Harvest Moon: Colobocle Station (Nintendo DS) Preview

By John Boyle 20.04.2006 8

This year marks the nine-year anniversary of Harvest Moon's debut game. It has appeared on six consoles and steadily evolved from a rather obscure farm simulation to an extremely popular and refined game. Now it's set to hit Europe once more only this time on the DS and complete with goodies that are aimed to take advantage of the consoles unique charms. Let's see how it's shaping up...

The Harvest Moon series may look calm. It may look relaxing. It may look like the ideal game to wash away the stresses and strains of modern living and encapsulate you in the unique charms of simple manual labour. Anyone who has played the game will confirm that that is utter bollocks. Harvest Moon is possibly the most stressful game ever created. All these sheep, chickens, cows, horses (well, horse), wife and even little bambino's all depend on you. If you muck up then.... God knows what'll happen. And to make matters worse, a tragedy has befallen Forget Me Not Valley in the DS version.

The Harvest Goddess has turned to stone. "So what?" I hear you cry; well without the Goddess you won't be able to marry any of the fine females in the valley. So no goddess, no wedding and (seeing as there is no sex before marriage in Harvest Moon) no rumpy pumpy... ergo no children and nobody to run the farm when you are infirm/dead/murdered by child for lumping them with this work. So, this time you won't just be running the farm... you'll be saving the day!

Screenshot for Harvest Moon: Colobocle Station on Nintendo DS

The game is not that different from previous handheld iterations of Harvest Moon. You have inherited a farm and you have to run it whilst simultaneously wooing the ladies of the village in the hopes of getting hitches. Running the farm is only very slightly different. The same chores are present, feed the animals, milk the cows, collect the eggs, clear the field and so on and so forth. The change is that some chores can be done via the lovely bottom screen. Things like petting animals; shearing sheep, milking cows, cleaning horses and one or two other animal chores can be done with the flick of a wrist.

This game seems to be more inclined to refining the previous versions instead of innovating. Along with the touch screen stuff you can also now order goods via telephone to save trips into town, you can even hire the Harvest Sprites you save for work via the phone. There is also a teleport stone to zip you around town with ease, which seems quite lazy but there has been calls for something like that. There is also the addition of a casino to while away the hours that you are not working on the farm. A nice idea, but going by experience there won't be much time that you won't be working on the farm...

Screenshot for Harvest Moon: Colobocle Station on Nintendo DS

Graphics are just like the GBA version, with large GC version esque 3d visuals being shown for the touch screen sections. This is quite suitable as the game itself is quite the mix of the GBA and GC versions of Harvest Moon. The character list is taken from the most "popular" characters from each game and even the town itself is a mish mash of both games. It would've been nice to have a new town... new characters but I guess we'll have to make do with the new story.

We mentioned the plot earlier, the Harvest Goddess getting stoned...well made into stone. To fix this you have to befriend all sixty Harvest Sprites dotted around town. This sounds like a lovely diversion to the main game...well not really. You see this actually puts a timer on the revered "endless" gameplay. Once you nab all the sprites it's game over. Best take that into consideration before you race around trying to find all of them, wouldn't be nice to find an unexpected end to the game just as your farm is getting up to speed.

Screenshot for Harvest Moon: Colobocle Station on Nintendo DS

So Harvest Moon DS is looking as expected, the usual experience with a few extras and limited touch screen stuff. This is all well and fine but it hardly sets the gaming world alight and the entire Harvest Moon series is beginning to feel a bit stale with every update. This is shaping up to be the most definitive yet, and maybe it should be the last iteration we see until the guys and gals at Natsume can reinvent the franchise... we'll find out when it's released in the UK in the Summer.

Screenshot for Harvest Moon: Colobocle Station on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

Should be the most complete Harvest Moon yet with time saving features and fun use of the touch screen . However this is yet another remake of what is increasingly looking like a tired franchise and is looking suspiciously like the same game we've been playing for 9 years now. Wait until the reviews before you buy...

Developer

Marvelous

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (18 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

A tough preview to write, so little info and the info that's about shows how similar it is to past HM games. A real shame, was hoping for a new look to the series...

Wow, I never new the original came out as late as 1997!

It's going to be shit and you jolly well know it.

Yup, a late snes title.

This only got something like 27/40 in Famitsu early last year (yes, it's taken THAT long to come here), so I'm a little apprehensive.

Magical Melody on the GC, though, is meant to be FAR superior and is already selling strongly over in the US. Considering the reaction to A Wonderful Life here in the UK last time, Magical Melody should be the GC's last real hit before Zelda.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

It looks quite fun, and I'm getting daily 'when's it out's from Vikki (HUGE fan of Wonderful Life, she practically takes my GC for ransom for hours at a time whenever she's here). I'm quite looking forward to it, but it'll depend on money on whether I'll get it. I'm probably more likely to play it more on a portable than on a home console, it's just one of those games that I feel might be better suited to handhelds.

The japan version was let down by bugs, apparently. Provided that bugs are sorted (which I'm sure it'd be), this should be a perfectly alright game. No break throughs or anything but good old HM with touchscreen playing a part.

I really really am looking forward to this one so I hope it won't be a disappointment :-D

I really like the look of Wonderful Life, and so I don't know how I'll adapt to a handheld version since I've never played any of the others.

Co-founder of the PDSLB - Pink DS Lite Buddies Fraz: Cheerios are made from fairy orgasms.
Guest 28.04.2006#8

I remember when I first played Harvest Moon for Game Boy and how I could never put it down. Then, shortly after, I bought HM2 for Game Boy and that was a great game as well.

As far as the look goes, I am hoping for new ways to do the usual you did in the past couple of games and this is what I will be looking for in this new game before I decide whether or not to purchase.

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