A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
There are strong lessons about hard work, patience, and paying attention to the needs of others.
Positive Role Models
The Harvest Moon games have always had a bit of a problem when it comes to gender stereotypes (many of the female characters are housekeepers, waitresses, etc, while the male characters are laborers or scientists), but here, at least, players can choose a female farmer for the lead role. Outside of gender roles, though, most of the characters are paragons of virtue, and generally friendly, likable, hard-working folks.
Ease of Play
Improvements to the controls make the actual farming actions in this Harvest Moon easier to pull off than in previous series entries.
Violence & Scariness
The possibility exists for accidental violence, if you swing a farm tool too close to one of your animals, it will briefly flash red and make a discontented moan.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
As in most Harvest Moon games, characters can fall in love and get married. After the wedding, the couple will live together and after a certain time, a child may magically appear.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main character can drink wine as a beverage to increase stamina.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.