Ranked: The Best Harvest Moon Games
The Harvest Moon game series, now called Story of Seasons, is one of the best-selling game series on the planet that requires players to farm, socialize, and manage the property. The first game in the franchise was released back in 1996, and since that time, there have been a total of 28 games released as of January of 2021.
With so many games released on multiple platforms, there’s a lot to choose from if you’re new to the series. Deciding which game to pick up and try can be difficult, which is why this list compiles the top ten games in the series, ranked from least to absolute best!
Updated January 8, 2021 by Jessica Thomas: The Story of Season franchises is now gearing up for another release on Nintendo Switch with Pioneers of Olive Town. The series has a lot to celebrate from the past, though, including tons of games from the Nintendo DS era that many fans still find themselves going back to today. Almost every game on the list offers an interesting twist on the classic farming formula, whether it be relocating to an island or solving a town feud. Whether fans have played the games below before or are looking to experience more of the farming world, the titles below are shining examples of what makes the Story of Seasons series great.
10 Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns
Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns was released for the Nintendo DS in 2011 and was set several hundred years prior to the events of the rest of the series. In the game, the two towns of Bluebell and Konohana have become bitter rivals thanks to a cooking competition, and it’s up to the player to decide which is their hometown.
Both towns have different things to offer with Bluebell focusing primarily on farm animals while Konohana specializes in crops. Like other games in the series, players have to manage their farm, take jobs from the local towns, and form relationships with the NPCs. It’s is fun and addicting, but doesn’t add much to the franchise, which is why it falls at the bottom of this list.
9 Harvest Moon: A New Beginning
Harvest Moon: A New Beginning was released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2012 as the final title to bear the name Harvest Moon before the franchise switched over to calling itself Story of Seasons. The story features an abandoned town called Echo Village the player must revive by farming and other methods familiar to games in the series.
Bringing in new residents to the town is key, but doing so will require a great deal of hard work. The Construction Workshop and Town Renovation Plan add the ability to create new and interesting places for potential residents to occupy making this game innovative and engrossing, to say the least. A New Beginning is engrossing and fun to play, but the game can take a while to get into thanks to the extensive tutorials and slow beginning.
8 Story of Seasons
Story of Seasons was the first game to bear that title in 2015 after the franchise dropped the familiar Harvest Moon naming convention. The game is set within Oak Tree Town, a small village looking to find people to farm. The player, having become bored with his/her life in the big city, answers a flyer to take up the task!
Doing so causes the player to move to Oak Tree Town where four other farmers will help teach the player how to farm their new land in the village. The goal of the game is to unlock all seven vendors so that Oak Tree Town can become an international trading destination. Story of Seasons is a perfect inclusion in the series with the only real downside being that multiplayer is region locked.
7 Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands
Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands was a game for Nintendo DS that released in 2009. The game took players away from the normal small-town farm setting and introduced them to an island farm. The game allows the player to pick from either gender and is a step up from the DS title Island of Happiness which also featured the Sunshine Islands.
The game adds in additional marriage partners, tasks the player with expanding the island, and added in rival marriages. Players must worry about caring for their farm while also trying to find sun stones to unlock the other islands in the game, including islands that helped players acquire new animals and crops.
6 Harvest Moon: Magical Melody
Harvest Moon: Magical Melody was released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2005 and the Wii in 2008. The game features two primary objectives for the player to achieve: wed one of the lovely townspeople and awaken the Harvest Goddess who has turned herself to stone due to a case of melancholy thanks to the townspeople’s disregard for her majesty.
The game differs somewhat from the play structure of others in that the player needs to gather musical notes by accomplishing chores and hitting milestones. This will eventually enable the player to create a magical melody, which will revive the Harvest Goddess from her stony prison. The game offered something new and different to the franchise, which made it a fun and innovative inclusion in the series.
5 Harvest Moon: Animal Parade
Harvest Moon: Animal Parade was released for the Wii back in 2009. The game features the same elements and characters as Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility. As the title suggests, there are numerous animals available to the player, all of which can be ridden by the player.
The story revolves around the island of Castanet where the Harvest Goddess’ pond is missing its divine tree. As a result, the island’s animals are departing, and it is up to the player to bring back the Harvest King to the island to help return the Goddess’ Tree and return the animal population to Castanet’s former glory. Thanks to the inclusion of circus animals, this game feels fresh and inviting. It’s a wonderful addition to the franchise!
4 Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns once again took the series in a surprising direction by adding in three separate towns. The DS title released in 2017, with three different towns molded after three different cultures. It introduced several different breeds of dogs, taking pets around town, and being able to decorate your home. The game also pulled in many veteran players with its roster of 14 unique marriage candidates.
The player is tasked with bringing the three towns together and learning to explore their unique cultures. Thanks to the wide range of villagers, there are more NPCs than normal, giving players focused on the more social elements of the game series tons to do and more lore to dive into.
3 Harvest Moon: Back to Nature
Harvest Moon: Back to Nature was the first game to be released on a non-Nintendo console having hit the market in 1999 on the original PlayStation. The characters from Harvest Moon 64 were ported from that title into this game, though they received updated lifestyles, family relationships, and personalities.
Two versions of the game were released so players could take on the responsibility of tending to their grandfather’s farm as either a man or a woman. In the base game, the player is a young boy who grows up to take over his grandfather’s farm, which he has three years to restore. While the graphics are a bit dated, this exciting addition to the franchise is often cited as “one of the best” games on the PlayStation.
2 Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life
Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life was released on the Nintendo GameCube in 2004, but was later ported to the PlayStation 2 and PS4. Play begins on the coastline of Forget-Me-Not-Valley where it falls to the player to take ownership of his father’s farm, and restore it to its former glory.
Much of the gameplay centers around the raising and tending of animals. Play begins with a dog and a cow, which produces milk for 40 days before needing to mate. Eventually, players are given ducks, goats, chickens, and other animals they must tend while simultaneously raising crops to raise money and increase their overall productivity. While the game’s soundtrack has been marked as “monotonous,” gameplay is highly addictive and enjoyable, which makes this an excellent title in the franchise.
1 Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town
Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003 and remade for the Nintendo Switch in 2020. As an early entry in the franchise, the game introduced many of the elements of gameplay that would become staples within the series. The game features play
When the player grows up, he finds that the old man has passed away and left his farm in a state of disrepair, but it has been left to him! The player then begins the task of restoring the farm to productivity while engaging with the other villagers, marrying one, and going on to father a son of his own. Friends of Mineral Town is often found at the tops of lists like this one thanks to its “deceptively engrossing” gameplay that brings players back time and time again!
Next: Moving Out Of The Valley: 10 Games Like Stardew Valley
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Jonathan is a graphic artist, illustrator, writer, and game designer. Jonathan retired from the U.S. Army in 2017 and enjoys researching and writing about history, science, theology, and many other subjects. He writes for ScreenRant, CBR, NerdBastards, Listverse, Ranker, WhatCulture, and many other sites online. You can check out his latest on Twitter: @TalkingBull or on his blog: jonathanhkantor.com
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