Today I’m doing a review for Harvest Moon: Animal Parade. Animal Parade is for the Wii and has a predecessor, Tree of Tranquility (which I will review at a later time.) Fair warning: I haven’t 100% completed the game. For those of you familiar with Harvest Moon, you know that some don’t really have a story line at all and almost every single game never really ends. I have completed the story line, but not all the extra stuff that comes along with a Harvest Moon game. For those of you unfamiliar with Harvest Moon, I recommend you Google it. I don’t think you would enjoy me rambling on and on about it but if someone thinks otherwise feel free to mention it in the comments and I’ll make a special post just explaining Harvest Moon.
Plot: The game starts off with your selected character riding in the back of a hay wagon. Accompanying you is a little orange sprite named Finn. He nags you the whole way to Castanet about hurrying up and meeting the Harvest Goddess. You finally arrive in Castanet at your new farm (which is in dire need of some repairs) and the mayor, Hamilton, greets you and whatnot. After this, Finn again nags you to go visit the Harvest Goddess. You encounter several bumps along the road trying to get to her spring, but eventually you make it there and she tells you the land is dying and to restore it you need to ring the 5 bells to summon the Harvest King, who is currently not around and is the only one powerful enough to restore the land. So now it’s up to you to track down the bells and save your home. Of course, you can take as long as you like doing everything, but some features (such as the hot spring, parts of the mines, even characters) are unavailable until you ring a certain bell.
Gameplay: The controls are almost identical to those of Tranquility with only a couple changes. The changes are so slight that it’s easy to forget the changes if you play them back to back. Time in Parade passes much slower than in Tranquility. It passes so much slower that I can finish everything I have to do in a day, do extra stuff, and still have time left over. I never really had a problem with it though. A rather annoying change is that you can’t prevent typhoons that destroy your fields. In Tranquility, you could reset in the morning if you didn’t like what the weather was going to be the following day. That isn’t the case with Parade. It seems that they combated this in a way by making it super easy to repair your fields with each seed packet only containing one seed. Now, something they have only done with one other game recently, is reusing the characters from a previous game (Tranquility) and adding a few new ones. Personally, I loved this. I loved the characters from Tranquility and was super excited to see them used again. What I didn’t love was how darn long it takes to befriend everyone. It takes almost an entire game year of giving someone a favorite gift item everyday to get them to 10 hearts. But with the animals it’s a whole different story. In about half that time, you can get an animal up to 10 hearts. Guess it’s not called Animal Parade for nothing.
Graphic Quality: Now, it is a Wii game, so naturally the quality of the graphics will be better. It seems brighter than Tranquility, which is really nice. I’m a big fan of nice, bright colors in a game.
Art Style: Hands down, I think this has the BEST scenery of any Harvest Moon/Rune Factory game I have played. They did a marvelous job with Castanet. I can’t really explain what it’s like, but it’s beautiful. The characters pretty much look the same as they did in Tranquility, although they did mess up Owen’s head… It’s a little out of proportion with the rest of his body if you know what I mean.
Pacing of Story: The pacing is rather uneven in my opinion. Some of the bells took no time at all, some took a decent amount of time, and some of them took forever to complete. It would have taken me a lot longer if I hadn’t had the game guide. All in all, it took me about 3 1/2 seasons to complete the main story line. But since time passes rather slowly, 3 1/2 seasons is a decent amount of time to finish I suppose.
Customization: The basic ability to name your character, farm, animals, and eventually kids is nothing new. You can change your clothes as well as your kids’, buy new furniture for your house, move the furniture around, and change the interior and exterior (different colors and styles.) Quite a bit more customization is available than in earlier Harvest Moon games.
Difficulty of game: Really, no Harvest Moon game is super hard. They’re just not meant to be. Some of the bells took a while more because they were time consuming than hard. Items in the game are priced a little high so it can be a challenge getting the money for everything. It was however hard to befriend people. Mainly it was just time consuming, but some of the favored items were hard to come by which makes it an even lengthier process.
Music soundtrack: I haven’t heard some of the tracks in a while, but from the ones I do remember, I remember liking them. The Fugue Forest track is rather catchy in my opinion. A nice feature was the music changing at night to better fit the atmosphere. There are actually very few soundtracks in any of the Harvest Moon/Rune Factory games that annoy me.
Price of game: You can buy the game new for $20 at Gamestop. I’m not sure how much the guide is, but I would definitely recommend buying it. Another option is using an internet guide, such as Ushi no Tane, but I prefer having an actual book.
Lasting Appeal: I cant’ really say since I haven’t finished all I would like to yet. I suppose in a way it has a decent lasting appeal if I still have stuff to do after finishing the main story line.
Stars out of 10: A 9 from me. I’m docking a full point because it shouldn’t take so long to befriend people. It bugged me that much. I know that in real life it takes time to become friends with people, but this is a video game. Typhoons don’t happen often enough anyway for it to be a big problem and I’m rather rich in the game so it isn’t too bad patching up the fields.
Final consensus: I really enjoyed the game and it is a must play for any Harvest Moon fan. It’s also a good starter game for those unfamiliar with Harvest Moon.
Disclaimer: We do not own, nor are we affiliated with the makers of Harvest Moon and Rune Factory, the writers of the game guide, Google, Ushi no Tane, Gamestop, nor anything else mentioned here. They all belong to their respective owners and creators. This is strictly a personal review of the product. We were not paid to review this product, nor were we given the product by any company. The Girly and the Geeky blog is not associated with the aforementioned companies/websites in any way, nor is there any profit made for the blog, it’s owner, and other writers.