Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon is another game in the all-time well-known Harvest Moon franchise on the Nintendo DS platform. The game is set in a medieval, fantasy world where you not only get to lead a life of being a farmer, planting and harvesting crops but also the life of an adventurer (or hero) who explore and fight (as well as tames) monsters in a series of dungeons.
The storyline of the game is quite predictable in my opinion, but the dungeons are fun yet simple. Not too much grinding to level up I’d say. Similar to other Harvest Moon games, there are many villagers for you to interact with, as well as 11 girls of distinctive different personalities for you to ‘woo’ and get married with.
The farming experience is exactly like those of Harvest Moon, regardless of the platforms you played on before — PlayStation (PS), Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, etc, they all share the same farming experience.
Remove the junk using whichever method, such as chopping the branches using the axe or cutting the weed using the scythe, and then till the field using the hoe. After which, stand in the middle of the ‘9 squares’ to drop your seed. Then, you will collect water from the nearby well using your watering can, and water your plans. It’s exactly the same.
Taking Care of Animals
This is very different from all of the past games in the Harvest Moon franchise. In the typical Harvest Moon games, players get to buy cows, sheep and chickens. However, in Rune Factory, players tame monsters instead. Monsters such as Wooly will allow players to cut their fur just like sheep.
Well, of course, there are monsters that give you milk and eggs too, just like cows and chickens. The twist is there, but the essential base is still the same — milk, wool and egg; which you can process into upgraded products for higher selling prices or other purposes for your creativity.
There are two types of monsters, one for producing as mentioned above, and another type for fighting. You can bring them to dungeons with you, and well, you can even ride on them for higher moving speeds.
So you basically just have to build enough huts on your farm in order to tame the monsters. Some of these monsters can help you to till your field, water your plants or collect your harvest too.
This is the interesting part which does not exist in any other Harvest Moon games. Players get to crawl/run the dungeons, explore new things and dig ores for upgrading their tools or to simply sell for money.
In addition to simply hacking and slashing, players could cast magic spells as well! However, these spell books are pretty expensive and take up one space in the inventory (bag) for each spell. Therefore, it would be wise for the player to consider carefully before making any purchases. My advice is to always save before buying any spell – try it in the dungeon and see if it is worthwhile. Take note of the energy spent also, because casting spell drains up the ‘shared’ energy bar consumed by players when they take any action (such as tilling the soil).
Do It Yourself (DIY)
In this game, players are able to do things themselves after gathering sufficient materials and buying (learning) the recipe from the library. Yes, the library sells books — both magic books and DIY books. Magic books were mentioned previously, DIY books are books that allow you to learn to cook different recipes (yes, there is no TV), craft different weapons, accessories and etc. It’s pretty awesome, but you have to be patient in hunting the stones.
At first it is not that hard, but in time to come, you will need a lot of stones and items to craft good stuff, some of which require you to hunt monsters in the dungeon and pray that they drop the ‘correct ingredient’ that you need.
Here comes the best part! In every Harvest Moon game, players love to woo the girls by gifting and talking to them during events. There are always a number of girls in the game that the player can woo, and in this game, the feature remained and there are more girls than before! There are 11 bachelorettes in total.
- Bianca — the daughter of Jasper, the richest man in town. She’s cute, but her attitude is not very good, I guess. The first thing she speaks to you about is commenting on how smelly your house is. :’) Oh and she will not appreciate anything you gift her… so if you like her, simply talk to her everyday :p
- Lara — the daughter of Wesley, the priest in the town. She is a nurse at the clinic (as usual, all Harvest Moon games have to have a very caring nurse for you to woo). She’s nice and is always worried about your health. If you want to woo her, she likes strawberries 🙂
- Melody — owner of Gigant Hot Springs in the town. She is aspired to become a mage, so she dresses like one. If you like her, take a bath every single day — it only cost 10g. 😉
- Mei — a foreigner who stays at the inn. It’s rumoured that she is over 100 years old O.o But well, she likes most (almost all) fish. So if you want to woo her, make sure you gift her some fish every day.
- Felicity — the daughter of Godwin, the mayor of the town. She has an illness that even the doctor cannot heal. 🙁 She is very nice and friendly and is always thinking of ways to help the town. If you like her, make sure you talk to her more during events and festivals.
- Mist — the first girl that appeared in the game, the first person that the main character (player) know in the game, and the cover page girl as printed on all the advertising poster. Naturally, she would be the ideal girl for the player to woo, I guess? She’s weird at times but definitely nice. If you like her, give her radish or clover.
- Sharron — the rarest villager in the town. She is usually hanging around near Kasimir Ruins (you will know where when you play the game :p) by herself. If you like her, gift her Fire Crystals.
- Tabatha — the only non-human character you can woo in this game. She’s an elf who is working as a maid in Jasper’s house. She is the personal maid of Bianca (see point number 1). If you want to woo her, go ahead and build huts using 1000g and 100 lumber, and then tame more monsters and be good friends with them.
- Tori — the daughter of Lady Ann, the owner of the inn in town. She works in the library and is the ‘point of contact’ that tells you whether any magic book has arrived in the library (save you the trouble of clicking on every shelf all the time). She is extremely shy with many “…” in the dialogue box. If you like her, read more books. 🙂
- Rosetta — the daughter of Jean, the owner of the Material items shop in town. She collects the items from your shipping bin daily at 5 pm. Her father said that she’s a tomboy, but I think she’s fine. Very cute girl. She likes corn on a cob (you can cook it when you have a kitchen and learnt the recipe from the library), or you can simply grow strawberries by yourself to gift her.
- Lynnette — a commander of the military of the Sechs Country, which is the enemy country of the town where this game takes place in. She is very curious towards village life. I got no idea how to woo her, but some online sources said that you just need to have 8 or more friendship points with everyone.
Raising friendship points is not difficult — you just have to speak to everyone almost every day. Take note of their birthday via your calendar and give them something. And yes, talk to everyone during events and festivals, they will all be standing along the corridor so it’s easy. I have almost every’s friendship points at 5 or more during 1st year Fall if I never remember wrongly. 😉