Do you like to play simulation games? If the answer to our question is yes, then you are in the right place. One of the most popular subgenres of simulation games are farming games. Wondering why? Well, simply, these games are interesting, they represent real-life transferred to the virtual world. The tasks you perform in farming simulation games are really the same as the tasks of a real farmer.
Another thing these games bring is a retro gaming feel. While recent games are very spectacular in terms of graphics, as in all other aspects of gaming, farming simulation games carry something special, a different feel. This is because some of the most famous titles have a really long history (even several decades) and make you nostalgic. Anyway, today we are not talking about history, but about one of the best and most popular titles in the farming simulation genre.
It is a Harvest Moon franchise that has existed since 1996. It has been known under a different title (Story of Seasons) since 2014, but it is still the same franchise. Well, today we want to present to you the best Harvest Moon games you should play in 2023. Below we have prepared a fantastic list, so if you’re ready, let’s get started.
6. Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns
Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns is one of the more recently released video games from the Harvest Moon franchise. Namely, this sequel (for the North American market) was released in 2011 for the Nintendo DS as well as for the Nintendo 3DS. An interesting fact about this sequel is that the story takes place in two towns, centuries before some other sequels in the franchise.
So, two cities called Bluebell and Konohana are rivals, and it is up to the player to choose which team to join. While Konohana is focused on crops, Bluebell is busy with animal husbandry. The ultimate goal is to manage the farm and improve it.
5. Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town
If you’ve ever played Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town, then you know what this sequel is about. The story is almost identical, with this being a version that focuses on a female character. Namely, a young woman decides that she wants to be a farmer and buys a property from an advertisement.
Unfortunately, the farm is not in the best condition and it is necessary to work hard to rebuild it. Besides farming, there is the possibility of marrying one of the local guys. Interestingly, the game was released the same year as the boy version, but in late 2003. Speaking of boy, this one was only released for Game Boy Advance.
4. Harvest Moon 64
We go back a few years, more precisely 4 years before the aforementioned sequel under number 5 was released. In 1999, developer Victor Interactive Software has released 3rd sequel of the Harvest Moon franchise. As it was the case in the early years of the series’ development, the 3rd sequel didn’t get a spectacular name, but only 64, simply because the gaming console for this video game was Nintendo 64.
The story is quite similar to the previously mentioned sequel from 2003. Now, it is possible to play only a male character, who comes to an abandoned and ruined farm. He restores it and tries to manage it as best he can. During the game, it is possible to marry some of the other non-player female characters as well as participate in various competitions and festivals.
3. Story of Seasons
After time travel, we return to something more recent. More precisely, in 2015, which was extremely important when it comes to the Harvest Moon franchise. Namely, 5 years ago, the first game under the new title was released. This is a very important moment and we can say that the transition from one name to another was done really well. Namely, the story does not deviate from the traditional one that was represented in Harvest Moon.
A character who is bored in a big city decides it’s time for a change. He finds an ad in which a village called Oak Tree Town is looking for interested farmers to help them grow. After accepting the challenge, the player’s goal is to unlock a maximum of seven vendors on his way to make Oak Tree Town a trading center. Finally, this game is available for Nintendo 3DS.
2. Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life
Unlike previous games we’ve mentioned so far, this one has a slightly different character’ path to the farm. Namely, the farm is not being bought this time, but is a legacy. The main character’s father left a farm that had become ruined and desperately needed restoration.
It is interesting to note that on the way to restoring the reputation of the old farm, the game is focused on livestock. The goal is to level-up and own as many animals as possible. The game has been available for GameCube, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Network since 2003.
1. Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town
There is no More Friends of Mineral Town, but only Friends of Mineral Town. Just joking. Either way, according to many gamers, this game is the best from the Harvest Moon series. As we said before, Friends of Mineral Town was released a little earlier in 2003 for Game Boy Advance. This is a “male” version of the previously mentioned More Friends of Mineral Town.
Apart from being the best game in the franchise according to many, this sequel is really historically and developmentally important for the entire series. Namely, some of the gameplay elements were first introduced in Friends of Mineral Town. The story develops around a boy who becomes friends with an old farmer. Unfortunately, when the farmer dies, the boy has to take on his role and upgrade and rebuild the farm.
Bonus: New games for 2023
According to the latest information, we will get two more sequels to the famous Harvest Moon series in 2023. Namely, one sequel called Harvest Moon: One World will bring various improvements in graphics, gameplay and the whole gaming experience thanks to the use of a new engine. The platforms on which Harvest Moon: One World will be available are the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.
When it comes to the second sequel, it’s called Story of Seasons: Reunion in Mineral Town. This title is actually a remake of the incredibly popular, No.1 video game on our list, Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town from 2003. Although the game was already released in Japan in late 2019, versions for Europe and North America will become available in mid-July this year.