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Parents' Guide to

Harvest Moon: Mad Dash

By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Solo/co-op puzzler emphasizes speed over strategy.

Harvest Moon: Mad Dash Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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If your love of this farming simulator stems from its chill vibe, then this might not be the game you were hoping for. Harvest Moon: Mad Dash is anything but relaxed. Its time-focused levels -- many of which last just a minute or so -- are more likely to induce stress than a feeling of zen. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it stands in heavy contrast to what has made Natsume's series so popular in the past. The good news is that the play mechanics are more or less solid. The controls are simple and responsive, and tasks are intuitive. The challenge comes in figuring out how to get around the field effectively (obstacles such as rocks, barrels, and fences can impede your path), and figuring out what your next move will be before you finish your current one so that you waste as little time as possible. There's never a moment that you shouldn't be doing something, and usually you should be doing at least two things: moving and planning. If you're playing with a partner, add communicating to the mix, because multitasking is a very real thing in this game.

Assuming you're cool with the rapid pace -- it's pretty forgiving to start, so no need to be too intimidated -- then it's not a terrible puzzler. That said, it's terribly expensive for the type of puzzle game it is. This is the sort of game that people download and play for free on phones and tablets, perhaps spending a couple of dollars here or there for power-ups and extra lives. Harvest Moon: Mad Dash's $30 launch price is difficult to justify, especially since it's not designed to be augmented by regular free downloadable content, as many mobile puzzle games are. Our advice: Wait for a (significant) price drop.

Game Details

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