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Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is the latest release in a series of simulation games that all focus on farming, raising livestock, and finding a spouse. While this E-rated game has no offensive material, it's a game with frustrating controls and a reward system that is slow to reveal new content. As such, it is a tremendous time suck for children without much corresponding reward. The online portion is for uploading your records so as to compare your progress through the game to others.
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What's it about?
The Harvest Moon series of video games is celebrating its 10th anniversary with the release of HARVEST MOON: ISLAND OF HAPPINESS for the Nintendo DS. This game continues the series' tradition of providing a farming simulation where you are tasked with raising crops and livestock, and interacting with your community in hopes of finding a spouse. In this version, you are shipwrecked on an island along with others.
You can choose to play the game as a cute anime-style girl or a boy.You play the game by managing your time everyday between your chores and talking to people while buying needed items or giving presents. In the beginning, you must clear fields of stones and wood so that you can till the soil and plant seeds. After you have harvested enough crops or made money by running around and collecting wild grasses, you can build a chicken coop or other building for livestock. While the animals bring in more money, they also require daily attending. Over time, you can unlock more of the island to explore.
Is it any good?
While this simulation seems interesting at first, your jobs quickly become tedious and repetitive. And the new content unfolds at a snail's pace. But what's worse is that the game controls don't work well. This is a stylus-controlled game where it is difficult to make the stylus do what you want. For example, when you want to clear land or water plants, you must move your character around so that a purple square lands on the space you want to work. Unfortunately the purple square jerks around a lot as the character moves, so that it can take multiple tries to get it to stop where you want it to. This game will frustrate all but the most patient of players.
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