This week’s article is going to be a tad different, I will be reviewing two indie games of the farming simulator genre. I fell in love with Harvest Moon at a young age and my passion for casual gaming has never diminished. However, it can be challenging to find similar games in the genre. Sure, we have Stardew Valley and Story of Seasons but, variety is the spice of life! This week, I am hoping to shed light on this subculture and share new and exciting games with all while having a bit of fun. I’d like to pit these games against one another and see who will reign supreme. What game will be most comparable to our beloved classics?
The first game I would like to share is Harvest Master: Farming Sim. It can be found on Google Play and has a similar story line to the aforementioned series. The player takes over their uncle’s farm and finds themselves in quite a bit of debt. They must work the farm and earn money to keep it in the family; not only can crops be grown but players can keep cows, sheep, and chickens. All while enjoying all four seasons, one can also enjoy a relaxing fishing day on the pier or more back breaking work in the mines. I know the question on everyone’s mind is whether one can get married, that was my first question, and I am excited to tell you yes! Players can be either a male or female and there are several bachelors and bachelorettes to meet. Several cut scenes scattered throughout the game are marriage or dating related, one can even see their villager friends fall in love too. I must say the most interesting part of Harvest Master: Farming Sim is that the bachelors and bachelorettes can propose to your character. This is something I have never seen before and I was excited to try it out.
After downloading Harvest Master: Farming Sim, I named my character and dived right in. I am immediately placed on a vast farm and about to head into the house when a girl named Lenna interrupted me. I told her that I was planning on selling the farm, but she was rather persuasive in trying to get me to stay. She gave me the rundown on how everything works, and I am immediately hit with the sense of nostalgia. The background and controls instantly remind me of playing Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town on my Gameboy Advance. Even the slow and peaceful music had a way of taking me to another time.
The controls take a little getting used to but to be fair, I don’t play many games on my phone. After getting the hang of what I was doing, I decided to stroll around the town and was pleasantly surprised with how diverse the villagers are. No two people look alike, and it is beautiful to see. The other pleasant surprise is that one can date either gender like Stardew Valley. Overall, my day of meandering and talking to villagers was enjoyable and I was excited to get the farming started! That is until I was prompted to purchase the full version and I realized I was playing a free demo. It was on sale and I had already invested my time into the game, so I decided to take the plunge. Without giving too much away I planted some crops and was well on my way to finding true love. In the end, I had a blast and will be playing more Harvest Master: Farming Sim in the future.
The second game I’d like to highlight is Country Life: Harvest Day. It’s described as a role-playing farming game that can also be found on Google Play. This story follows Derek and his love Tida, while she is away at university, he must run his business to ensure a bountiful future. He makes money via farming, fishing, and mining and interacting with the townsfolk. Country Life: Harvest Day boasts a game that keeps players entertained for hours. While there isn’t much within the synopsis to go off, I thought a love story combined with farming elements would be similar to games I had played previously. Needless to say, I was intrigued.
I opened the app and was immediately hit with graphics that reminded me of Story of Seasons and I squealed with glee. The music filled my speakers with a funky groove that I couldn’t help but dance to and I eagerly began playing. The game begins with a cut scene that reminded me of a scene in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time; Derek and Tida sitting upon a bridge making plans for the future. Derek proclaims that he has four years to get the farm ready for her return. Luckily for me, the controls are more user friendly and I was able to tap my way around town.
The only real issue I had with Country Life: Harvest Day was the lack of direction. After the short tutorial I wasn’t sure what to do and had a difficult time getting started. However, this is also a sign that the game won’t stifle one’s creativity and will allow them to play more freely. I was also blocked from going into certain buildings because I hadn’t unlocked the cut scene yet. While this was frustrating, it made me more excited to power through and watch all the cut scenes I could. After getting a hang of everything, I really did enjoy my time playing Country Life: Harvest Day and.
There you have it all, two games that can be compared to classic farming simulators. If I had to pick the game that resembled the Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley legacy I’d have to go with Harvest Master: Farming Sim. I may have been duped into purchasing it, but it had the elements I wanted in a casual game. I want lovey cutscenes and the ability to get hitched. I am also looking forward to being proposed to. Overall, they both had their ups and downs, but I would highly recommend trying them both out.