E3 2015 – Reap what you sow in Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memory

Apologies for the dark and ominous title there, folks. Harvest Moon games are anything but from the outset. In fact, they’re probably the happiest looking games you might jump into. But upon closer inspection, they are pure, concentrated evil. Don’t trust that cow. It only looks cute to lure you into its grasp!

Nah, I’m just kidding. It’s just that Harvest Moon has always been a hallmark of easygoing games that do become incredibly involved the further you get into them. I, for one, plead guilty to falling in love with Harvest Moon, starting with its first release outside of Japan back on the Super Nintendo, moving on to GameBoy a while later, and then once again with the Nintendo 64 game. The latter was probably my biggest crush with the hardworking farm lad simulator, and the one with which I had my fill of the franchise for a long while.

Given that I sometimes fall back on old habits, it’s a good chance the newest Harvest Moon game will grab me. No, it doesn’t look much different from previous iterations, but it’s its core concept that’s drawing me in. The version we got to check out at Natsume’s lovable E3 booth — under the watchful gaze of localization manager Adam Fitch and Natsume’s VP of Operations, Graham Markay — was featured on tablet devices and draws much of its gameplay from the very first Harvest Moon game.

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Titled Seeds of Memories, it’s basically a nostalgic take on the franchise, which has seen its share of convoluted additions in recent years, the main reason I’ve tended to avoid giving them a shot since my glory days on the Nintendo 64. Seeds is turning the clock back to simpler times,  though, by once again tasking you with revitalizing a run down farm. Back in my days with Harvest Moon, that meant planting crops and slowly bringing in life stock, which in this new “old” version is also the means of befriending the locals and thus earning, lo and behold, the Seeds of Memories.

While not exactly sure out of the demo what these seeds will actually do in game, they seem to play a big role, and for the most part will be one of the things you’ll have to focus on besides your building up your farm. While it wasn’t clear what their exact function will be, it’s to be assumed you’ll be able to plant them, and the more you manage to earn through your farm and friendship with the townsfolk.

And much like previous games and the bane of my pathetically single virtual Harvest Moon existence — hey, hey, they certainly do not reflect those of real life me, mind — you’ll once again have a chance to court a companion via gifts, flirts, or by just being good at the various things that are involved in running a farm. There will be up to ten possible suitors in the game, each with their own likes and dislikes, so even if you are a lost cause like me, you’ll probably find someone to shack up with.

It’s a lot of work, surely, but I’m more than willing to jump back into Harvest Moon, if the demo is any indication of what the final version will look like. It was colorful, cute and easy enough to pick up, do the daily in game chores and put down that it might just fit in well with what I currently love to play daily. We’ll have more coverage on Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories closer to its release on Wii U, Steam, and mobile devices later this year. Farmer’s promise!

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