Would-be cultivators and agrarian RPGamers looking for a fresh excuse to get familiar with their trusty hoes should find no small amount of comfort in a juicy press release stating that Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness has recently gone gold, after vine-ripening in the summer sun.
As the latest entry in Natsume’s subgenre-defining series, Island of Happiness finds a fertile topsoil on the Nintendo DS in which to blossom its unique brand of strategic agricultural design and stilted social interactions. Suddenly finding themselves at the helm of a dilapidated, yet promising tropical property, “players can take on the role of a male or a female, and choose who they want to fall in love and start a family with.” So it’s almost like real life, except you don’t have to deal with unfair societal ostracization for being the only male farmer at the local union meeting wearing a pretty sun dress. Thanks Natsume!
By the look of things, it seems as though the franchise’s well-worn formula has not been extensively altered. Players progress through the game at a pace they see fit, “...harvesting crops, raising animals, and mining for precious gems,” but Island of Happiness deviates from the primarily solitary experiences offered by previous Harvest Moon titles. “Gamers can also test their farming skills against each other and compete for prizes via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.” So now you might actually get to meet the love of your real life while simultaneously wooing a digital dude or damsel under the Harvest Moon. The future, my friends, has arrived.
The title’s release, which falls just ahead of the waggle-enabled Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility, will mark the tenth anniversary of the series. Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness ships on August 26th, 2008 and will retail for $29.99. Furthermore, those who preorder the title through select retailers might even receive a fancy little chicken plush toy. No RPGamer is an island, but that doesn’t mean that a tropical farmer's tan isn’t going to be all the rage this Fall.