Rune Factory games are a fantasy version of The Harvest Moon Series of games. Harvest Moon games are about farming and living a happy life, so does that mean that Rune Factory games are the same in a fantasy setting, yes, round about. I played Harvest Moon on the original Game Boy when I was a youngster (maybe eleven years old!), keen on the idea, however it left me wanting. I blamed the confused gameplay and hard to get my head around rules at the time, I promptly went back to Super Mario Land or whatever I was on at the time then. This is my first time back and no doubt, the series has thrived since I left, but am I still of the disposition as young me? Probably, let’s see!
The setting is thick with Fantasy, you start out on a steam punk air ship with baddies (pirates or bad soldiers) bullying you into giving them a magic stone you have. Circumstances lead you to fall out the ship and land on a dragon’s head. You lose your memory in the fall and the dragon decides you are the long-awaited prince that the kingdom has been expecting. Further down the line, you get introduced to the fact the prince needs to work and learn life is hard so you are given a farming garden out the back to use. As the story goes on, the real prince shows up and makes you keep doing the gardening because he can’t be bothered and that’s really where the game starts.
As with Harvest Moon games and previous Rune Factory games there is a lot of farming to do, a mysterious message box keeps you continuing things on nicely. There is a lot more than that to do, beyond the castle there is a village with lots of people to speak to, beyond that there are forests and caves to explore. You can improve the town, work on the garden, continue the story line of the main story, fight monsters in a RPG dungeon crawl way and even have a sort of romance dating simulator thing too, leading to marriage and family. Though some of these things don’t interest me in gaming, the package altogether is big and the content is good overall. The farming is okay, tasks can get repetitive but the message box prevents it from getting too much like that. The other elements of the game keeps everything fresh overall, probably the best thing being they all play actually quite well.
The graphics are nice for the type of game it is, the music is also very suitable for the game, nice and not so nice when needed. I cannot say this is a bad game, it’s maybe not as accessible as Animal Crossing or Fantasy life, but it can be said it could be deeper than those too. The fantasy and romance setting are a bit twee for my gaming taste, I don’t go for the dating simulator sort of thing in games. The storyline is typical of RPGs which is fine but nothing ground breaking, just having played better stuff twenty years ago puts me off a little.
I can hold my head up high and say yes, I did like this game, to an extent. There is no arguing about the content on offer, there is forty hours at least here, at the price of twenty-four pounds and ninety-nine pence, I see the value, but I also see a challenge for non-fans to get into the game.
For fans I would say this would be an instant buy, but non fans or series newbies should give it some long hard thought, is it worth a gamble? Would I be happy to have paid that myself if I wasn’t just reviewing it, no probably not. However, I cannot say anything is terrible here, so I will just tie up the review and let people decide for themselves, it’s something different, not bad, but maybe not for you.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo 3DS code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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