A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Harvest Moon: Animal Parade is a role-playing game that focuses on harvesting crops and raising animals. The game has a friendly, cute art style and takes place in a magical realm in which the player must aid the Harvest Goddess in saving the community from a crop blight. This is an open-ended, player-directed game with no real ending and a seemingly endless variety of tasks to perform, so players could spend enormous amounts of time in this virtual world. There's a local pub where characters can socialize, but otherwise the game contains friendly, cartoony and cute characters and situations.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
HARVEST MOON: ANIMAL PARADE is the latest in the longstanding franchise of farm simulation games set in a magical land. Here, players begin with either a boy or girl farmer with a small farm plot by the seaside near Harmonica Town. With the help of Finn, your harvest sprite - a helper fairy - you'll gradually build up your ranch with crops and animals, sell your wares and develop relationships with the townspeople. The community is also in need of your help in assisting the Harvest Godess, a diety who ensures healthy crops. This is acheived through tasks that lead to ringing five elemental bells. The game takes an open-ended approach, allowing players to pursue their own interests from a huge assortment of choices; your character can catch and raise wild animals, raise (and race) livestock, cultivate relationships and get married, raise a family, cook, go fishing, mine ore, shop in the village, etc. Play itself involves methodical tasks such as watering, hoeing, and harvesting crops, grooming animals and collecting mushrooms. These activities are all recorded and measured, each having distinct values that can earn your character experience points and money.
Is it any good?
This is a remarkably satisfying and deep game. Despite simple graphics and a slow pace, players are given so many options and activities, there's plenty to keep players engaged in for many, many hours. And the game maintains a friendly, playful and good-hearted tone throughout. You don't, for instance, kill your livestock, but use them for wool, milk, and eggs. Moreover, players can scratch an entrepreurial itch and make a big profits, or build human relationships and a family. Or, they can simply explore and try all manner of activities. In short, there's plenty of rewarding play to be had.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the challenges their character faces managing a ranch. Keeping animals groomed, fed, and happy and tending crops can take up lots of time. Was it ever overwhelming or too repetitive? Did you find that you played this game for long periods of time? Did you need help setting time limits?
Each player can pursue different pastimes. Did you prefer catching and raising wild animals, building up your social life, or making your farm and lucrative and successful as possible?
Seasons play a big part of this game, with special festivals in the town at different times of year. What were your favorites? Do favorite seasons in the game correspond to favorites in real life?
You can make profits in numerous ways, from selling eggs, milk and butter to fishing, mining and, of course, peddling your harvest. What was your favorites?
This world is suprisingly free of technology. You have no phones, cars or computers. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to a world without these conveniences?
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