Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon Comments Off

A Man and his Hoe

The game starts out a little differently than the traditional Harvest Moon games. You’re not some strapping young lad come to take over your grandfather’s farm and save the town. Instead, you’re a strapping young lad that has lost his memory and wandered on to a strange woman named Mist’s property. When you tell her you haven’t eaten or drank anything for days, she promptly brings you a hoe and a watering can. Telling her that’s not quite what you meant, you needed something a bit more immediate, she invites you inside and feeds you. Over dinner, she offers you the bit of land behind her house that is going to waste, and since you have nothing better to do, having lost your memory and all, you should stay and farm it.

On the way to show you your new project, a monster suddenly appears! Armed with nothing but your trusty hoe, you smack that thing out of existence. Turns out you didn’t actually kill the monster, just sent it back to the “First Forest”, where apparently most monsters dwell. But something devious is luring monsters to the human world. It’s your job to find out what! And along the way, try to find out who you really are.

The biggest difference between Rune Factory and the Harvest Moon series is the presence of dungeons for you to explore.

Eventually, you’ll get your very own forge to create weapons and armor, as well as level up your farm tools. But in the beginning, you’ll have to depend on the local blacksmith, which takes several days per tool to level up.

Aside from the forge, you’ll also be able to cook, turning the crops you grow into delicious meals that you can either use to replenish your HP (health points) or RP (rune points), or sell and make a nice little profit. You can also craft jewelry, mix potions, go fishing, and cruise the caves to get special items from monsters to help you craft.

There are the basic elements from any HM game, too. You have quite a variety of eligible ladies to woo and marry, each with her own personality that unfolds as you get to know her.

You also have to upgrade your house, a new feature unlocked with each upgrade, like your forge, better kitchen, and alchemy lab.

Another really awesome feature that is new to Rune Factory is you can recruit the help of monsters using a Pet Glove, and they will help out around the farm. One will water your crops for you, another will clear all the rocks or wood, and another will even harvest your crops for you! You also need to tame the monsters that you would gather from, such as a chicken, cow, and sheep.

The backgrounds and character design are beautifully done, although the sprites themselves are typically blocky, as most DS 3-D games tend to be. All in all, this game was a wonderful and refreshing game to the Harvest Moon series. One you could enjoy whether you’re a longtime HM fan, or one newly come to the series. Definitely a must have game for those interested in the genre.

Rune Factory was developed by Neverland Co. and Published by Natsume. It is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB and is available on the Nintendo DS console.