Harvest Moon: Back to Nature
Reviewed: 11/04/2005


A rooster crows. The bleating of a sheep wafts in through the window. A cow moos irately, awaiting her daily feed. It is into this world that Natsume’s ongoing series, Harvest Moon, takes us. More specifically, Harvest Moon: Back to Nature, the Playstation 1 incarnation of this classic series.

Players will start out answering a few questions, their name, birthday, dog’s name, etc. You will take the role of a young farmboy who has just inherited his grandfather’s farm, and has three years to turn it around from the wreck it is into a booming, successful farm. Oh the goodness!

Screen Shot
I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to hit you! Soorrryyy!!

A year is split into four seasons, each with thirty days. Crops you can plant depend on the season. This should all be obvious if you pay attention to the outside world at all. I don’t, really, I just learned today that Spring actually exists… Anyways… Along with growing fruit and vegetables, you can catch fish in the nearby river to keep them in a handy fish pond, raise livestock such as sheep, chickens, and cows, and go up the local mountain to pick various herbs and plants, all in the interest of profit.

There’s also a slight element of a dating sim, present in all Harvest Moon games, wherein you are charged with wooing the local town girls into marrying you. This is one of the requirements to completing the three years successfully, so all you bachelors out there had better brush up on your ladying. Actually, charming a woman in Harvest Moon merely entails bringing her a present every day, be it a fish, showing her your dog, or picking a mountain flower. And what do you do when you’ve won her over? …Sprinkle a blue feather onto her, and hear wedding bells ring within the week. If only proposing was as simple as that in real life. Other than that, there’s loads of things to do during the different seasons, be it mining in the winter, fishing in the summer, spring, and fall, or attending the various festivals scattered throughout the year.

Screen Shot
That guy’s been waiting for me to come out for an hour now… It’s kinda creepy…

The graphics in Harvest Moon: Back to Nature are about what you would expect for the original playstation, nothing too fancy. The backgrounds are fairly decent, getting the job done well. Character sprites are a typical big-headed anime style, and the character drawings shown for dialogue manage to convey a person’s mood rather well. The music is nothing to write home about either, but it is a bit more laid back than that found in more traditional RPGs such as Final Fantasy and its ilk, as it should be.

Harvest Moon: Back to Nature passes itself off as a mere farming sim, yet it’s probably the truest form of role-playing one can get. Not some contrived plot involving some sort of ancient evil being revived by way of four magical crystals, or something like that. Just a laid back farmboy, trying to make a living. Through somewhat repetitive means, mind you. Still, a must for anybody’s library.

-Quinton Alexander

Score Breakdown
Very Good
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Great
Story Below Average
Graphics Average
Sound/Music Good
Replay Value Good
The Verdict: 7