Lately I’ve been back into playing the Harvest Moon 3DS games. Basically, I am attempting to ignore my agony over the next one in the series, Story of Seasons, not even being announced for a European/Oceania release yet. If you’re confused about the new Harvest Moon: Lost Valley and Story of Seasons difference then I suggest you just google it. There’s tonnes of explanations out there. Basically Lost Valley is a completely new game not related to the original series except by English name. Anyway, this post is about The Tale of Two Towns! I would argue this game is the apex of the traditional Harvest Moon format. The game released after it was not called A New Beginning for nothing. ANB changes graphics style and lets you build and rearrange the town and your farm, having different gameplay and controls. I love that game too, but that’s another post maybe. I apologise for my photos in advance, they’re just taken using my phone of the screen so it looks funky. But I wanted to use my own stuff than take random ones from online.
This is my second save and play-through. I played my original one years(?) ago and when I opened it I was completely lost! So I started a-new. I chose a boy instead of a girl this time and the basis of this game is referred to in the title, there are two towns and you can choose to live in either one! (Don’t worry, at the end of every month you are able to pack up and move to the other town as many times as you want and this is needed if you want to complete the game entirely!) As you can see in the lower map there’s the mountain in the middle and the two towns on either side. Bluebell is European style and all about raising animals. Konohana is Eastern and all about crops! My first was in Bluebell so I chose Konohana this time and I must admit that I like this village better.
The two towns used to be connected by a tunnel through the mountain but they started fighting and the Harvest Goddess is kind of temperamental and blocked the tunnel, good going! Will she unblock it herself? Nope! That’s up to you and the builder, Eileen, thanks HG! Basically the towns compete in weekly cooking festivals and the more you participate and win, the more the towns’ friendship increases. By increasing the friendship between them you can get the tunnel cleared up until eventually the towns are connect again (and you don’t have to run over the mountain all the time, geez!) I think the best part of the early cooking contests is the aggressive way the mayors talk to each other. It’s pretty funny! But they eventually become friends and graceful winners/losers.
This game is sooo pretty! Every season is just beautiful and the environments are highly detailed. It’s a pleasure to run around and collect things. Bluebell is a pretty European village too but I think, except for Howard, the Konohana villagers are more interesting to talk to. Especially Sheng and Gombe whose respective love of pandas and bugs make them a delight.
HG pops up repeatedly as you level up which can be a little annoying since it takes 30 seconds or so each time but she is adorable! It’s too bad you can’t marry HG in this version. I’m currently romancing Reina in this play-through because she’s kind of tsundere and loves plants which is adorable. Look how cute this expression of hers is?! In my girl play-through I married Cam the florist but I kind of regret it now, should have gone for Kana! Oh well!
The farming part of the game, I should mention, is good. I find hoeing furrows is really difficult so get that hoe upgraded by Sheng because it’ll make automatic furrows! The animals are pretty easy to care for and you can buy pets that will take the animals in and out of the barn, useful! Bluebell farm has tonnes of room for them and can keep bees too, but a limited crop area. Konohana ends up having a vast area for crop fields, rice paddies nut you can only keep 2 chickens and 4 other animals (cows, sheep, alpacas). Both of them have differing maker sheds too. See why you eventually want to move farms and upgrade the other one? Then you can use both! The way you work on the tunnel, farm, tools and clothes is through the noticeboard. Requests are posted on the 1st of each season for the big ones, only once a season, which means this game takes forever. Taking a long time can be good or bad depending on how you enjoy the game though. You also get constant requests for items by the villagers. Ayame needs poison mushrooms and weeds all the time, Sheng likes material stone, Gombe wants fish to cook with his rice, etc. You have to check both town’s noticeboards for all the important requests and you can work with both sets of villagers so that will keep you busy! Completing requests raises your friendship with the villagers.
Basically everything is integrated and complementary! You buy animals from Jessica in Bluebell, you buy seeds from Gombe in Konohana. There is a general store in both that sell slightly different items (flour in B, rice in K). It’s varied and keeps you busy going over the mountain collecting and visiting both towns which is a good thing! I have yet to get past Autumn Year 2, though, so I still have a long way to get until I complete this game but I only play sporadically so that’s okay. It took me 6 years on and off to finished Back to Nature!
Would I recommend The Tale of Two Towns over other DS games in the series? Yes, except for A New Beginning. I think they’re both excellent games and it’s hard to go back to the older ones to be honest. I’m really looking forward to Story of Seasons which builds on ANB but I’ll fill my life up with this and ANB until the time comes! If you’re ever stuck or want a guide for any Harvest Moon games I highly suggest http://fogu.com which has excellent information!
What are is your favourite Harvest Moon game? What other farming games have you tried?