Monday, May 31, 2010

Strategies for Fishing in Hero of Leaf Valley

Fishing is an interesting aspect of both Harvest Moon and Rune Factory in general, but in Hero of Leaf Valley, a new detail has been added to the experience. Depth is a factor in HoLV and it cannot be overlooked. Some fish simply can be caught solely if you cast your Rod at the right depth. You can fish all Season without ever seeing a Fish that tends to stay in the shallows if you constantly cast your Rod to the deepest point that can be reached.

Depth is displayed on a vertical gauge that appears only when you have targeted a psrticular location by pressing X. Fishing in HoLV requires three different actions even before any Fish takes your bait. You first need to equip your Rod using the Square Button. You then need to choose a target by pressing X. When you have done this, the vertical depth gauge will appear on the right side of your screen. Any fish that are located at the target point will be displayed at their current depth. It is here that strategy must be employed if you are looking for a specific type of Fish.

For example, you can catch Salmon during the Autumn season, but you will not find this Fish in the deeps. You need to look for a target point that displays a fish in the shallows if you are searching for Salmon. There are other Fish, including Pike, that tend to stay in the shallows so a Fish that is displayed at that depth is not guaranteed to be a Salmon, but at least you have a chance of catching one.

If you are looking for Treasures, on the other hand, you need to fish in the depths. This makes perfect sense, as most artifacts or Treasures will sink to the bottom of the sea or Lake. Large Fish such as Tuna tend to prefer the depths as well.

It is very exciting to be able to find Pirate Treasure in any season when fishing at Crystal Bay. In HoLV, the first Treasure or Artifact of any type goes directly to your Storeroom to be displayed. Any duplicates you find or catch go into your inventory and can be sold. Some command a very handsome price. There are a number of different 'Chests' in HoLV. There is the traditional Pirate Treausre, but there is a 'Treasure Chest' as well. There are ancient Artifacts in the form of Pots, Eerthenware, Clay Dolls and other interesting items. There are a diverse number of Fossils as well.

In HoLV, Fish are both location-specific and Season-specific to some extent, although the Seasons that have been given officially for each type of Fish are not entirely accurate. I have been logging my results and will correct any discrepancies.

The Special Fishing Bait that can be obtained either from the Harvest Sprites or made in the Transformer 2 Machine using Lumber is extremely useful. It prevents any Rubbish from being caught on your Fishing Rod in the course of a single fishing expedition. When you catch no Rubbish, you obviously catch far more Fish than you would without the Special Fishing Bait.

The type of Fishing Rod you use will determine the Fish that you are able to catch. The best Rod is the only one that will allow you to catch Tuna, for example. Although a wide variety of Fish can be caught with the basic Fishing Rod, it always is best to upgrade as quickly as possible. Better tools use less Energy and are more effective.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mining Configurations, Before and After

There are two possible configurations for any Chamber in the Mine in HoLV. I made a video about this, but decided to post stills on this site, as even I sometimes forget the configurations and am lazy about it. WIth it here on my site, I can refer to it immediately.

I now have created a separate site for these Puzzles at:

.HoLV Mining Puzzles

I have used Roman Numerals for each Chamber and each Configuration. Thus, the first Chamber would be Chamber I. The first Configuration would be Chamber I.I. and the second would be Chamber I.II.

Incidentally, if you push any Yellow Rock too far and have no way to fix it, simply leave the Chamber and return. All Rocks will be reset to their original position.

The video I made on YouTube some time ago is more sophisticated, but this post at least will give players a quick reference point to the ten possible Configurations in the first five Chambers of the Mine.

My Character, as small as a flea in the screenshots, is standing in each 'after' screenshot at the Rock that needs to be smashed with the Hammer.

Remember always that only the Yellow Rocks can be moved but that they cannot be hit directly with a Hammer. The only way to smash a Yellow Rock is with an explosion wave from a Rock of any other colour.

You can smash the Rocks manually one by one, apart from the Yellow Rocks, but it will cost you dearly in energy and you will lose the items that are inside any Yellow Rocks in the Chamber.

To move any Yellow Rock, stand as close to it as possible until you see the prompt to 'Grab' with the O Button. Use the O Button to 'Grab' it. You then can move to any side of the Rock without letting go of it. Once your Character is positioned to push the Rock in the right direction, use the X Button to 'Push'. When the Yellow Rock has been placed properly, find the Rock that you wish to smash and, with Hammer equipped, use the Square Button to smash it. If the Explosion Wave destroys every Rock in the Chamber, you will hear a fanfare and see a prompt: Well done!

Chamber I.I before and after:

Chamber I.II, before and after.

Chamber II.I before and after.

Chamber II.II before and after.

Chamber III.I before and after.

Chamber III.II before and after.

On 1 Winter in the first Year, the second set of tunnels north of Chamber 3 should be cleared of rubble. You will be able to enter one new Chamber to the left and another new Chamber to the right. The tunnel to the left leads to this Chamber:

Chamber IV.I before and after.

Chamber IV.II before and after.

Take the tunnel to the right to find the fifth Chamber.

Chamber V.I before and after.

Chamber V.II before and after.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Question for Players of Hero of Leaf Valley

IGN has a limit as far as the size of any Guide is concerned. I therefore cannot add the schedules and/or strategies for all 16 Story Quests to the Walkthrough/General Guide. I have created an HoLV Characters Guide which contains the actual text of the Story Quest Events in the sections devoted to the Characters most closely connected to each Story Quest. The actual schedules of ALL Story Quests are provided in the HoLV 1st Year Events Calendar Guide and the 2nd Year Events Calendar Guide.

I wonder, however, if this is too fragmented for players. Perhaps I should add the text of all Story Quest Events to the Events Calendar Guides for each of the two first year. Alternately, I could add the schedules of all Events to the Characters Guide. At the moment, the text of the Events in the Characters Guide includes only the actual date and time when Freyr experienced each Event.

I believe the easiest solution would be to add the schedule of each Event to the Characters Guide. The Table of Contents in the Characters Guide does show where the Events for each Story Quest are included. If I provide the complete schedule as well as the actual date and time when my Character experienced the Event, this should prove helpful.

If any player has an opinion on the matter, please feel free to add your comment to this post.

Here is an example of how I intend to organise the actual Events in the HoLV Characters Guide:

The Tale of the Cake Contest

Katie's Events:

The following section includes all of Katie's Friendship Events as well as all Events connnected to the Tale of the Cake Contest Story Quest.

Katie's 1st Friendship Event

Schedule: 26 Spring - 28 Spring, 30 Spring or 2 Summer:

6.00 a.m. Katie's 1st Friendship Event (Tale of the Cake Contest) (Optional)

Location: Homestead

Requirements: You must have met Wallace previously; Katie must have 20 FP or higher

N.B. To gain +15 FP with Katie at the very start of the game, give negative responses to all three Questions posed by the Harvest Goddess

On Friday, 26 Spring, I experienced Katie's 1st Event when I left my farmhouse.

Katie: Good morning, Freyr! If you're free, why don't you come to the cafe? I'll treat you to some cake!

We now are at the Cake. I cram an entire slice of cake into my mouth.

Katie: How is it? Do you like it?

I nod.

Katie: Oh, good! Well, if you're going to stay here, I'd like you to know that you're always welcome in our cafe! We keep losing business because...well, more people move out of Leaf Valley than move in these days.

Wallace: Oh, don't worry. We still get by. But I hope you'll come by often, Freyr.

Katie and I now are at my door again.

Katie: Did you know that my grandpa and your grandmother were close friends since childhood? Maybe we can be close friends, too! Stop by and say hello sometime!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

'Endings' in Hero of Leaf Valley

Some one who saw one of my HoLV You Tube videos made a comment to the effect that it looked like 'Save the Homeland' with more Harvest Moon activities. In fact, although this is true in a very general way, Hero of Leaf Valley is far more complex.

For a start, I seem to recall that 'Save the Homeland' would end when you completed ANY Story Quest. Essentially, the first Story Quest that you completed would end the game. You then could begin again with some of your assets to follow a different Story Quest.

In 'Hero of Leaf Valley', you can COMPLETE as many Story Quests as you like without any fear that the game will end abruptly, cheating you of the chance to play any longer.

It is on 30 Winter in the 2nd Year that the 'Ending' to the first part of the game will occur.

If you have 50,000G on 30 Winter, you will experience one of THREE endings associated with 'Shoot for the Stars!', the Main Story Quest. The first of these will allow you to enter the third year with the possibility of courting and marrying Alice. This Ending will occur only if you defeated EVERY Robot sent into the Valley and if you decided to rescue Alice and the Funland employees from drowning. The second Event Ending is the one that occurs if you tried your best but did not defeat EVERY Robot. The third ending Event is the one that occurs if you couldn't care less about Alice and simply wish to purchase the Land and be done with Funland.

If you do not have 50,000G on 30 Winter, you can experience one of three other Ending Events. The first is associated with the Nature Preserve solution. The second is associated with the Tourist Destination solution. The third is the ending that will occur if you neither have 50,000G nor completed at least three Story Quests in the Nature Preserve category or three Story Quests in the Tourist Destination category. The last Ending, therefore, is the Event that represents failure to save Leaf Valley.

If you fail to save the Valley, you will be forced to begin the game again, but will be allowed to keep some of your assets. What is interesting, however, is the fact that, even if you succeed in saving the Valley, you have the option to start a new game with your current assets.

In other words, the old 'Save the Homeland' option to play a new game still exists. This may be the choice of a player who has chosen to complete only a few Story Quests in the first game and wishes to experience more Events.

Of course, with the PSP capability of keeping multiple save files, you can save your game before 30 Winter in the 2nd year and then choose to start a new game in one file while going forward into the third year in another file.

Players who do not choose to move forward into the third year will not be able to marry, nor able to create a Greenhouse or experience the Sprinkler system that is available only in the advanced phase of the game. They will not meet Zann...

Nor will they be able to marry. In the context of marriage, there is another potential 'Main Story' in Hero of Leaf Valley.

If you have spoken frequently to the Harvest Goddess, you may have noted her wistfulness and loneliness. Even in the first year, she is outspoken in her dissatisfaction with her isolation from all but the Harvest Sprites.

Many of the Story Quests in HoLV are connected to the Harvest Goddess in one fashion or another, but there is one that is vital to her future. If you have any desire to court the Harvest Goddess, you must complete the Harvest Goddess Temple Quest. Furthermore, you must make certain that, at the end of the 2nd Year, her FP is higher than that of any of the ordinary Eligible Girls. You then will experience 'Marina's Confession', an Event of Transformation in which the Harvest Goddess sheds her wings and divine duties to become the human Girl Marina. This represents a significant change and it is one that players may wish to consider.

You can keep multiple save files in Hero of Leaf Valley. If you wish to experience Marina's Confession, you MUST save one file before you have raised any Eligible Girl's Heart Level to a point where the Harvest Goddess no longer can compete for the highest rank in your affections. You then can split your game into two separate paths, one for a future where the Harvest Goddess remains her divine self and another where she is allowed to come down from her pedestal to seek a very human life.

Incidentally, you can find the text of 'Marina's Confession' in my HoLV Characters Guide.

All in all, 'Hero of Leaf Valley' is far more than a new version of 'Save the Homeland'.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Harvest Festival Dance in HoLV

I would like to dedicate this video to my friend and HM comrade, ILuvHM for all of her tireless work in logging the text of dialogue and events in Hero of Leaf Valley with me.

Animal Problems in HoLV

Players have had sad tales to tell about their Animals in almost every Harvest Moon games. Animals sometimes become stuck in walls when builders expand homes or barns. Animals left outside, even in pens, sometimes escape and disappear, even though the game does not recognise that they have vanished...

Well, HoLV has some occasional problems with Animals as well. Some are amusing but others can cause loss of Hearts.

Another player's Journal vividly describes the problems she has encountered with her own dog Junah:

'Where is junah? Ugh! I can hear him barking but can’t see any part of him. I whistle. He’s behind the trash can in the wall. He can’t seem to get away. I waited by the bed again and made a quick grab for him. Is this normal? Does he sleep in the walls? In AP your dog slept by your bed...

In another entry:

'Where is Junah? Junah is stuck behind the TV. I whistle and looked out from behind the tool box. I can see his feet running under the TV. I walk over and the word 'Examine' is highlighted. I walk over to my bed and wait for the words 'Pick up', then grab him. I put him down again by the table. He’s walking funny. His feet are going forward, but his body is sliding sideways. He walks through the kitchen wall and into the fridge. The fridge looks like it has a tail as Junah’s tail is sticking out. Funny. I decide to leave him in the fridge to help himself to all the fish he can eat.'

Her descriptions are hilarious and happily, her dog's situation caused no loss in Friendship.

In my own game, however, my first Dog problem DID result in the loss of a Heart.

I had taken my dog to the Grocery Shop area to 'Search' for items. He did this quite docilely and successfully but THEN went into the sign in front of Ronald's Shop. He looked like one of those guys that appear in old films wearing 'sandwich boards' to advertise some one's business. He really appeared to be wearing the sign or else to have mutated into a half-dog, half-sawhorse creature.

This would not have been a problem had he responded when I whistled for him, but he failed to do so. The sun set and I think the silly creature fell asleep in between the boards. Meanwhile, knowing that I would lose significant FP with him if I could not take him home with me, I continued to whistle for him. In desperation, I actually walked into my Homestead, then returned to the area immediately to see if the shift in screen would shift HIM. Well, it evidently shifted him to another dimension as he had disappeared completely.

I went into the Homestead again to see if somehow he had followed me and had put himself safely to bed. No such luck.

He was at five hearts when I took him foraging. I may have incurred two black strikes, one by whistling at him after he fell asleep and the other by 'abandoning' him on another screen. The fact that I stayed up until 1.00 a.m. trying to retrieve him counted for nothing...

At 6.00 a.m. the next morning, he was at four hearts but waited by the food dish as though nothing untoward had occurred. Very annoying. My only recourse if I did not wish to live with the loss of affection would be to reload from another slot and replay the day. It isn't worth the effort. I have the Power Berries and it will be interesting to see how quickly I can win back the lost heart...

Incidentally, I won the heart back in a single day. Even so, it was irritating because it was the DOG'S fault and not mine!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Video Tutorial about Mining in HoLV

Not as artistic as I would have liked perhaps, but I am having trouble with my laptop again.

In any case, it provides useful visual information about the Rock Configurations in the first three Chambers of the Mine as well as information about the Underground Lake.

Although this video really was created to show the Rock Configurations in the first three Chambers, a brief explanation of Mining may be in order.

First of all, you need to unlock Mining in general by working Part-Time for Rudolph five times before you will be able to unlock Mining for yourself. In order to experience some of the Story Quest Events that are linked to the Mine, you must satisfy requirements in terms of the total number of items that you have obtained from the Mine. Mineral Crystals do not count where these totals are concerned, as you can 'create' them yourself using the Transformer 1 Machine. In order to experience all possible Events in the Story Quests linked to the Mine, you need to have obtained at least 30 items from the Mine. This is a fairly low requirement, as are any of the Requirements in HoLV. It actually represents the bare minimum any player should be able to obtain if he/she visits the Mine a few times.

A new Chamber should be unlocked at the beginning of any new Season, BUT it is possible that there are minimum requirements that must be met here as well. Obviously, if you did not unlock mining yet, the Chambers will remain barred with fallen masonry. There may be some requirements in terms of the total number of items that players have obtained previously in the Mine as well. These totals would be fairly minimal, but Mineral Crystals would not be included in the count. The reason why Mineral Crystals are not counted is because you can create them yourself by placing Grass in the Transformer 1 Machine in the same manner in which you can create Special Fish Bait by placing Lumber in the Transformer 2 Machine.

If you have unlocked no new Chambers in the Mine NOR the Underground Lake, then I would assume it is a mining requirement rather than an additional fishing requirement.

In my game and those of players who were able to access the Underground Lake as soon as Ponta spoke of it, we had been mining on a regular basis since the start of the game, gaining access to the Mine as early as we could in Spring by working 5 times for Rudolph. We had been selling items from the Mine regularly to local merchants and had given gifts to Rudolph to raise his FP. We experienced two of his Friendship Events before Autumn... Rudolph's total FP is the only other variable that comes to mind.

Incidentally, the only Harvest Moon and Rune Factory games that I cover are the genuine authentic versions published by Natsume and XSeed. True fans of Harvest Moon and Rune Factory will obtain the genuine article, even if it involves some personal sacrifice, in the interest of helping to support the people who make these games available to us. If you are using bootlegs or illegal downloads, then you are NOT supporting the creators of these fabulous games. Illegal downloads and bootlegs tend to have all sorts of 'bugs' and problems, from an inability to save your game properly to corrupted data or options that do not work.

General Strategies in HoLV

Any Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game can be played in a number of different ways and HoLV definitely is part of the Harvest Moon series. It differs somewhat from most traditional Harvest Moon games in the necessity of 'saving the homeland' from Funland's threat of development by the end of the 2nd Year. There are a wide array of choices as to how you wish to accomplish this goal, however, and players need not experience ALL possible Events in HoLV in order to achieve the goal.

For many players, including myself, however, experiencing all possible Events IS a goal and I created the 1st and 2nd Year Events Calendar Guides with that aim in mind. A certain amount of planning is necessary if you wish to experience all possible Events simply because ALL Events are time-restricted and many have specific weather requirements.

When you experience the Event at the Villa where you obtain the Silk Thread and are told to give it to the Harvest Goddess, Flak makes an odd statement about his patroness, the Harvest Goddess:

Flak: Harvest Goddess keeps bugging us if the 'Silk Thread' is ready yet. But she's so fickle, she won't care about the 'Seven-Colour Cloth' in a few days!

When I experienced this dialogue, I was rather shocked for a moment by the Sprite's apparent disrespect for his Goddess, but then I realised what he was trying to tell you. All Events are set to occur within specific time periods. You can't carry the Silk Thread for weeks before deciding to take it to the Harvest Goddess and expect her to respond in a positive manner.

This is where an Events Calendar Guide can be vital. Most of the Events that occur outside buildings require fair weather. You therefore will not be able to experience them on rainy or snowy days. If an Event is set to occur only within a specific four day period and you have a rainy day, the window of opportunity becomes even smaller.

The Event where you obtain the Silk Thread is set to occur between 4 Autumn - 12 Autumn from 6.00 a.m. - 5.59 p.m. only in fine weather. The Event wherein you give the Thread to the Harvest Goddess is set to occur between 4 Autumn - 13 Autumn from 6.00 a.m. - 5.59 p.m. in good weather. If you wait until 12 Autumn to experience the first Event, you only have 12 Autumn and 13 Autumn in which to experience the second. If rain is predicted for 13 Autumn, you MUST go immediately to the Harvest Goddess Spring after obtaining the Silk Thread to give it to the Goddess.

If you do not obtain the Silk Thread before 13 Autumn, you will not be able to complete the Story Quest of the Harvest Goddess' Gown. That does not mean that you will be unable to save the land from the Funland threat of development by any means, but it does mean that you will be unable to experience many interesting Events in your current game.

Obviously, you can play the game more than once. With the PSP, you even can begin a game and then save the same game at different points in order to move forward along different paths in each file. If, however, you enjoy the challenge of experiencing as much as possible in a single file and game, you may wish to attempt to experience 'Dia's Jealousy' and 'Taking the Silk Thread to the Harvest Goddess' both on 4 Autumn, provided the weather is fine or if it is rainy, on 5 Autumn, at the earliest possible opportunity.

Characters often give very sound advice in Harvest Moon and Rune Factory. In HoLV, you will receive very useful advice from Wallace:

Wallace: It's important to plan what you're going to do each day.

This is not merely the ramblings of an old man. It IS very important to plan your day in advance, simply because the Map is large and some areas can be rather remote. The Harvest Goddess Spring probably is the most remote of all destinations because it cannot be reached from the Plaza, the central point, or hub, of Leaf Valley. From the Plaza, paths go directly to the Grocery, the Florist and Items Shop, Woody's Carpentry, the Beach and the Villa. To reach the Harvest Goddess Spring, you either need to take the Grocery path through the Cafe/Pub area, then through the Mallard Lake and Church area or you have to go to Woody's Carpentry area, through the Forest of Pike Mountain and then through the Mine/Funland Corporation area. In other words, no matter how you choose to do it, you have to go through three areas before you can reach the Harvest Goddess Spring.

Renton will tell you that it takes half a day to circle the Valley. Given the fact that most Events occur before 6.00 p.m., you need to plot your course rather carefully if you wish to maximise your experiences in a single day.

That having been said, it is not difficult to meet the ordinary Requirements for most Events in HoLV. Many Events involved with the main Story Quest occur automatically when you leave your Farmhouse at 6.00 a.m.

The reason why there are specific rather narrow time slots for each of the Events in HoLV is because the game includes more linear plots than other Harvest Moon games. When you consider that there are sixteen different Story Quests, each of which must operate smoothly within the context of the others and each of which includes a fair number of Events that must be completed within a two-year period, Hero of Leaf Valley represents rather an incredible achievement. 'Save the Homeland' was a marvelous game for its time, but 'Hero of Leaf Valley' is far more complex and sophisticated. The wealth of dialogue is astounding. I noted that dialogues about the weather can include a remark that deals not only with current weather conditions but actually compares that with the weather of the previous day! The fact that responses to specific gifts can vary according to heart levels makes the game very sophisticated in terms of dialogue as well.

My own strategy is to experience all possible Events at the earliest opportunity in a single day if I can even if it means that I will not make much money that day. Once I have cleared the Calendar of Events, I can relax a little and spend the rest of the days in that time period as I please, without worrying about weather or being at a specific location at a specific time.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Your Kitchen in Hero of Leaf Valley

I am not the only player who experienced a little thrill the first time I walked into my new kitchen. First of all, whenever you obtain a Kitchen in Harvest Moon, you feel that you finally have ARRIVED. Your life becomes so much easier and cooking IS fun. All those raw ingredients that you toted about in your Rucksack for weeks now can be stored in the fridge or USED to create new dishes.

It may be possible to obtain the House expansion in Spring but most players do it immediately after the Summer Races. A House Expansion, after all, is desirable, but there are other expenses in Spring that need to take priority. Furthermore, you have to order one of the existing projects on Woody's Menu before the House Expansion in the form of Kitchen, Bath and Toilet will be unlocked.

The Kitchen, Bath and Toilet are situated in a separate chamber. You will awaken to find that your bed has been moved but if you expect to find a small kitchen counter in the same room, you will search in vain. Walk through the opening in the centre of the eastern wall and...

From the Journal of a good friend who is a Harvest Moon comrade as well:

'OMG… the kitchen is beautiful! When I woke up I’m like hey why is my bed moved? Oh yeh, the kitchen! Walk around looking….where is it? Slight sucking in of breath upon seeing it! Very pleasantly surprised. I had expected a starter kitchen like Joe and Kurt's.'

Players of A Wonderful Life/Another Wonderful Life may recall similar experiences with respect to the Kitchen in those games.

If you consider the premise of HoLV, which is story-driven, it makes sense to allow a player to obtain a Kitchen, Bath and Toilet as a single building project. After all, the business of saving the homeland must take precedence over everything else. Other Harvest Moon games that divide the House Expansion, Kitchen, Bath and Toilet expansions into four and sometimes even five different upgrades do not have the same urgency or time limit where the plot of the game is concerned. You have only two years to save Leaf Valley in HoLV. The HM gods mercifully decreed that, with the weight of this responsibility resting upon your shoulders, you should be allowed the benefit of cooking, bathing and changing your clothes with a single home upgrade.

For my part, it was the additional storage space that thrilled me most when my new house expansion was unveiled to me. Even with the Large Rucksack, I never had sufficient space, and it saddened me whenever I was forced to give away, sell or consume a seasonal item simply in order to free a slot in my Rucksack.

I, of course, had hoped to make every Cooked Dish as early as possible, but I finally had to dispose of my Apples and Oranges in the interest of space. No longer, though! All edible items can go into the Fridge, to await future use...

Your initial Kitchen provides you with a small Frying Pan and a small Pot. These allow you to cook any Dish that requires only one ingredient. Although all Recipes are included in my HoLV Cookbook Recipes Guide, I included an 'Easy Recipes' section in my HoLV Walkthrough/General Guide that gives all the Single-Ingredient Recipes for Pot and Frying Pan.

Remember that Cooked Dishes often are 'Wanted Items' by local merchants. In Summer, Corn is on the Wanted Items list at Clove Villa but Ronald's Wanted Items List includes Fried Corn. Martha will pay 60G for raw Corn, but Ronald will pay 100G for the same ear of Corn when it has been cooked in a Frying Pan. the Wanted Items Lists for every Season are included both in my HoLV Walkthrough/General Guide and my HoLV Shops and Businesses Guide.

The items that are the subject of Delivery Requests often are out-of-season. Once you have a Kitchen, it is easier to store Crops, Fish and items from the Wilds in anticipation of a future Delivery Request.

At the end of the first Summer, it is worthwhile to consider a potentially profitable Wanted Item that will go into effect on 1 Autumn. Scrap Metal usually sells for 10G, but during the Autumn Season, Louis will pay 30G for each piece of Scrap Metal. Unfortunately, you can store only a total of 99 items of any variety in your Toolbox. A single slot will take 99 items, but if you attempt to fill a second slot with the overflow, the Toolbox will not accept the items. You therefore must keep any excess Scrap Metal in your Rucksack if you wish to profit from Louis' need for the item in Autumn.

In the screenshots of the Kitchen, you will note that Freyr is dressed in an outfit that is different from the one worn throughout the pre-Kitchen period. A change of clothing is a benefit of taking a Bath in HoLV.

Incidentally, there is one very frustrating aspect in HoLV where the Bath is concerned. There is no prompt whatsoever at the door of the Bath or Toilet. If you stray too close to the door, your Character will slide right in, have a bath as quick as lightning and be out again, clearing the water from his ears... having WASTED his daily Bath while his energy still was at the full! I have done this twice early in the morning after cooking up some quick dishes at the counter... Very annoying! It wouldn't matter if you could have multiple baths, but only the first one counts, so it is very exasperating when your Character decides to have a quick bath without permission!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Special Fishing Bait in HoLV

Special Fishing Bait is an interesting little item in HoLV that, when scattered in the water, helps you catch more fish by preventing you from catching any Rubbish items.

Your first encounter with Special Fishing Bait may be as a Gift from one of the Harvest Sprites after you have given the Most Favourite Gift of Mushrooms to one of them a couple of times.

You can find Mushrooms in the Forest or you can place a piece of Lumber on the plank behind your Storage Shed and water it each day until a Mushroom appears. Unfortunately, one piece of Lumber produces only a single harvest of a single Mushroom.

You will find Special Fishing Bait on the Menu at the Races. It costs 2 Medals there.

What I did not realise was that there is another connection between Lumber and Special Fishing Bait apart from the transaction performed by the Harvest Sprites when you give them Mushrooms.

The Transformer 2 Machine transforms Lumber into Special Fishing Bait. When I entered my Horse in the Long Distance Race in the first Summer, I won the race and made a handsome profit by having bet on him at 6 to 1 odds. What I did not expect was the Prize of the Tranformer 2 Machine, nor did I realise what its action would be.

After all, in previous Events with Louis, although he spoke of his Tranformer Machine experiments, they appeared to involve Crops rather than the creation of Fishing Bait. Another little surprise from a game that has many wonderful treats in store for its players.

Incidentally, whenever you enter your own Horse in a Race, the odds will be generated randomly. The first time I entered my Shadowfax in a Race in the first Summer, he was billed as the favourite at 2 to 1 odds! Incredible for a horse who was running his maiden race...

I reloaded and replayed the Event, only to find that this time, the odds were listed at 6 to 1 for him. I bet on him generously and won a handsome profit... as well as the Transformer 2 Machine.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Family Life in HoLV

This information, including the Rival Events, will be included in my Guides but as a player posted a comment to ask about one aspect of Family Life, I thought a post might be helpful.

First of all, 'Hero of Leaf Valley' is based on 'Save the Homeland', not 'Back to Nature'. It is 'Harvest Moon Boy & Girl', another PSP title, that was based on the old 'Back to Nature' and includes both the male and female versions of THAT game.

In the original 'Save the Homeland', you had two years to save the Village. At the end of that period, or when you succeeded in 'clearing' one of the possible Quests to achieve this, the game ended then and there. You then could start the game again, carrying over most of your items and assets and play through a different Story Quest, continuing to do this until you had experienced all possible Story Quests. In 'Save the Homeland', there was no option to marry, although romantic Events would occur with the protagonist of the Story Quest you chose to complete.

'Harvest Moon Boy & Girl', for players not familiar with 'Back to Nature' is rather similar to 'Friends of Mineral Town' and 'More Friends of Mineral Town' in that it takes place in the same village, has most of the same set of characters and many of the same goals. There is a big difference, however, between the 'Boy' version and the 'Girl' version of HM B&G. If you play as a Boy, you can marry and have a child. If you play as a Girl, however, the game will end when you marry. Rather unfair to those of us who ARE Girls, perhaps, but that was the way the original Japanese game worked and, on the positive side, at least you CAN choose whether to play as a Girl or a Boy. Furthermore, as it is a PSP title, you can play BOTH as a Girl and a Boy in different save files! Like many Harvest Moon games, it gives incredible value for the cost.

Now, to answer some questions about 'Hero of Leaf Valley'. It is a very expanded version of 'Save the Homeland' as it will not end after you save the Valley AND, you actually can marry in HoLV. The game is divided into two main parts. You have to 'save the homeland' before you will have the option to marry, although courtship can occur during the first part of the game while you are busy saving the Valley.

The first part of the game, therefore, is most similar to the original 'Save the Homeland', although it is not identical by any means. The game does NOT end if you manage to succeed in one of the three main Quests. If, however, you fail to save the Valley from the threat of development by the end of the 2nd year, the game WILL end and you will be forced to begin again. You will not be forced to start with nothing again, however. You will be able to 'inherit' many of your assets from your first failed game.

In the second phase, once the land is safe from threats of development, HoLV begins to resemble a traditional Harvest Moon game. You can propose to an Eligible Girl and marry her, provided all Heart Level requirements have been met. There are Rival Events that can occur between Eligible Girls and the bachelors who are interested in them, but they will not lead to Rival Marriages. Your own marriage does not result in any children.

There are other Events that cannot be experienced before the third year of the game and a new Character in the form of Zann, who somewhat resembles Ivan or Lute from Rune Factory games and who can create wonderful Accessories for you.

Some players have expressed a wish that one could have a Child in HoLV, but after all, every Harvest Moon game, although it is founded on the same general philosophy, is unique. Players who are familiar with 'Save the Homeland' will be thrilled by the amazing expansions of the game that can be found in Hero of Leaf Valley. If having a Child is your primary goal in Harvest Moon, there are many games that will satisfy your ambition. In the recent Animal Parade for the Wii, you actually can have more than one child. If you consider Rune Factory as part of the 'Harvest Moon' series, as I do, there is Rune Factory 2, where you actually can PLAY the game in the 2nd Generation as your Child!

One final point about Events in 'Hero of Leaf Valley'. Many players are using the terms from the Official Guide to describe the many Events that can be experienced in this game. I initially did the same in my Guides, but now intend to use my own terms because I am beginning to see that some events, quite clearly, are Heart Events and have very little to do with the Story Quests to which they are linked. The only link in many cases is the fact that they involve the same Eligible Girl who is the protagonist in the Story Quest. Instead of describing the Events as 'Mecha', or 'Farm Aid' or whatever, whenever an Event is a Friendship Event or Heart Event, I am going to designate it as such, although I will make certain that each Event either is described as 'Mandatory' or 'Optional'.

I have a couple of reasons for making this change. One is the fact that many of the Story Quests are linked and indeed, 'Optional' Events often are connected to more than one Story Quest. I still need to confirm whether or not experiencing a specific Event that involves more than one Eligible Girl or Character increases FP for all the Characters in the Event. Evidence that lends itself to the belief that it DOES increase FP if only slightly, is the fact that Heart Levels have changed immediately after I experienced an Event. On the other hand, simply 'meeting and greeting' any Character on a given day increases FP by +1 point. Experiencing an Event with a Character could be assigned the 'Meeting and Greeting' point for that day. In some specific cases, an Event will raise a Character's FP significantly and that is confirmed officially. Whether or not ALL Events result in some FP increase, however, beyond +1 FP for each Character involved, still needs to be confirmed.

Two Events that clearly are 'Heart Events' in HoLV are Dia's first two Events. They both are concerned primarily with her relationship with your Character. In the first, your Character 'rescues' her from a large spider. In the second, she confesses that your gifts to her have widened her appreciation of the knowledge she has gained from books. In fact, as her Heart Level increases, her general dialogue as well as her responses to specific gifts, often deals with the same topic.

Blueberries traditionally are Dia's favourite in more than one Harvest Moon game. In HoLV, however, her responses to the gift of a Blueberry as well as responses to other Berries would be bizarre if one did not comprehend their basis.

In fact, most of her Responses to Gifts of items 'found in the wilds' reflect a comparison of descriptions of itmems found in books with the reality of the item. Here are some of her early Responses to items. Note that these ALL are Gifts that are acceptable to her:

At Black Heart:

For Very Berry: ...Th-Thank you.

For Fish (S?) or Common Seashell: Oh, no, it smells so foul.

At Purple Heart:

For Blueberry: ...This is a little different from what I saw in the encyclopedia. ...Is it real?

For Orange, Strawberry, Very Berry: Can you...Eat this? It won't make you sick?

For Moondrop Herb or Fairy Dress Herb: ...It's a fairly common flower.

For Tomato: It's ...So dirty, covered in mud...

At Blue Heart:

For Very Berry: This is fairly sweet.

For Blueberry: I'm not sure how good these taste, but...I think I like the taste.

As you can see, if you look at the Responses knowing that Dia has been extremely 'sheltered' and therefore may be experiencing her first real contact with these items, dialogue that otherwise would appear ungrateful or discourteous becomes less so.

'It's ... So dirty, covered in mud...' for a Tomato for example, is the response of a girl who never saw a Tomato until it had been prepared in a Salad or Sandwich. The Response to a Seashell, 'Oh no, it smells so foul.' again displays the astonishment of a girl who saw pictures of shells in books but was unprepared for the reality of an item fresh from the sea.

Her responses to Blueberries and other Fruits are extremely interesting, as they show the incredible attention to detail that has been given to the dialogues in this game.

At Purple Heart:
For Blueberry: ...This is a little different from what I saw in the encyclopedia. ...Is it real?

This is the response of a girl who prior to this only saw pictures of Blueberries in an Encyclopedia. At this point in time, she has little personal knowledge of raw, unprepared Fruits, even those that are cultivated. Proof of this is given in her response to ANY other Fruit:

For Orange, Very Berry, Strawberry: Can you...Eat this? It won't make you sick?

As you continue to visit her, raising her Heart Level, her responses to these items change:

At Blue Heart:

For Very Berry: This is fairly sweet.

For Blueberry: I'm not sure how good these taste, but...I think I like the taste.

Here, you see how she has 'grown' emotionally to become more in touch with the universe and with her real feelings and senses. She is sharing HER actual responses to the taste of these Fruits.

The Event where she confides the effects of your visits and gifts puts all of this into proper perspective:

Dia stood in the Library facing me.

Dia: Oh, Freyr. ... I was just reading, thinking about things. I've realised that the things written in my books don't take place in a distant land, they happen much closer to home. ... What, well... About this gift you've given me. Lately, when I read, I find myself saying, 'Oh, I know this. I've seen that before...' Knowledge isn't only something to know. It's important that they are experienced. With everything you've done... I think I'm getting more interested in the outside world. I feel like I'll go for a long walk one of these days. ...Although by that I mean, I'll go as far as your farm, perhaps.'

This is one of the reasons I love Harvest Moon so much. It is not about 'clearing a goal' as much as it is about your ability to change lives, to bring prosperity AND happiness to others. If you take an interest in spoiled, shy Dia, she will become a better person, more courageous and more involved in the feelings and lives of others. Even at Green Heart Level, however, she has not changed fully...

If you follow Gina's Quest to make the Harvest Goddess Dress, you will see how Dia remains quite imperfect and selfish at the point where your Character asks about the 'Silk Thread' needed by the Harvest Goddess. Both Martha and Louis will tell you about the trader who delivers Miss Dia's clothes to the Villa and who undoubtedly has Silk Thread.

In fact, Martha will tell you that Dia purchased some recently:

Want Silk Thread

Martha: What? 'Silk Thread'...? I'm sorry, I don't have any. I think that the trader who comes to deliver Miss Dia's clothes may sell you some, but it's quite expensive. Now that I think about it, Miss Dia had just purchased some from him... I wonder what she'll use it for?

When you speak to Dia, however, to ask about it:

Want Silk Thread

Dia: 'Silk Thread'? ... Um... ...Could you ask some one else? Oh... Wait one moment. ...You wouldn't be planning on raising the worms that would make the silk thread, would you? P-Please, never bring those things to the villa! Understood?

When Katie and Gina are discussing the gown outside the gates of the Villa, Dia interrupts by calling for Gina to fetch her shawl for her. This may demonstrate her spoiled and selfish nature, but at the same time, Gina is at fault somewhat for not confiding her plans to make a gown for the contest. Gina is too self-effacing and both she and Martha are somewhat responsible for being over-protective of Dia and keeping her in her 'ivory tower'.

As the Story Quests develop, all of this changes gradually, and every Character in Hero of Leaf Valley changes. Even Alice and the other employees of Funland can be influenced by your Character...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

2nd Year Events Calendar Guide

There is a 2nd Year Events Calendar Guide for Hero of Leaf Valley now, but it is not that useful yet as it is very much a 'work in progress'. What I have done to improve both the 1st and 2nd Year Events Guides is to add colour coding for the Dates. One reason I write guides actually is rather selfish. I like to use my own guides to organise my own games, especially when I begin a second file. In the old days, when there was more than enough time for these matters, I used to amuse myself by trying to discover the 'earliest possible opportunity' to complete any goal in Harvest Moon.

In any case, colour codes make it easier to use this type of Guide, which essentially is a Calendar Guide for all the Events in Hero of Leaf Valley. Unfortunately, the version that was uploaded Friday has colour coding only for one season. This will be corrected on Monday.

It has been determined now that the weather CAN be changed in HoLV if you reload two days prior to the day you wish to change. If, therefore, you are nearing the last possible opportunity to experience an event that requires good weather, you may wish to make certain that it doesn't rain or snow on the last day when it can be triggered. Remember that any weather is subject to the rules that govern prevailing trends.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Recipes in HoLV

Just a note to inform players that my HoLV Cookbook Recipes Guide now is complete with all Recipes for Pot, Frying Pan, Oven and Mixer.

I have included some information in that mini-guide about Martha's Part-Time Work and Ponta's Recipes as well...

Adopting and caring for your Dog in HoLV

A player emailed me today as follows:

Hi Freyashawk,

First I just wanted to say thank you for all your guides, I have used many of them over the years as I am an avid Harvest Moon (and Rune Factory) fan! I've recently been playing Hero of Leaf Valley and just had a question that I'm wondering if you know anything about. For some reason, I can't get my dog's affection to go up! And actually, I've lost the heart I had when I first was able to adopt him. I feed and pick him up once a day, and have started feeding milk or fish but still haven't gotten my heart back (on Summer day 2). Could this be because I don't have a dog house for him yet? I got him just before rainy season so unfortunately he was outside all day in the rain for quite a few days in a row.


Actually, the answer as well as all details required for care of your Dog and other Animals is included in my HoLV Walkthrough/General Guide now, but for those players who have not read recent versions of the guide, a post on the topic may be helpful.

The player who wrote to me is correct in surmising that the loss of the heart is due to her failure to protect her dog from the elements. You do not need to purchase the Dog House in order to keep your Dog healthy, however. You can carry him into the house when the weather is inclement.

Bear in mind the fact that you can lose affection with him if you do not carry him outside again when the weather improves!

The point values of every action that can be undertaken towards your Dog are as follows:

Animal Friendship Levels

As with the Characters you meet in Leaf Valley, Animals have Friendship Levels of their own, and raising these Levels can be critical to your success in life.

The system that awards Friendship Points to Animals is a little different from that which applies to other Characters. In fact, you can lose Hearts with Animals as well as gain them.

Animal Friendship Levels are as follows:

0-29 FP = 0 Hearts
30-79 FP = 1 Heart
80-129 FP = 2 Hearts
130-179 FP = 3 Hearts
180 - 219 FP = 4 Hearts
220 - 255 FP = 5 Hearts

These values apply to all Animals, whether they are Pets, Poultry or Livestock. The difference between each Animal type in terms of Friendship is that you interact with each differently and earn FP through different actions.

Friendship with your Dog

Even when you do not own a Dog, your actions with respect to the two stray dogs in the Valley will determine your future ability to adopt one.

You will find a food dish next to your Farmhouse even at the start of the game. Although you do not own a pet Dog, you should leave food in the dish daily in order to be able to court the stray dogs of the Valley. When your Friendship Level with the Dogs reaches 31 FP, you will have the option to pick up either Dog. The first time you pick up either one of the two Dogs, you will be given the option to adopt.

At that point, you will be able to choose which of the two dogs you wish to adopt, irrespective of the Dog with whom you currently are interacting. To adopt the Dog you are NOT holding, choose 'No' when you are asked if you wish to adopt it.*

After adoption, your duties and responsibilities with respect to the Dog you have chosen will increase.

If you wish to delay the adoption of a Dog by ignoring the invitation to pick him up when his FP reaches the required level, you can do so and his FP will not decrease. You will be able to continue to raise his Friendship Level slowly by filling the Food Dish daily but until you have adopted him, you will be unable to gain any FP from other actions.

Various actions will raise his Friendship on a daily basis, but other actions will cause his FP to decrease.

To increase FP each day:

+2 FP: Pick up your Dog
+2 FP: Whistle for your Dog (use the L Button, then Choose the 'Dog')
+2 FP: Play the Ocarina to train the Dog
+1 FP: Place any food item other than Milk or Fish in the Food Dish
+2 FP: Place any ordinary Milk or Fish in the Food Dish
+6 FP: Place Gold Milk in the Food Dish

To decrease FP:

-20 FP: Forget to feed your Dog
-20 FP: Hit the Dog with a sharp Farm Tool
-20 FP: If your Dog is Sick for an entire Day without Treatment
-5 FP: Awaken your Dog when it is sleeping

Other actions result in an FP decrease by the hour:

-2 FP per hour: Taking or keeping the Dog outside in bad Weather if you do not have a Dog House
-1 FP: Leaving your Dog in any area other than the Homestead
-1 FP: Keeping your Dog inside the House when the Weather is good

As you can see, the act of adopting a Dog in Hero of Leaf Valley forces you to assume a fairly serious amount of responsibility each day. The rewards, however, can be very great. It is your Dog who will find the Power Berries that are hidden in the Valley and these can increase your total Energy capacity.

The Dog can find other useful items as well.

The items your Dog can find, with the probability of finding them is as follows:

80% chance of finding a Power Berry until he has found all four of them.

There is a 5% chance of finding Pontata Root, Black Truffle, White Truffle, Star Truffle or Baby Truffle while the Power Berries remain undiscovered.

Until your Dog has found all 4 Power Berries for you, the chance of finding any other item remains at 5%. Once you have obtained all the Power Berries, the chances of finding the other items changes to:

50% chance of finding Pontata Root.
20% chance of finding a Star Truffle.
10% chance of finding Black Truffle, White Truffle or Baby Truffle.

Note that you will not be able to direct your Dog to search for items until you have gained 2 Hearts with him. The 'Search' Command is one of seven commands you can teach him by playing your Ocarina.

Ocarina Commands

To play the Ocarina, you first must equip it. Even when you own one, you will not be able to play it until you have adopted one of the two stray dogs in the Valley.

Playing a Melody on the Ocarina is effected by the use of the Square Button in conjunction with the Directional Buttons.

The commands with the FP Levels and melodies that are linked to each are:

Sit Command: Requires +31 FP
Press Up, Left, Down

Stay Command: Requires +31 FP
Press Up, Down, Down

Come Command: Requires +51 FP
Press Left, Right, Right

Search Command: Requires +71 FP
Press Down, Left, Up

Pursue Command: Requires +71 FP
Press Right, Left, Right

Jump Command: Requires +96 FP
Press Left, Up, Right

Beg Command: Requires +126 FP
Press Down, Up, Up

Note that you must hold down the Square Button while you input the Directional Commands, rather like 'charging' a tool in other Harvest Moon games. If you fail to do this, your Character simply will take the Ocarina from his Rucksack and return it quickly to his Rucksack. Once in awhile, you may persuade him to play a single note, but that will be the extent of it. If, however, you press the Square button firmly and hold it down, you will be able to play all the melodies that constitute valid commands.

Whether or not your Dog chooses to obey is another matter entirely, but simply playing a Command for him will increase his FP by +2 Points.

A Dog's Special Abilities

Unlike the Poultry and Livestock you can own in HoLV, your Dog has special abilities that will increase when you perform specific actions on a daily basis. These special abilities or traits are Intelligence, Speed, Perseverance and Wildness. Your Horse has his own Special Abilities, but these will be discussed in another section.

To increase these abilities, perform the following actions:

When you call your Dog by whistling to him, it will increase his Intelligence. His Intelligence Level will determine his success in obeying your Commands.

When you train your Dog using the Ocarina, his Speed will increase.

When you Feed your Dog each day, it increases his Perseverance, the trait that will strengthen his immunity to Sickness.

Barking is the sign of Wildness and picking up your Dog on a daily basis will decrease his tendency to bark.

*It appears from a player's comment that if you do not wish to adopt the Dog who first gives you the option, you either need to hunt down the one you like better or wait until he appears, then pick HIM up and choose the option to adopt...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wanted Items in Hero of Leaf Valley

A player made a comment about the 'Wanted Items' in Hero of Leaf Valley. There are so many details to include in the guides that I have not done much in terms of the 'Wanted' Lists that every Merchant has, but hope to have a detailed list for each Season in the next few days.

When you take items to sell to any Shop or Merchant, there are two possibilities. One simply is to choose to 'Sell' the item. The other is to access the 'Wanted Items' List. Often the items on the Wanted Items List will be listed at a higher value than the regular value of the item. Every shop is different and the list changes each season, so it is a good idea to be aware of the items that are 'Wanted' at a specific location in any Season.

The 'Wanted Items' for all the Shops for every season now are included in both my Walkthrough/General Guide and my Shops and Businesses Guide.

In Spring:

Ronald's Grocery Shop:

Boiled Egg: 100G
Milk M: 270G
Fried Clam: 50G

Louis' Item Shop:

Iron Ore: 80G
Copper Ore: 60G
Mineral Crystal: 30G

Lyla's Florist Shop:

Fairy Dress Herb: 50G
Pink Cat Mint: 20G
Moondrop Herb: 20G
Coal: 40G

Sunny Garden Cafe/Moonlight Pub

Cheese: 550G
Black Truffle: 80G
Green Herb: 20G

Bob's Animal Supplies:

Alfalfa Sprouts: 50G
Mineral Crystals: 40G

Woody's Carpentry Shop:

Blue Rock: 110G
Silver: 90G
Copper Ore: 50G

Clove Villa Kitchen:

Rainbow Trout: 60G
Milk M: 270G
Carrot: 100G

Note how the prices of the same Item when it is on different 'Wanted Items' Lists can vary. For example, both Woody and Louis include Copper Ore on their Wanted Lists in Spring but Woody is willing to pay 10G more for this Item than Louis.

Although Mineral Crystals appear on Louis' Wanted Items List, he pays no more than the regular price for them, where Bob will give you 10G more for the same Item. Medium Milk is 'Wanted' both by Martha and by Ronald. It is Ronald, however, who will give you an extra 10G for the item.

Where Coal is concerned, the best price is offered by Lyla, who will pay 40G for Coal as a 'Wanted Item', as opposed to the regular price of 20G.

My new HoLV Shops and Businesses Guide includes all of the Wanted Items for every season and all Delivery Requests for the first two years. Within the next day or two, I hope to have ALL Delivery Requests for all years completed.

Review of Witch's Witch

Natsume gave me a opportunity to explore the upcoming DS game, 'Witch's Witch', some time ago but I only now have been given official permission to post about it. 'Witch's Wish' is due to be released on 25 May 2010 but can be pre-ordered at Amazon now for $19.99. I have added a link to this post that will take you directly to Amazon if you wish to reserve your copy.

'Witch's Wish' is a delightful little game that should appeal to any one who enjoyed 'Princess Debut'. Your Character is Vicky, an aspiring witch who must solve a mystery and make some critical decisions as to the future of her community in the course of her story. 'Witch's Wish' is not centred on romance as much as 'Princess Debut' but in its own way, shares some of the essential elements of that game and does have its own romantic elements where some of Vicky's friends are concerned.

First of all, there is the Touchscreen action, which is extremely clever, in that you have the opportunity to use Elemental Runes in the true sense of the word (signifying magical sigils) in order to cast spells. Somehow, you have a real sense of casting magic by doing this. A certain amount of accuracy is required to cast the Spells properly. As you gain experience by completing Chapters, you gain more potent elemental spells. Knowing which elemental spell to use at any given time can be critical to your success.

Exploring the Map to speak to the right people at the right time is the key to success in any given Chapter. If you do not receive the information you need from specific Characters, you will not be able to move forward. You can unlock new songs and pictures when you smash objects by casting the proper Spell. As there are three levels of Elemental Spells and you have the power to use them only in specific Chapters, the game very much hinges on knowing WHEN to perform a specific action or visit a specific area.

There is a wonderful arena named 'Witch One' where you can engage in magical duels with other aspiring Witches. Winning matches against the highest three opponents will allow you to gain new Badges and Fruits, the items that unlock new songs and pictures. Again, as you will possess the most powerful Spells only in specific Chapters of the game, it is important to know when to enter a match in the Witch One arena, which is not always accessible to your Character.

Although 'Witch's Wish' is suitable to players of all ages, including children, like so many of the games Natsume produces, it does deal with some very profound philosophical and social issues. This issues are discussed both with passion and with humour. Again, as is characteristic of Natsume games, even minor characters are developed in some detail and there is a wealth of dialogue to explore.

Social issues are evident from the very start in a world where rich and poor are divided by a wall and the shadow of the wall prevents sunlight from reaching Lower Town. Furthermore, only the rich have the means to attend magic schools, which are prohibitively expensive and thus magic has become the prerogative of the rich. Finally, the Wall was created by a 'legendary Witch', who long ago sealed away all the magic of the townspeople in order to prevent conflict between them.

Vicky, a young girl from Lower Town, aspires to become a Witch. Her motives, even at the very outset are pure. She wishes to be able to use magic to 'help others'. She passionately believes that:

'Magic is every one’s hopes and dreams! It’s wrong to seal something so important!'

Against this is the argument that:

'If every one wants to make their dreams come true, they’ll fight. Isn’t that right? Every one has different dreams... There’s no such thing as a world where every one’s dreams come true... Unfulfilled dreams either turn into something ugly and keep accumulating, or break out as conflicts.'

These are profound issues and one easily can perceive 'magic' as the power of technology. The residents of Lower Town who are manual labours desire magic in order to be able to use it to perform their tasks. The rich residents of the Upper Town are opposed to this, wishing to keep all magic power and knowledge to themselves.

There are more fundamental social and philosophical issues at stake concerning government and the right to control others as well as the limits to power and who should have the right to choose how much freedom is allowed to the masses.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spring Exploitations in HoLV

Players of FoMT and MFoMT will be familiar with the Spring Horse Races as the first opportunity to make a significant profit. In HoLV, you can trade your Medals for Lumber, which is even better than money in the first Spring Season.

Medals cost 50G each, so you may wish to save as much money as possible in anticipation of the Spring Races on 22 Spring.

There are three Races. In the first Spring, you will not be able to enter a Horse in any Race but you nonetheless can wager on them.

The first Race is a Spring or Short Distance Race. The second is a Long Distance Race and the third is a Steeplechase.

It appears that the first Race is the one that is the easiest to predict. The favourite usually wins at 2 to 1 odds. This is NOT a guaranteed result, however. I have experienced results wherein the horse at 4 to 1 odds won instead.

Unfortunately, you cannot save your game at 1.59 p.m. at the entrance to the Race Course as you could in Mineral Town, but you always can reload to replay the entire day if you wish. In almost every case that I or a fellow HM fanatic replayed the Race Day, the favourite won the 1st Race. The other two Races were a little more variable.

Louis: It’s best to use logic to pick a winnning horse. Trust the odds. Don’t gamble on a long shot and expect to win.

By the time the Summer Races are held, you may be able to enter your own Horse in one of the Races. It is suggested that you enter the Long Distance Race as you probably will have more items in your possession that will restore your Stamina than Carrots or Mineral Carrots, the only items that will increase your Speed. When your own Horse is entered in a Race, the odds will be utterly random. He may go off as the favourite at 2 to 1 or he may be posted as a longshot at 6 to 1. If you think you can win the race, make certain that the odds are long and then bet on him. It is worth the effort of reloading back to 6.00 a.m. if your Horse is posted as the favourite.

On Race Day, in fact, you may wish to do as little as possible BEFORE the Races are run, as you may wish to reload the game if the results are not profitable for you.

A very small potential exploitation exists when you accept Part-Time Work in Martha's Kitchen at the Villa. She will ask you to prepare a specific Dish and usually will give you an excess of ingredients. If you know the Recipe (and it should be included in my HoLV Cookbook Guide if you do not), you can use the least expensive and the fewest ingredients to prepare the required number of Dishes. Martha always will give you any 'leftover' ingredients.

For example, when she asked Freyr to make 3 Fish Meals, he was able to choose his second ingredient in each instance from a wide variety of items, including Breadfruit, Tomatoes, Green Herb, Mushrooms and Walnuts. Fish Meal is made with two ingredients, one of which always must be Fish. He took home about 15 items.

In another case, when Martha asked him to make 5 blocks of Cheese using Medium Milk, she gave him 14 Medium Milk. He only needed to use 10 and thereby was able to go home with 4 Medium Milk, a 'Wanted Item' at the Greengrocer's Shop.

As far as Part-Time Work in general is concerned, every Job has its own rules.

Where Mining and Forestry are concerned, it is the the number of times that you accept the Job that counts in terms of unlocking new options rather than the amount of work completed. You need to work for Rudolph five times in order to unlock the Mine. Similarly, you need to work for Woody five times to unlock the Forest. As you cannot keep anything from the Mine except Mineral Crystals when you are working for Randolph and only Mushrooms and other Wild Items when working for Woody, you may wish to conserve your time and energy a little and simply do the bare minimum in order to unlock the freedom to Mine and Chop Lumber for yourself. In the case of Bob's Part-Time Job, you may wish to focus on a single Horse as well as boosting Bob's Friendship each time with a gift of Fodder in order to obtain a Horse from him at the start of Summer. Even if you only brush one Horse and Brush and Milk the Cow, as well as throwing Fodder into all 6 stalls, you will earn 100G and the Small Milk. Note that Friendship Points earned by ALL the Animals he owns will count towards the minimum total FP requirement, however.

Once you have unlocked the Mine for your own use, Rudolph's Part-Time Job no longer will exist. Once you unlock the Forest, you no longer will be able to work for Woody, but you still will be obliged to apply to him for access to the Forest. What this means, in effect, is that you only can visit the special Forest area on days when the weather is fine and never on Tuesday or Thursday when the Carpentry Shop is shut. The Mine, on the other hand, is not subject to the original hours set for Rudolph's Part-Time Work and although he will continue to stand near the entrance during those hours, you need not apply to him for permission in order to smash Rocks.

Bob's Part-Time Work continues after he gives you a Horse. Martha's Part-Time Job as well as Ronald's Job of caring for his Chickens continue indefinitely. These two jobs are situated inside buildings and payment therefore is based on the job rather than the time spent. Bob's Part-Time Work, as it partially is performed outside is based on the amount of time spent in the Pasture. You can arrive early and stay until 6.00 p.m. to earn almost 1000G in a single day. You do need to Milk the Cow, however, if you wish to receive the Milk 'Bonus'.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New HoLV Cookbook Recipes Guide

I have created a new Hero of Leaf Valley Cookbook Recipes Guide. As of now, all Pot and Frying Pan Recipes have been included with about half of the Oven Recipes and a few Mixer Recipes. I hope to complete ALL entries tomorrow.

You will find the link to the Guide on the right side of this page.

If you work Part-Time in the Kitchen of Clove Villa, you may find a pattern in the assignments you are given. If other players have had different experiences, I would like to hear about them, but in my own experience, the assignments appear to be dictated partly by the time of day when you accept the Job.

If you go fairly early in the day, you are more likely to obtain the assignment to make 5 Blocks of Cheese. Later, there are assignments for Sandwiches and Fish Meal.
Medium Milk 'leftover' from the assignment is one of the more valuable 'leftovers'. From the Fish Meal assignment, however, you may receive Mushrooms, which can be given to the Sprites who love them.

Martha will not give you the Recipe for the Dish beforehand but when you make it successfully for the first time in her kitchen, your Recipe Book will be updated to include it.

One of the reasons I created the Cookbook Recipes Guide as quickly as possible was to help players with the Part-Time Kitchen work.

Tip: Whenever you have options to use more than one item as an ingredient during an Assignment, always use the least valuable or most common item and try to save the most expensive or rare items for your 'leftovers' if possible.

Leftovers may be random. I have performed the Cheese Assignment a few times and each time obtained a different amount of Medium Milk afterwards.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hero of Leaf Valley Strategy Guides

You will find links to all current Guides for Hero of Leaf Valley on the right side of the page.

A new Characters Guide has been added to the list, which now includes an HoLV Walkthrough/General Guide, an HoLV 1st Year Events Calendar Guide, an HoLV Characters Guide and a Calendar of Festivals and Birthdays.

The 1st Year Events Calendar Guide now contains ALL Events that can occur in the first Year for all 16 of the Story Quests. I now shall begin on the 2nd Year Events Calendar Guide.

As well as continuing to add more general information to the Walkthrough/General Guide, I am adding schedules to the Characters Guide to help players locate any Character in Leaf Valley at any given time. So far, only a few schedules have been included. I added Alice's schedule and Parsley's schedules first as they are more difficult to locate than many of the other Characters.

By the end of the week, I hope to have created an HoLV Recipes Cookbook Guide.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Collecting Items from the Mine and Forest in HoLV

A player asked how he might be able to collect Lumber in HoLV. The same question could apply to the items from the Mine.

Basically, when you start the game, you need to apply to Woody for a Part-Time Job in the Forest and to Rudolph for a Part-Time Job in the Dig Site/Mine. When you perform these 'Tutorials', which is what they are in effect, you move one step closer to 'unlocking' the Forest and the Mine. Whenever you perform the Part-Time Jobs, you will be given a 'bonus'. In the case of the Forest, you will be allowed to keep any Mushrooms or Truffles you find. In the case of the Mine, you are allowed to take home only the Mineral Crystals.

How, then, does one obtain the right to keep ALL the items from the Mine and to begin to collect Lumber for building projects?

Simply by contining to apply for the Part-Time Work offered in these locations... After you have done this a few times, proving in effect that you know what you are doing and will not be irresponsible or place yourself or the Valley in danger, you will be given carte blanche to operate...

That is how you unlock the initial right to chop Lumber and mine for Ores and Gems. Note that there are new areas that can be unlocked later...

Bear in mind the amount of Energy that is used whenever you swing your Axe to chop down a Tree... I have listed good Energy Recovery Items in another post.

AP Medicine is the best, restoring ALL your Energy, but it costs 1000G. The items I listed are less expensive.

By the way, those players who have played Friends of Mineral Town or More Friends of Mineral Town probably will recall the Medals that could be won at the Horse Races. In fact, those Medals could change your entire life if you collected sufficient numbers of them...

In Hero of Leaf Valley, you can win Medals at the Races as well and can purchase LUMBER with those Medals. So take heart... there are other ways to obtain Lumber apart from swinging an Axe.

As far as Mushrooms are concerned, there are a number of uses for these and other ways to obtain them apart from foraging in the Forest.

Mushrooms are a favourite Gift for the Harvest Sprites and they may give you Fish Bait in return. Make certain that you do not give them Truffles, however. They utterly detest them, strangely enough.

If you wish to grow Mushrooms, you must follow the procedure used in HM DS/Cute DS by placing Lumber in a damp area. In HoLV, you needn't build a special Mushroom Shed. The plank is behind the Storeroom, one of the buildings on your farm. You needn't plant seeds either. Simply water the Lumber until Mushrooms appear and continue to water them regularly. Only one Mushroom can be harvested from any piece of Lumber. You then must place another piece of Lumber on the plank.

Incidentally, once you have adopted and trained your Dog to 'Search' for items using the Ocarina, you first will be able to find 4 Power Berries and then will be able to find Mushrooms and Pontata Root on a daily basis if you take him out with you. Although it is possible for him to find other items before he finds the Power Berries, the odds are stacked in favour of the Power Berries as they are far more vital to your welfare. Each Power Berry increases your Total Stamina.

Pontata Root is the most effective Fatigue Resistance item in HoLV, so when you reach a Season where Red Herbs and Green Herbs no longer are plentiful, take your Dog out to find Pontata Roots.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

How to Save the Land in Hero of Leaf Valley


Evidently, players are confused as to the different methods by which the land can be saved from development in 'Hero of Leaf Valley'.

As I have written in other posts, there are 16 different Story Quests that can be followed but these fall into three main categories.

The first category is the Main Story: Shoot for the Stars! The Greatest Farm in the World!

Many of the Events in this Story will be experienced automatically because they deal directly with the Funpark Corporation and the plan to develop the Land as a Funpark.
Alice, the CEO of the Company, will tell you that you can buy the land outright from the Corporation for 50,000G. Having the funds will not be sufficient to complete this Quest, however. You must defeat a number of Robot enemies created and let lose upon the land by the company...

There are two other ways to save the land from development, however, if you cannot manage the first or prefer one of the alternatives. As an alternative, you can transform the land into a Nature Preserve or into a Tourist destination.

Each one of the other Story Quests apart from the first is PART of one of the other two endings. You must complete THREE of the Nature Preserve Story Quests if you wish to save the land by cfreating a Nature Preserve. Or, you must complete THREE of the Tourist Destination Story Quests if you wish to transform the land into a desirable Tourist Attraction.

Players are confused by the Events that must be completed in this context. Each Story Quest has its own sequence of Events. Some Events in each Sequence are optional, which may be adding to the confusion. Others are mandatory. You must experience ALL THE MANDATORY EVENTS IN THREE OF THE STORY QUESTS either in the Nature Preserve category or in the Tourist Destination Category in order to save the land and be allowed to move forward to the third year.

If you choose one of the alternate methods, it is not a matter of experiencing a total number of Events from more than one Story Quest. It is a matter of completing three of the Stories successfully.

In other words, your options are to save the land by successfully completing:
Shoot for the Stars: The Greatest Farm in the World!

Or by completing THREE of the following Stories:

Tale of the Golden Potato Seed (Nature Preserve)
Tale of the Blue Mist and the Azure Swallowtails (Nature Preserve)
Tale of the Silver Fish (Nature Preserve)
Tale of the Blue Bird (Nature Preserve)
Tale of the Endangered Weasel (Nature Preserve)
The Hundred-Year-Old Cherry Tree (Nature Preserve)
The Secret Fossil (Nature Preserve)

Or by completing THREE of the following Stories:

Tale of the Harvest Goddess Dress (Tourist Destination)
Tale of the Cake Contest (Tourist Destination)
Tale of the Horse Race Champion (Tourist Destination)
The Harvest Goddess Temple (Tourist Destination)
Rebirth of the True Harvest Festival! (Tourist Destination)
The Holy Masterpiece (Tourist Destination)
The Legendary Baker (Tourist Destination)
Louis, the Inventor King (Tourist Destination)

You can complete Story Quests in another category if you wish but you cannot save the land by completing three Story Quests from DIFFERENT categories. In other words, completing 'The Holy Masterpiece' Quest, the 'Secret Fossil' Quest and 'The Tale of the Silver Fish' will NOT save Leaf Valley. You either have to complete two more Tourist Destination Quests or one more Nature Preserve Quest.

The screenshots are from three optional Events that begin three different Story Quests. The 'Tale of the Harvest Goddess Dress', 'Louis the Inventor King' and the 'Tale of the Endangered Weasel'.

Note that my 1st Year Events Calendar Guide, part of which is posted on this site, allows a player to co-ordinate his/her movements in order to begin as many of the Story Events as possible, giving his/her Character the option to choose the Quests he wishes to complete.

Tunnel vision always is a danger in any Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game. This is why my Calendar Events Guide is formatted according to date rather than Story.

Some Energy Recovery Values in Hero of Leaf Valley

In the early stages of any Harvest Moon game, restoring your Character's Energy Levels usually is a problem.

In Hero of Leaf Valley, your Character can do fairly well in terms of tilling his field, watering his Crops and caring for his Chickens even at the outset. Most of the Part-Time Jobs are not that taxing. The exception, however, is Woody's Part-Time Work in the Forest.

You will find that your Energy Bar can empty quickly when you are chopping down Trees for Woody or working for Rudolph in the Mine.

If you wish to be able to continue to operate during the remainder of the day, you will be forced to replenish your Stamina.

Incidentally, a reader shared a little tip: During the period before you unlock the Mine, you can restore your Energy Bar completely if you tell Rudolph that you do not know how to mine. It means that you will have to go through the entire Tutorial again, but if your Energy levels are low when you enter the Mine, it will restore them, allowing you to perform your task for him afterwards.

Here are basic values for some of the items you can obtain at the start of the game. SR stands for Stamina Recovery and FR for Fatigue Resistance. All of this information is included in my Hero of Leaf Valley General Guide/Walkthrough.

Items found in the Wilds:


Orange: 30G
Energy Value: +8 SR +0 FR
Found in Spring and Winter near the Café/Bar and Pike Mountain area


Grass: 0G
Energy Value: Nil
Found near Plaza and Pike Mountain


Cranberry: 30G
Energy Value: +6 SR -0 FR
Found in the areas of the Goddess Spring and Clove Villa


Chestnut: 20G
Energy Value: +6 SR -0 FR
Found in Summer and Autumn in the Plaza area; found in Winter near Woody’s Carpentry Shop


Walnut: 20G
Energy Values: +8 SR -0 FR
Found in Summer and Autumn in the areas of Pike Mountain and Woody’s Carpentry Shop

Black Truffle

Black Truffle: 60G
Energy Value: +6 SR -0 FR
Found in Walnut Forest


Coral: 350G
Energy Value: Nil
Found on the beach near Crystal Bay

White Truffle

White Truffle: 60G
Energy Value: +6 SR -0 FR
Found in Walnut Forest area

Star Truffle

Star Truffle: 80G
Energy Value: +8 SR -0 FR
Found exclusively by your Dog

Wonderful Seashell

Wonderful Seashell: 40G
Energy Value: Nil
Found on the Beach at Crystal Bay.

Green Herb

Green Herb: 10G
Energy Value: +0 SR +8 FR
Found in all Seasons except Autumn near Ronald’s Grocery Shop, Pike Mountain and other areas


Clam: 30G
Energy Value: +10 SR +0 FR
Found only in Spring and Autumn on the Beach at Crystal Bay

Pink Cat Mint

Pink Cat Mint: 20G
Energy Value: Nil
Found in Summer and Autumn near Pike Mountain


Grapes: 40G
Energy Value: +8 SR -0 FR
Found near Ronald’s Grocery and near Woody’s Carpentry Shop in Summer and solely near Ronald’s Grocery in Autumn


Blueberry: 20G
Energy Value: +6 SR -0 FR
Found in Spring and Summer near Ronald’s Grocery

Baby Truffle

Baby Truffle: 40G
Energy Value: +4 SR -0 FR
Found in Walnut Forest

Very Berry

Very Berry: 10G
Energy Value: +6 SR -0 FR
Found in Spring and Summer near the Plaza and the Café/Bar areas

Pontata Root

Pontata Root: 80G
Energy Value: +0 SR +20 FR
Found exclusively by your Dog when trained

Full Moon Berry

Full Moon Berry: 40G
Energy Value: +20 SR +0 FR
Found in Summer and Autumn near the Café/Bar

Moondrop Flower

Moondrop Flower: 10G
Energy Value: Nil
Found in Spring in the Clove Villa area and others (where clusters of flowers grow wild) and in Summer in the Pike Mountain area

Red Herb

Red Herb: 20G
Energy Value: +0 SR +10 FR
Found in all Seasons except Autumn near Florist/Item Shops and near the Plaza

Common Seashell

Common Seashell: 10G
Energy Value: Nil
Found on the Beach at Crystal Bay


Apple: 30G
Energy Value:
Found in all Seasons except Summer near the Goddess Spring and near Pike Mountain.

Note that one of the few items early in the game that will restore Fatigue is Red Herb.

Woody will give you a hint about this if you give him a Red Herb:

Woody for Red Herb: Oh, thanks. This is good for when you're tired.

As in many Harvest Moon games, you will find that the local Restaurants provide a fairly decent sources of Energy Recovery Items until you can afford to buy your own Kitchen.
In Hero, the two local Restaurants are to be found in a single location. The Café is open from noon to 5.00 p.m. and the Pub opens at 6.00 p.m. and stays open until Midnight.
Each has its own Menu but all items sold must be consumed immediately on the premises.
Daytime Menu at the Cafe:
Tea: 150G
This delicious tea will really relax you.
Herb Tea: 200G
It’s a soothing herbal tea. It will relieve a little weariness you might be feeling.
Energy Value: +0 SR +5 FR
Milk Tea: 200G
This milk tea full of fresh milk.
Cookie: 250G
A yummy, crunchy, homemade cookie.
Energy Value: +20 SR +0 FR
Muffin: 250G
This is a mildly sweet muffin. Comes with Very Berry Jam!
Energy Value: +20 SR +0 FR
Cake: 300G
It’s a sweet shortcake that uses pelnty of cream!
Energy Value: +32 SR +0 FR
Pancake: 300G
Hot and fluffy pancakes. Comes with sweet and yummy honey.
Energy Value: +30 SR +0 FR
Cheesecake: 350G
Every one loves cheesecake!
Energy Value: +36 SR +0 FR
Pub Menu:
Herb Wine: 350G
Energy Value: +0 SR +10 FR
Sauteed Mushrooms: 400G
Mushrooms sauteed in butter. Enjoy its simple flavours.
Energy Value: +20 SR +0 FR
Tomato Salad: 400G
Energy Value: +20 SR +0 FR
French Fries: 400G
Energy Value: +20 SR +0 FR
Assorted Cheese: 500G
Energy Value: +32 SR +0 FR
Fish Meal: 500G
Energy Value: +20 SR +0 FR
Traditionally, drinks that operate to restore Fatigue Resistance are sold at night and items rich in Stamina Recovery are sold during the Day. If you find yourself in a positionn where you need lots of Stamina Recovery after 6.00 p.m. when only the Pub is open, your best choice would be the Assorted Cheese which will give you +32 SR.

Energy Resources from Ronald

Items sold at Ronald’s Grocery have fairly good Energy Recovery Values and, unlike the items sold at the local Restaurants, you will be able to take them off the premises to use when needed.
Rice Ball: 120G
Energy Value: +12 SR + 0 FR
Fluffy Bread: 150G
Energy Value: +10 SR +0 FR
Miso: 200G
Energy Value: +20 SR +0 FR
Honey: 200G
Energy Value: +22 SR +0 FR
As you can see, the most effective Energy Recovery Item sold by Ronald is Honey, which restores more Stamina than most of the items sold at the local Restaurants as well as being less expensive.