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 engrossing, farm-based role-playing game requires a lot of time and patience. The plotline, once it gets going, can be very interesting, but kids will have to work through lots of straight forwarding farming simulation in order to see that story play out. The farming can be a lot of fun, but is repetitive, and certain kids will not have the attention span to see it through. This is essentially the same potential problem that exists with every entry in the Harvest Moon series.
What's it about?
If you've played any of the Harvest Moon games before, you'll already know the basic gist -- which never changes from game to game -- the player takes the role of a young boy or girl who takes over an abandoned farm and earns money through lots of planting, watering, reaping, milking cows, collecting eggs, etc. Along the way, you'll also have to make friends with everyone in town by talking to them and giving them presents. The particular plot of HARVEST MOON: SUNSHINE ISLANDS transplants the action to a small archipelago, and involves discovering mystical \"sun stones\" which will raise new islands up from the sea (and thereby unlock new crops to grow).
Is it any good?
Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands is just as endearing and engrossing as previous entries in this long-running farm-simulation series. Despite being composed mostly of chores and drudgery, the gameplay is somehow addictive. Perhaps it is because seeing all that hard work pay off is so rewarding. And the characters are all so sweet and amiable -- they're fun characters to chat with, and when you win their friendship, you can feel good about it.
Sunshine Islands, like all the Harvest Moon games, is not for everyone. Players who need fast-paced action should definitely sit this one out. And, frankly, people who've played through previous entries in the series, might find this one a bit too familiar. Outside of the island theme and the magic-stone plot-twist, there's not much to differentiate this game from, say, More Friends of Mineral Town. But the similarities between the games doesn't mean they're not each great games in their own right.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the rewards of hard work. When you spend a lot of time and effort in doing something, do you feel better once you've succeeded in your task?
Parents can also discuss with their children the way in which friends are earned in the game. Giving people presents is key to gaining their affection and loyatly in Harvest Moon. Is that true in real life as well?
Also, you have the option to play as a boy or a girl in this game. Parents can ask their children if there's anything to be gained from playing as the opposite gender? How do they think the experience will differ?
This game can take a lot of time to play. Families might want to discuss how to set time limits when it comes to playing video games.