Harvest Moon: Tree Of Tranquility (Wii) Review

By Karn Spydar Lee Bianco 02.12.2009

Review for Harvest Moon: Tree Of Tranquility on Wii

It has been more than a year since Tree of Tranquility was released in the United States and more than twice that long since it was released in Japan (where it was followed by a sequel in 2008). Yet it is only now, in late 2009, that the Wii-exclusive Harvest Moon title has been made available, courtesy of Rising Star Games, across Europe. Was it worth the wait?

Tree of Tranquility begins as a violent storm strands your cutesy alter-ego (who can be either a boy or a girl) on Waffle Island. In standard Harvest Moon tradition, you're soon offered a place to stay and a farm to look after. In addition to your farming and social obligations, however, you’ll be given the opportunity to pursue a grander goal in resurrecting the "Mother Tree" for the good of the island. This is a fairly involved task that will take some time to accomplish, and it's a nice addition in terms of improving variety in the game, but it doesn't change the fact that the bulk of your time will be spent working on your farm and chatting to the locals.

If you’ve played a Harvest Moon game before you’ll know what to expect here: soil tilling, weed picking, rock smashing, crop planting/watering/harvesting, and so on. Crops are laid out in a grid, which initially forces you to perform actions on just one square at a time. This soon becomes tedious, but Tree of Tranquility offers a solution: as you become more proficient with your hoe, for example, you can till multiple squares in a single movement. Not only does this minimize tedium, it maximises stamina, the all important stat that determines how much you can accomplish in a single day. This is especially useful early on in the game when stamina is scarcest.

Screenshot for Harvest Moon: Tree Of Tranquility on Wii

After a while you'll be able to start raising livestock. Everything from cows and sheep to ostriches (!) can be reared, and each produces sellable produce or serves as a trusty steed. Raising animals, however, requires buildings (such as coops and barns) as well as empty land. Both of these must be purchased, along with seeds and other items, from Waffle Island residents. Ultimately, you'll need to spend a good deal of time chatting up the locals if you want to get ahead. Tree of Tranquility offers a decent map-based interface for locating residents (who move about regularly), but navigating the island suffers as the result of another issue: loading times.

Waffle Island is a fairly large place but it's broken down into a series of smaller areas, moving between each of which results in loading times spanning multiple seconds. This might not sound like much on paper screen, but it soon adds up to frustration. Certain features - such as a phone that allows you check if shops are open, or even place orders - eventually help to alleviate the nuisance, but nothing does away it with completely. It's a shame, too, because there's so much to do around the island - interacting with residents, fishing, and mining for gems, etc. - but travelling to do any of it feels like a massive chore.

Screenshot for Harvest Moon: Tree Of Tranquility on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility has all the staples of a successful Harvest Moon title as well as a few new welcome additions, but it's not without its flaws. Irksome loading times, a completely uncontrollable camera, and a slow introductory period serve to severely limit the game’s appeal. If you can look past these issues, however, Tree of Tranquility boasts a wealth of content that will keep you entertained for a great many hours.

Developer

Marvelous

Publisher

Rising Star

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (38 Votes)

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

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