Monday, September 22, 2008
Surprising Responses in Island of Happiness
There are Subsidiary Farming Characters in Island of Happiness who profess to harbour an obsession with a specific Crop. In Rachel's case, the crop is the Turnip.
In Amy's case, it is the Yam.
For those who imagine that Harvest Moon games ever could be anything but subtle and complex, these two characters provide evidence to the contrary. Even veterans of Harvest Moon games need to be on their guard at all times with respect to characters. Never assume anything...
For example, with respect to Raquel and Amy, one might be led to believe that a gift of the Crop for which they profess a great obsession would be met 'with music' or at least some measure of joy. On the contrary, a gift of a Turip to Raquel or Yam to Amy is NOT advised.
In Raquel's Introduction, she will tell you:
Raquel: This place is fantabulous! It’s peachy-keen! IT’S THE BEE’S KNEES! Oh… umm… pardon me. I get a little overexcited sometimes. I’m Raquel. I work on a farm out by a city, but I’m on vacation! And vacations are DYNAMITE! You know what else is great? TURNIPS! Turnips are terrific! THEY’RE OFF THE HOOK! Oh… sorry. *ahem* Anyway, it’s super-awesome to meet you.
Then: Turnips are a Spring crop. Isn’t that AWESOME?!
Give her a Turnip of any Rank or Quality and she will tell you: This is… For the first time ever, I’m just not very excited…
In Amy's Introduction:
Amy: Hi! I’m Amy. I came here to see how you’ve been shipping such great fruit lately.
My real passion is yams, though. I’m OBSESSED with them. Is that weird?
Then: Yams grow fast, and can be harvested many times. They don’t sell for a lot, though.'
Give her a Yam of ANY Rank and Quality and she will respond: Hey, this is terrible…
In the circumstances, even a common Branch or Stone would make a better gift. For a Branch, Raquel will wax enthusiastic: 'This is KEEN! It's ACES! IT ROCKS THE HOUSE DOWN! Thank you.' For a Stone, Amy will respond (with music): Are you sure? Thanks a lot!
Incidentally, in none of these cases is the response a special reply designated solely for the 'special' item. It is the character's negative response to ANY item she dislikes.
I had given the Turnip to Raquel and Yam to Amy as an experiment, to see if either would elicit some extraordinary response or bit of secret, useful information... I was taken aback to discover that in both cases, the character detested the item.
As far as Subsidiary Characters are concerned, I had thought initially that shipping the item on a regular basis that brought them to the Island in the first place might suffice to keep them there, but this is not the case. What is most vital is to speak to every individual on a regular basis. Ignore Subsidiary Characters and they will leave in droves... They do return after a full season passes, so the damage is not irreparable, but every aspect of Island of Happiness definitely is more demanding perhaps than any other Harvest Moon game.
One could compare the Subsidiary Characters to the Sprites in HM DS/Cute DS to some extent. After all, there were methods by which each Sprite could be 'rescued'; in Island of Happiness, this could be compared to the requirement that needs to be met in order to bring a Subsidiary Character to the Island. Harvest Sprites once rescued would not disappear again, however. Furthermore, one could go to the Sprite Company Tree to leave gifts for almost every Sprite in his post box in order to increase friendship levels.
In Island of Happiness, although it is possible to find many of the Subsidiary Characters at one of the two Inns either in the morning or at night, this is not always the case. There are characters who appear only in a sometimes quite remote location for only a few hours each day... Finding a new arrival can be a sort of Treasure Hunt in that respect.
Nor can you 'rest on your laurels' in Island of Happiness. For a start, every seasonal Crop Festival features a different Crop. You need to grow an 'A' Rank crop of the specified variety if you wish to win the Contest. Unless you grow all Crops in your Greenhouse, you always will be threatened by the vagaries of the weather. In the year when 'the Strawberry' had been chosen for the Spring Crop Festival, I lost ALL the Strawberries I had been growing in my Field because of extreme weather conditions. Although the Strawberry is one Crop that requires only 'Normal' Light, it does insist upon 'Less' Sunlight... One really cannot control the weather effectively in Island of Happiness as it is determined six days in advance.
In future, I shall advise all players that do not own a Mythic Stone Refrigerator yet to grow the Crop that has been chosen for the Seasonal Crop Festival in the Greenhouse if they wish to guarantee that they will be able to produce an 'A' Rank of that Crop. 'B' Rank Crops will not win any Crop Festival Contest. Even though I had Strawberries in my Fridge that had been harvested as 'A' Crops earlier that Spring, they had deteriorated to 'B' Rank. The plots of Strawberries in my field were destroyed by an excess of Water or Sunlight only a few days before the Festival. New strawberry plants did not ripen in time for the Contest.
Success in farming requires a very fine balance in Island of Happiness. You can leave a Crop in the ground to grow further and gain potentially in terms of Rank but you have to make certain that it is not overloaded either with Sunlight or with Water! You can store Crops for future use at a Contest but if you do not have a Mythic Refrigerator, you must hope that their Rank does not deteriorate before they are needed.
I have not had the best of luck with my Fruit Trees either. Every single Apple Tree I planted initially was wiped out in one of the many Typhoons or Snowstorms that my character was obliged to weather.
In other Harvest Moon games, although Typhoons and Snowstorms may occur, they are not that probable. The odds are fairly remote usually. In Island of Happiness, on the other hand, I have experienced both Typhoons and Snowstorms on four consecutive days! That can be brutal...
There is something to be said for a game that is as challenging as Island of Happiness, however. One can reach the fourth or fifth year of the game without having achieved every possible goal. As stated, I was unable to harvest the humble Apple in the first couple of years, although I had many Peaches and even Bananas!
One of my last farming experiments is an attempt to grow Fruit Trees in the Greenhouse. I have been able to grow all Grains in the Greenhouse, but I wonder if a Fruit Tree actually can be made to yield Fruit. When it is fully grown, I intend to set the appropriate Sun in the Greenhouse to see if it will begin to produce Fruit. The problem with a Fruit Tree with respect to Greenhouse production in Harvest Moon is that it requires a specific season to flower and the next season to produce Fruit. It will be interesting to discover if it can be induced to produce Fruit beneath the artificial 'Suns'.