I have a bit of a confession to make. I am somewhat addicted to those Facebook farming games. Yes, I know, they’re dreadful time wasters, but they suit my current play style perfectly as I can just dip in, harvest a few crops, and then dip out again. So when Nintendo sent me the information on their latest 3DS release, Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, and it mentioned farming, I wanted to try it. “Care for animals” they said. “Forge friendships and shape the land” they said. It sounded right up my street, so I gratefully accepted the free download code, and set about installing it on my 3DS.
I discovered pretty quickly that Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley is nothing like any other farming game I’ve played before. There is both more story and more depth to the game. It’s very easy to get started – you just need to decide whether you want to play a male or a female character, choose your name and you’re off. The first part of the game plays like a tutorial – you discover the Lost Valley, which is covered in snow, and learn how to tend the ground and plant crops. You are given a series of small tasks to complete, and these lead you through the activities you need to undertake, and the story that goes alongside.
After you complete the introduction section, things change, and you are given a much more free rein to play the game how you choose. At this point it starts feeling a bit more like Minecraft than a farming game, as you can change the landscape to make the Lost Valley look they way you want. You don’t get completely abandoned though – characters come to visit from time to time asking you to complete tasks for them, and I’m told animals start arriving soon, although I’ve obviously not cultivated my valley enough for that yet!
I am finding Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley a fun, diverting little game. It’s something I can dip in and out of, but at the same time it has enough depth and things to do that I can play it for as long as I like, and I haven’t yet got bored. Despite it being rated as PEGI 3 it’s not something either of my kids have shown any interest in playing at all, and I’d say you need to be a good reader with an idea of strategic planning in order to get the most out of this game. I also found some of the controls a little fiddly – there’s a definite skill in getting yourself positioned to work on the right square of land. Probably not one for young kids then, but plenty of fun for older kids or adults who fancy their skills at transforming a barren valley into a farming goldmine!
Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley is now available in stores and online in the Nintendo eShop. It’s currently available on Amazon (affiliate link) for £32.86 at the time of writing. As usual I recommend shopping around to compare prices before buying.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley for review purposes. All words and opinions are my own. the Amazon link in this review includes my affiliate ID – if you make a purchase after clicking, I receive a small commission at not additional cost to you.