Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the visually adorable Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar is a detail-oriented farm simulation that may be too complicated for younger players. It is also a slowly-paced game, so kids without the patience to see through a long and intertwined story might want to stay away. The content is generally child-friendly, with very sweet, earnest characters. Alcoholic beverages can be consumed, though (without resulting in drunkenness), and it's worth noting that characters can get married and have babies (though nothing involving the latter is depicted visually).
What's it about?
HARVEST MOON: GRAND BAZAAR begins with the same story as almost every other game in the series: You are a newcomer to a small town, about to start up your own farm. And just as in other Harvest Moon games, you will socialize with neighbors, woo boyfriends/girlfriends, attend festivals, start a family, etc. The big difference here is that you can't just sell your produce by tossing it into a bin: You have to run a farm stand at the local bazaar, selling your crops as well as recipes you cook, items you find, flowers you pick, etc.
Is it any good?
Getting to run your own farm stand in Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar is a fantastic new feature that adds so much depth to this long-running (and sometimes repetitive series). Fans of the Harvest Moon games should love this new twist, which layers on a whole new money-management strategy aspect to the game. And newcomers to these farm sims will have a deeper playing experience than they would have by picking up one of the older titles. The open-endedness of the game allows for some nice exploration and a true customization of your experience. The characters here are also all new (no recycling of characters, as has been done in some previous HM games), and are on the whole a very likable bunch. The farming itself may have been turned into harder work than before, but the ability to sell things other than crops adds a lot of much-needed variety. This is one of the best Harvest Moon games in a long time.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the experience of playing a game like this -- with a generally positive, friendly attitude and no real "action," per se -- differs from playing a game that revolves around violent action. Can a slower-paced game, like Harvest Moon, be just as much fun?
In the game, you can play as either a boy or a girl. Would you ever play as the opposite gender? Why or why not? What might you learn from doing so?