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Children's Video Game Review:    A Wonderful Life (for GameCube)

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Video Game Review: Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life


For Nintendo Game Cube

By Natsume

Released: 2004

Reviewed: July 2004

Our Recommended Age: 7-up

Our Rating: B+

 

 

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Buy: Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

coverHarvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is the first installment of the Harvest Moon series for the Game Cube platform. A Wonderful Life is similar to the other Harvest Moon games for GameBoy and GameBoy Advance, as well as for the SNES: players own a farm, grow crops, keep animals, and more. 

In this placid but fun game, players take on the role of a rather simple farm boy, and their goal is to raise a family and build a farm—in short, help him to have a "wonderful life". The game takes players on a journey that spans 30 years, beginning with the boy inheriting his father's farm.

There are 3 possible wives to marry, which effectively splits your player's life into 3 possible paths. Will you choose to pair up with the down-to-earth farm girl, Celia? Perhaps the bubbly and energetic Muffy? Maybe the intelligent and quiet Nami...it's your choice. (If only real life were this straightforward!) Players will need to do some wooing of these very different girls.

After the marriage, players beget a son who grows up as children play the game. Of course, his childhood is accelerated, beginning as a toddler, and eventually grows up to be an adult. Players can influence their children towards different jobs as an adult. 

Besides structuring the game by marrying and raising a child, there are plenty of matters to tend to: milking cows, shearing sheep, and hatching chicks are some of the elements of farm life in Harvest Moon. 

Growing crops is an important activity. Players buy seeds, till the soil, plant the seeds, and watch them grow to full plants which can be sold, eaten, used in recipes, or given as gifts. Certain crops are worth more in different seasons, so players need to learn what to plant, and when. Players also meet Tartan, a two-headed talking plant who can use grown crops to create hybrid seeds, which can be grown and placed in the seed maker, a money-saving device that turns crops into two seeds.

Although A Wonderful Life lacks dog training and horse races that were present in previous versions, it remains a pleasure to play and even to watch as an onlooker. Watching your first cow give you a lick is incredibly cute. In fact, a kid tester excitedly reported that his cow gave birth! He had to feed the baby calf mother's milk from a baby bottle. Adorable details such as this one, as well as realistic happenings (such as a thunderstorm) add authenticity to the game.

A female version of the game will be released at a later date. Girls who are interested in the game should probably wait until it is released. The For Girls version will sport extra features.

Owners of Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town for the GameBoy Advance will enjoy the ability to connect A Wonderful Life to their Friends of Mineral Town for extended gameplay and some new adventures. A link cable is required for this feature.

This game is decidedly social—there are plenty of characters to meet (including a mad scientist, a hobo, an archaeologist, a rich old woman, a butler, a metallurgist, and more), and friendships built contribute to the success of the boy's (and his son's) life.

What is especially appealing about this video game is its lack of violence and action. True, it may bore children who are accustomed to frenzied games, but as placid as Harvest Moon is, it's also rich in features. Our testers are thrilled with the game. One tester was pleased that Harvest Moon is engrossing but not excessively addictive. This way, he feels that the game lasts longer because he doesn't play it obsessively. He insists, nevertheless, that it is very appealing to play.

For more information, user reviews, or to buy the game, follow this link:

Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life

 

 

 

Pros:


  • This is one of the few video games that is calm and non-violent.
  • Surprisingly addictive gameplay.
  • Super cute graphics.
  • Appeals to children of virtually all ages.
 
Cons:


  • Becomes somewhat repetitive and less addictive over time.
  • Special events are not as interesting as they could be.
  • Tutorials are present, but younger players, as well as players new to the series, need more clues.

 

        

 

Our Rating:


 

A-

 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life]

 

 

 

Reviewed July 2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Buy this Video Game:

Buy Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life at Amazon.com

Buy Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life  at Amazon.ca

 

 

 

 


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