As a seasoned (pun not intended) Harvest Moon fan, I've followed the series through its good times and bad. Though previous games have given me hours and hours of corn-picking, sheep-brushing thrills, I can still lament over memories of reused maps, ceaseless dialogue, or random glitches tearing my crop field in two. If you're out of the loop on what the series has been doing, then I suggest getting reacquainted with Harvest Moon, because the past couple of years have yielded two creative additions to the series: SunShine Islands and Grand Bazaar. Now, keeping the streak going, publisher Natsume is releasing another original title, called Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns, for the DS and 3DS.
There will be new festivals to attend, food to cook, lovers to woo, and fish to catch.
As a new farmer coming into the area, you get to pick between two towns to set up your farm: the Europe-inspired town Bluebell, which focuses on raising animals, and Konoha, an Eastern-themed village with abundant fields that excel at growing crops. The two towns had been friendly neighbors for years, but after a dispute on whose cooking was the best, they've become embittered rivals. Perhaps a skilled enough farmer could end the petty feud?
Whichever choice you make, you will be able to plant crops as well as raise animals, but your potential in these two areas will be based on what town you choose to live in. Each town will also have its own shops, villagers, and festivals to explore. Transporting goods between towns has been made a lot easier with the ability to hitch a wagon to your horse, an addition that aside from being practical is adorable and awesome. While on that note, I may as well mention that this game is introducing a new animal to raise; alpacas (you know, the smaller, cuter cousins of llamas).
Between time spent on animal husbandry and tending to crops, there will be new festivals to attend, food to cook, lovers to woo, and fish to catch (though this time you'll be able to do it by hand). A new feature that caught my interest was the task board, a place you can view requests from townspeople. Completing requests will help build relationships and earn rewards.
While vising Natsume's booth and hearing that the DS and 3DS versions would be released simultaneously, I had to ask what the main differences would be in the two versions. Currently, the 3DS version is still being worked on and does plan on incorporating some of the 3DS features, such as Street Pass and improved graphics. Any details other than that were a little vague, but the months between now and the release in fall will be spent working on 3DS abilities.
Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns is scheduled for release this fall, and according to Graham Markay, Vice-President of Operations at Natsume, they're aiming as early as August/September. This may be a game you want to preorder: those who do will receive a white alpaca plush.