Harvest Moon:Sunshine Islands
No I'm not dead and I'm most certainly not done doing reviews. In fact now that I have a youtube channel (Yay shameless whoring http://www.youtube.com/user/IAmTheAmazingPJ/feed) I plan to create video and written reviews much more regularly.
My written reviews will be much more formal while my video reviews will be comedic. I will also no longer be giving a numerical score as I now realize what a irrelevant thing it truly is.
Premise: Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands for the Nintendo DS is probably a title that will merit a lot of laughs but before I go into detail I want to say this: its pretty damn solid. The game focuses around a young farmer of either gender who has come to a small island in hopes of starting a ranch. The game is essentially a sandbox with a large amounts of things to do.
Gameplay: The game is played from a top down point of view with the touch screen being used to view your character, inventory, and menu options and the top screen is used solely to display title screens and the map, so its pretty much useless. Everything you do is dependent on the equip menu, four slots that control what four items you can use on a fly. You can pick items off the ground or interact with animals by pressing A but it bothers me that certain items can only be interacted with by having an equip slot empty and others don't.
You do various activities to make profit (the only set goal in the game) such as mining, fishing, farming, and producing animal products but they are all achieved through controls that are the same (The controls are pretty sub par as well, clunky and slow) so they are not very unique but at least there's a lot of events and job you may do.
Addiciting, varied gameplay is only downgraded by bad DS controls and a crowded touch screen.
Story/Presentation: In terms of story the game is seriously lacking from the beginning. You may say "Oh its a game about farming, what can you really do about story?," well Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life had an awesome story and there was no magic bull**** in that game. In Sunshine Islands you are told right off the back that your mission (besides making money you capitalistic ****) is to find magical stones and raise islands that have sunken to the bottom of the sea. However you have no incentive to do so, the only reason I felt like doing so was because I learned (from the Wiki by the way, they never say this in the game to my knowledge) you can unlock more marriage options and crops.
Speaking of the marriage system I have to say its pretty shallow. I mean romancing someone involves almost nothing but gift-giving but that's in every Harvest Moon game; its shallow because none of the romance options are really fleshed-out characters. The wiki pretty much summarizes why I chose my wife: "most people are interested in her daisy-duke shorts, open shirt, and tall boots." Despite this the atmosphere of the island is nice and tranquil and some of the character are fun to talk to and their dialogue is well written. Its seems that Harvest Moon lore (if you could call it that) is also present and it ties well to other games.
While some character interesting, they are few and far between. The story in the game is lacking in every respect. The environment and ideas of magic are cool but its seems like they could be better explored.
Visual/Audio: Do you like pixels? Well Sunshine Islands is one of the most pixelated games on the DS. The graphics are very stiff (even for DS standards) and the only good art direction is from the drawn character models you get when engaging in conversation. The music is also VERY repetitive and dull; I drowned it out from conscious thought by hour two. Very short explanation but how do you summarize a meal of two ingredients?
With a lazy visual design and music more 'Meh' than a Linkin Park 3 song album, Sunshine Islands is just not very good graphically or visually.
I guess it may seem that I didn't like the game but I actually like (maybe even really like) Sunshine Islands and I rate it as my favorite DS game (keep in mind I haven't played a single Pokemon DS game). I still play it time from time because of its addicting, simple nature.
-Variety of things to do
-Addicting gameplay formula
-ITS NOT FRANTIC FARMING
-Bad control scheme and menu system
-Lazy graphic style
-Shallow romance and friendship system (almost Fable 2 bad)
Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands for the DS is a descent installment in the franchise whose faults can be forgiven. You will get a good amount of entertainment for your money!
I used to love this game as a kid. Wish they would release this on the PC.
yeah that would be cool and the potential for modding would be tremendous.
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