Longtime fans of Harvest Moon aren’t really going to be that excited about the most recent release in the franchise, Harvest Moon: Lil’ Farmers. The thing is, they’re not really supposed to. It’s not meant for them. It’s meant for, as the title suggests, younger players. My kids, for example. My two youngest are four and five years old. They wouldn’t really begin to be able to play a traditional Harvest Moon game like their older sister does. They enjoy watching her play on PS4, but they can’t really read yet. It’s kinda hard to play those games if you can’t read.
Here’s the rundown of exactly what to expect when you download the game. You’re in charge of a small farm. You have customers that need something. It’s up to you to make sure you have the items they want when they want them. To do that you’ll need to carry out various tasks around your farm such as watering your garden, shearing the sheep, milking the cow or collecting eggs from the chickens.
Lil’ Farmers does away with that pesky need to read. Everything in the game is communicated through pictures. If you’re dealing with customers and they want something they tell you by showing you. A little bubble appears over their heads with the items they want in it. Your plants need to be watered. How do you know? A little watering can appears over them in your garden. Everything is communicated simply so that younger players will be able to very easily understand what’s going on. It’s a brilliant introduction to the series for people who aren’t really old enough to play the console and handheld releases in the series just yet.
It’s actually really well handled. There’s no time pressure. No need to worry about giving customers the wrong thing. They’ll stand there waiting patiently for you to give them what they’re asking for. What if you don’t have what they need? Just leave the store and go take care of that. They’ll wait. They’re patient. They want some onions, but you don’t have any? Just go grow them. They’ll be waiting when you come back. It’s nice to play a game every once in a while that doesn’t ask the world of you and expect it in 20 seconds. It gives players the chance to take their time and focus on one thing at a time rather than having to manage 20 different tasks all at once. My wife is great at that. My four year old, not so much. You’re able to take the time you need to make sure you have everything at once, and maybe even prepare a little ahead of time. There are no points to be collected. No overall goal to be achieved. You don’t need to save the world through the power of farming. It’s just simple farming for the pleasure of farming really.
To grow plants in your garden you simply tap on where you want them to grow. They’ll start growing. You can easily shear the wool of sheep by moving your finger around on the screen and then drag it to a bag to collect it. Chickens will playfully leap into the air as you try to get the eggs out from under them and they’ll cluck and peck at the ground as you feed them. Everything in the game is done through tapping and dragging and no motion is very comples. It’s all very intuitive and easy to understand.
We grow things in our house. My kids love to watch the plants in the garden grow over the spring and the summer. My son in particular was fascinated by our pumpkin bed a couple years ago. He’d go out there with us every day to check on the pumpkins and make sure they were growing well. He’d point out the pretty yellow flowers and marvel and the curlicue’s on the vine. Lil’ Farmers gives you the joy of watching those plants grow in accelerated form. You can watch as you plant the vegetables. You can see the sprouts form and then the leaves grow. You’ll see the flowers blossom and the fruit form. The visuals are adorable and stylized, but they all look just like the real plants they’re supposed to be. It’s a nice way for kids to learn and see the process of the plant grow and then be able to recognize that in the real world.
I love Harvest Moon. I have for a long time. I’ve played most of the releases in the franchise over the years. I love the simplicity of the game and the repetitive nature of it. I love having a routine to follow every day. You can do that same thing here, but in a much simpler form. Sure, I’m not going to spend hours playing this game like I would a release on the PS4 or the 3DS. I will however enjoy watching my kids as they grow their vegetables and interact with the animals and residents of the village they’re in now. If you have a young player you want to give a Harvest Moon game to so they can enjoy the same thing you have for years then this is the perfect chance to do that. You don’t have to worry about frustrated tears. They may then grow up to love the series as much as you do.
Harvest Moon: Lil’ Farmers Is Available for $3.99 from the Google Play and iTunes App Stores.