting inclined version of Harvest Moon. Doing chores for people, fighting monsters, ally monsters, and trying to find out why you’re stuck in the past or in the same body with your companion!? Sounds epic right? Sorry to disappoint but it’s a sloppy mess of a game that I am sad to have even purchased. I’ll admit to pervy games, farming games, Rhythm games, pretty much anything but Rune Factory was confusing and made me question everything I know about gaming. Everything that should be epic about the game just gave me a headache. Pretty sure I enjoyed cleaning out my cat’s litterbox. Well now that that is off my chest. Happy Gaming this Hatter is OUT!