For people who play a lot of Harvest Moon series (or at least the PS one), below is my impression of Island of Happiness. I played the PS version a lot, played the ported version on NDS, played Harvest Moon DS Cute and Rune Factory (also played the one on SNES and Gameboy, but let’s ignore that one). And Island of Happiness… is a tough game to play .__. The info below you can easily find on Fogu if you read through everything there. Since this is only my impression, I’m only going to list the ones that I found surprising (both in a good and bad way).
- Game utilises touch-screen for pretty much everything.
- That heaven-sent hotspring where you can jump in to revitalise your stamina? Yeah, gone.
- Harvest Sprites you can enslave enlist to help you? Gone.
- Things you took for granted in the previous Harvest Moon series? None of those. You have to earn them. For example, if you want to be able to celebrate *any* festival, you have to build the bridge to the meadow (where the villagers will celebrate). Cost? Oh, about 500 lumbers + 10,000G…
- You have to build the town before other villagers start moving in. So you can’t start wooing your marriage candidate from Day 1 (unless you’re aiming for Elliot or Natalie).
- Mining isn’t available from the start *sigh*.
- Earning money seems to be easier this time around. Simply foraging and growing few crops in the first month earned me a lot of money.
- 2 bars, Stamina and Fullness (Hunger). Stamina decreases as you use Tools, Fullness decreases as time goes by. Coloured grass replenishes Stamina (plenty of it around in Spring), food replenishes Fullness. And guess whether you have kitchen when you first started…?
- Stamina/Fullness bar cannot be permanently increased.
- Both bars are always visible. You don’t need to wear a special item to see your stats.
- If you go to sleep with Fullness below 50%, you’ll wake up at 8:00AM. If you go to sleep with Fullness below 20%, you’ll wake up at 00:00PM…
- No TV for weather forecast. Instead, the local ol’ grandpa is your man. Talk to him and he’ll tell you what tomorrow’s weather is, only ONCE per day. He’s more accurate than any of those psychic hotlines.
- That cheat where you load your saved game (of the night before) if you don’t get the weather you want? Gone-not-quite. Weather is now set 5 days in advance. Storm coming tomorrow? Stop whinging and bear with it.
- Crops has quality level now, which will affect their selling price. Quality ranges from D to S. I’m guessing that’s why I got a lot of money, my first batch of turnips was A-quality.
- Weather affects crops. This is both good and bad. And too long to write down. Read the Turnip example to understand how it works. Good because if you manage to control it carefully, you’ll get high quality crops. And if you’ve been keeping track of the weather, and you know the crop’s got enough water and only needed more sun you can just wait for a sunny day and don’t water; save your energy for other activities (like fishing). Bad because… the unpredictable/uncontrollable weather also means your crops will get lower quality easily.
- This time around, Toolbox, Refrigerator, Supply Shed etc needs to be upgraded. Supply Shed, for example, only holds Wood Lumber at the start. If you want to keep your Stone Lumber you need to upgrade it.
- One of the defining factor for quality is Freshness. Anything edible will lose its Freshness over time, which will lead to lower quality. Now, in this game, Fridge… doesn’t keep freshness. Food kept in the fridge will still lose its Freshness over time (at a slower rate). The only Fridge that will keep the food’s Freshness is the highest Upgrade (requires Mythic ores from mining).
- As you build your village, villagers will move in. If you ignore the villagers they’ll move out after a certain amount of time (they can move back in if you fulfill certain requirements).
- Building/Upgrading cost is more expensive, but after all the things listed above this shouldn’t be a surprise anymore.
All things considered, it feels like this time the game’s more realistic (with the whole Food losing Freshness etc). It also means more challenge, as you really have to earn everything. In a sense, I guess it’d give you more of a… feeling of achievement? As you get better and earn more money, you’re not just improving your own house, you’re improving the village as well and you get to see the results from your actions (more villagers moving in, etc).
I guess this game will make happy those who think that the Harvest Moon series have become too easy (speaking about easy, once you get to the second mine in Rune Factory earning money was EASY). But still… it’s a tough game .__.
Have you played it? What do you think?