View Full Version : Review Cleril Reviews: Harvest Moon Sunshine Islands

12-13-2009, 06:31 PM
Harvest Moon Sunshine Islands (Sunshine from now on) is the latest from Natsume and it's "Serious Fun" ventures into the gaming industry. Harvest Moon, for those who aren't in the dedicated fan base is a farm simulator. That is not to say that it is realistic, but it does say that it's an original concept. With Natsume being the only company designing these games you may think that they produce the same game over and over, though this is not true.


Sunshine offers very little breakthrough in Harvest Moon's storyline. You are being a guy or gal who decides to start a farm on an island. That's all there is and that's all you'll find. The only other plot points to mention are that you can get married and have a child, but that is your choice and the game never rushes you to do such things. In fact, the game leaves what you do and don't do up to you, for the most part.

Although the feature this game has besides Islands are Sun Stones, which are used to raise Islands for you to use to benefit your farm. You find them by searching for them, or by having 5 chickens in your chicken coop. Basically, as you play, you'll get them, and then use them to expand your possibilities for earning money, by raising new lands.

After starting the game up and going through the process of setting your character up, name, gender, birthday, and farm name, you are given a farm and have optional tutorials to learn how to grow crops. Later on you'll get tutorials on how to raise livestock such as chickens, cows, sheep, and other things like pets such as dogs and horses, among other things.

Of course, to do all these things you'll need time. The game follows an in-game clock and calendar. It's like The Sim's formula for time, every second in our world is a minute in Sunshine. Instead of 12 months the game exchanges seasons for month, spring, summer, fall, winter. With those seasons come different crops. Every crop is only able to be grown in a certain season, except for grass, which can be grown in all except Winter. To care for crops you'll have to clear the fields, till the land, sow the seeds, and then water them daily, based on their needs. Some plants need more water or light in order to thrive. Other plants can be harvested multiple times. There's a nice variety of crops but compared to other Harvest Moon games you'll be missing a bunch.

Weather will affect how and when you work though. Unlike other Harvest Moon games Sunshine's weather is pre-determined a week before hand, so saving/reloading will not change the weather you are given. Some days it will be cloudy, some days a drizzle, some days a typhoon, and so on. Typhoons and Blizzards of course not only destroy crops but spread rocks and wood along your beautiful field. Oh, and you can't go outside when this weather occurs.

As the days go by special holidays come by. Each season has it's own holidays. In Summer there is the Chicken Festival, while in Spring there is the Sheep Festival, in which both have your respective animals competing for who's the best. If your animals win the produce special goods that are worth more than regular goods. Each animal produces something different. Sheep give wool, cows give milk, and chickens give eggs. Not only can you ship these items but you can make them into other things, like yarn, or cheese. To do so you must first by the Maker Shed and then the Makers to perform the work for you.


In Sunshine you upgrade your tools by obtaining Wonderfuls, or shiny rocks. You need to raise a certain island to access a mine from which you can obtain Wonderful Shards, which you need 7 of to make a Wonderful. Depending on the color of the wonderful you get, it's random, you can equip it on any of your tools to increase it's range vertically, horizontally, or just increase it's power, to destroy bigger boulders, for example. But again, it will be a long time before you can raise the island with the mine on it but you won't need your tools upgraded unless you want to raise more crops, but you have plenty of room to start with already.

Obviously you'll need money, which you get by shipping products from your farm and on the surrounding islands, where you'll find herbs and other materials for use in building your farm up. Unlike other Harvest Moon games Sunshine is difficult, giving you absolutely nothing but a few turnip seed bags to start with. Other Harvest Moons usually give you a tool box to store your tools from the get go, but Sunshine makes you pay 2000G for it. Let alone raising livestock, since in order to do that you need to gather the lumber, and funds in order to build, for example, the chicken coop. Even then you can only raise two chickens so you must upgrade the size of your coop, add feeders, incubators, if you want to breed your own chicks, and so on.

I must emphasize that this game is not welcoming any new players to the series. If you've never played a Harvest Moon game before then you may be overwhelmed with the amount of time and resources you need just to get things rolling. After just your first spring you'll be lucky to have a Chicken Coop and three chickens producing eggs for you. You also won't be able to participate in most festivals your first year, since you lack the animals needed. But most Harvest Moon games do that to you, not just Sunshine.

Okay, so do I get it?

You can spend a good 10 hours of gameplay time just to get enough lumber (not money) for your chicken coop, therefore the game will last you a long time, while giving you an immense feelings of accomplishment as your farm and profits grow. If you are new to the series the sheer difficulty and time it will take to achieve such accomplishment may seem foreign to you and will scare you away, or even frustrate you.

If you enjoy sandbox style games in which you set your own goals and do what you want to do when you want to do it then Harvest Moon Sunshine Islands brings the sand. If not, well, go buy Assassins Creed II.

[i]Cleril just spent an 1 hour and 30 minutes just to get another feeder in his chicken coop, for another chicken.

12-14-2009, 04:21 AM
wow very nice review like the style looks good to me

12-14-2009, 06:34 PM
wow very nice review like the style looks good to me

Only $30, which is good too.

Thanks for reading and for the compliment. :)