Island of Happiness – Impression

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?

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Keo
    Sep 12, 2008 @ 03:45:00

    For this game I have to admit it does have it’s hard parts that are pretty dissappointing. I only checked bits of Fogu for some general information but haven’t gotten that far in it. This game does have a semi-hotspring like the old Nintendo in which you build one in your hosue -_-;; but yea it’s a building extension. As for getting lumber, I’d suggest just going to pay for it since the fact of just chopping so many is annoying. The fact that you can’t boost the bars is pretty annoying, and from what I see is that when you get married o.O you get separate beds. Which I find pretty strange, since all the other games well it’s just weird. The weather affecting the crops…IS A HORRIBLE SYSTEM though, I mean if it’s cloudy for like four straight days then there’s nothing you can do since it won’t grow!The quality level sucks too -_-;; I mean I’ve been getting A’s and a couple S’s but it’s annoying to do that. It’s a pretty stressing game in that way, and I’m sort of upset that you can’t get the mineral guys haha xD although I like Vaughn..That and I sort of feel they made the guys not as nice looking as the new girls o.O But I got to say I like the events with the guys a lot more since it seems to be more elaborate instead. But this game is big time management compared to the others.

    Reply

  2. Sharakael
    Sep 12, 2008 @ 06:03:00

    True, the stamina used for chopping woods is better spent watering crops. I opted to just pay for the lumber as well ~_~;The bars can only be boosted with accessories made from ores. Which means you need to have mining unlocked… and the floor where the ores are located is quite deep.True, but I found the weather system is an interesting change. For once I’m more relaxed in my approach to growing crops. “Ok, it’s cloudy. It has enough water and just need more sun. Fine, I’ll just use up my stamina fishing.” …but my last batch of Spring crops didn’t get enough sun and died when Summer started. …money wasted ~__~I like Vaughn too; I think after some time he’ll be the only reason I continue playing .__. will probably stop playing after I manage to marry him. Neo Angelique Special is coming out soon😀

    Reply

  3. Keo
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 01:16:00

    lol yea that's what sort of upset me with the weather system since in spring I lost a patch since they didn't have enough sun T_T;; but I've been getting money up on fishing too while trying to do crops on the side xDSame here about Vaughn xD~ I'm sort of curious about the other guys…so I'm thinking maybe I'll go hit on them all too (@_@;; but that'd take a lot of time) and then marry him >D 8D i can't wait for that one! TT_TT ahh so many games.

    Reply

  4. karupaka
    Sep 15, 2008 @ 11:42:00

    From Innocent life where you get most of the stuff for free to this game where you have to buy almost everything is a torture…I hate spending moar money to buy extended stuff TT^TTEven if you walk around the town you could collapse and have to eat those colorful grass that actually could be sell for money…I also like Vaughn, yeah cheap guy who likes fodder or animal food and not bad looking lolol…

    Reply

  5. Sharakael
    Sep 15, 2008 @ 12:14:00

    Usually I keep B-grade grass to eat, and sell them if they’re A or S-grade. Still very difficult to survive though :S Stamina runs out so fast…Yeah, Vaughn😄 When I read that he liked pet food, I went “YES! Finally, something cheap!”

    Reply

  6. karupaka
    Sep 15, 2008 @ 15:47:00

    I decide to store most of the grass now in refrigerator, planning to go mining in winter and they say no grass in winter meaning if I haven’t unlock anything to recover my stamina I’ll need those grass :/Lolol yeah, but the downside is Vaughn isn’t around all week. It’s easier to make elliot happy, give him a couple of crop in a month and look at him grinning like silly.

    Reply

  7. Sharakael
    Sep 16, 2008 @ 06:54:00

    …I forgot that there’s no grass in Winter D: …I better start stocking up now .__.;

    Reply

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About…

Just an otome game fan. ...who spends a lot of weekends playing otome games on PC with a Japanese dictionary propped open on her lap.
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