Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review of Tides of Destiny

A number of players have asked for a review of this game, so I am going to oblige them with a brief note about it.

Tides of Destiny will not disappoint fans of Rune Factory who would like to see all of their favourite elements incorporated in every game in the series, yet it is different enough to satisfy those who want something new.

Instead of suffering from the traditional case of amnesia, your Character and his best friend are transported to another era and are forced to share one body. It is the body of the Male Character, but one of the goals in the game is to lift the curse that keeps the poor Female Character locked inside her best friend's body. Once this is accomplished, you can move forward in two different games if you so choose. You will be able to play as the Male Character and as the Female Character.

It is an interesting premise and one that can be by turns both amusing and annoying. The female Character does not remain mute even in the presence of others. The little dramatic exchange that occurs when a female Voice pipes up in an introduction to a new Character does become a little tedious although, after a point, even the protagonists become bored with the business and settle for a dialogue along the lines of: 'It's a long story and I'll tell you all about it later.'

As in every Rune Factory game, your Character must hone his combat Skills as fighting and taming Monsters is essential. Fishing is included in the game as well. As is usually the case in Rune Factory, most of your essential Tools (and your first Weapon) will be Gifts. They are sold at local shops, however, so if you are not patient enough to WAIT for the Gift Event, you can purchase them. You can find a Brush and a Harvester on the floor of your Barn and the Fishing Pole is a gift from Joe but Joe sells both Harvesters and Brushes and the local Smithy sells the Cheap Fishing Pole.

The biggest differences in terms of gameplay are the seafaring element, the enormous Earth Golem named Ymir who takes the place of a Ship and the way that farming is organised.

You cannot farm on your Home Island and indeed, your Character does not tend Crops himself but must instead tame Monsters in the Crop Group to tend them for him. He can 'find' sprouts on specific Islands through use of his Spirit Wand and then set Monsters ashore on that Island to tend them. It is an interesting change.

Seafaring is a big part of this game. Important Requests tend to deal with exploration of the Ocean and 'X Marks the Spot' is the way that it works. The Character who makes the Request will place an X on your Sea Chart and you then must control Ymir and 'set sail' for the location. Once the location is reached, Ymir must raise the Island for you.

There are Sea Monsters that appear randomly in the course of these expeditions. The location of the Sea Monsters is not random, but the actual type of Monster that appears on any given expedition will be chosen randomly in many cases. When fighting a Sea Monster, it is not your Character who performs the combat but rather Ymir, controlled by your Character.

Cooking, Forging, Crafting and Mixing Medicines are available from the start as your Character can use his Neighbours' facilities. Only simple Recipes that require a maximum of two Ingredients can be made in another Character's facility. To make Recipes that require more Ingredients, you first must expand your Cottage to include a second floor and then purchase the Crafting area. James sells Expansions and Crafting Areas. The House Expansion needed in this instance costs 10,000G.

You will not have any trouble making money in this game. Many of the early Requests have good monetary Rewards. Buffamoo and Woolies can be found on the first Island you explore and when tamed, yield Milk and Small Fleece respectively. You can sell Items to any local Merchant. There is a bargaining option in some cases and there are 'selling trends' that will boost the value of certain types of Items on specific days. The same Bulletin Board that posts Requests posts the Weather, Selling Trends and Local News.

There are a number of little mini-games that occur at specific Festivals or as Requests. This, too, is familiar to fans of the series.

There is another interesting aspect to Island exploration in that some Islands can be raised only temporarily. While Ymir holds them in the air, you can explore them but then must allow him to toss them back into the sea. They can be found again, however...

I will add to this review shortly but for now must return to actual guide-writing!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Rune Factory, Tides of Destiny Site

Although Harvest Moon Forever is my primary site, in the past year or two, I have created separate sites for each Harvest Moon and Rune Factory game. You will find links to the new Harvest Moon Tale of Two Towns Site and Rune Factory Tides of Destiny Sites on the right side of this page.

Unfortunately, I stupidly mistyped the name of my Tides of Destiny Site yesterday when I created the link. It now DOES go to a real site!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Upcoming Tale of Two Towns Site


The newest game in the Harvest Moon series is 'Tale of Two Towns' and I am in the process of creating a site as well as the usual Guides for this game. 'Tale of Two Towns' has been released for the ordinary DS system but a slightly different version is due to be released for the 3D system shortly. Evidently, the game will be the same for the most part, but there will be some special little additions to the 3D game.

In 'Tale of Two Towns', you choose not only your character's gender but his/her residence of choice. There are two Towns, as the name of the game announces. The Towns are Bluebell and Konohana. Bluebell Town specialises in Animal Farming. Konohana specialises in Crops and Orchards. The Towns are separated by a mountain region.

The Harvest Goddess will tell you the history of the Two Towns as well as the reason why she blocked the tunnel that cuts through the mountain and once acted as a shortcut between them. Too much bickering between the Mayors and villagers of both towns became unbearable to her and she caused an earthquake to bring down boulders to act as a barrier. Your primary task at the start of the game is to restore good relations between Bluebell and Konohana as she regrets the act that further divided them.

Although Crop Farming and Animal Husbandry are divided between the two Towns and you must choose between the two at the start of the game, it is not only possible but desirable to change your residence from time to time. You have the ability to make a choice each season, so every player can experience the unique beauty and charm of each Village, not only as a tourist but as a resident. While living in one Village, you are encouraged to visit the other. Each Village has some basic shops, but there are specialised businesses that can be found only in one of the two.

Note that although you must choose between Crop Farming and Animal Husbandry, you will be able to grow Crops on your Farm in Bluebell Village or raise Animals on your Farm in Konohana.

In true Harvest Moon tradition, there are Cooking Festivals and it is the Cooking Festivals that offer you the opportunity to begin to mend relations between the Two Towns.

Players of both Harvest Moon and Rune Factory will note new options in this Harvest Moon game that have been taken from Rune Factory. Among other things, there is a Message Board where Requests can be taken and Courtship includes both Heart Events and 'Date Events'.

Players who enjoyed Grand Bazaar will note that some of the Characters as well as gameplay options from that game have been included in Tale of Two Towns. The three brothers who were so prominent in the Bazaar are Characters in Tale of Two Towns. Another Grand Bazaar option is the ability to purchase pets who will herd your Animals as they do in Grand Bazaar.

The Mountain Area that separates the Two Towns is particularly glorious in this game, and gives a Player the ability to forage for Mushrooms, Bamboo Shoots and other wild items as well as Fishing and catching Insects. New to Two Towns is the ability to catch fish with your hands! The use of a Fishing Rod is necessary to catch many varieties of Fish but shallow waters offer the chance to 'hand fish'.

A preliminary General Guide should be available on my new Tale of Two Towns site this weekend. The site has been created and you will find pages for the General Guide and Calendar Guide. More information will be added as time permits.

Happy Harvesting!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Farmville meets Harvest Moon

My own secret hope is that one day soon there will be a genuine Harvest Moon game created for Facebook. Meanwhile, with the advent of the English Countryside in Farmville, one can play a game that reminds one quite a lot of Harvest Moon.

The English Countryside is a location where players who have reached Level 20 or higher in Farmville can own a second farm. In classical Harvest Moon form, you will be asked to rescue a dilapidated estate by an elderly gentleman who arrives on your land in an old-fashioned airship and who, after you help him with the repairs, will invite you to journey back home with him.

The English Countryside offers a sequence of Quests to allow players to obtain necessary buildings and animals, introducing them to new Crops and the ability to raise hybrid Animals that did not exist in the original Farmville.

Quests have become more frequent in Farmville over the past year, appearing generally to mark holiday seasons such as Christmas and Valentine's Day. They usually require the planting and harvesting of specific Crops, interactions with Neighbours/Friends to obtain specific unique items with progressively more valuable Rewards for each task in the sequence.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fantasy Kingdoms

Once again, I would like to recommend Fantasy Kingdoms to Harvest Moon and Rune Factory players. It is an extraordinarily beautiful game that appears to be unique among the large number of Facebook farming simulation games that continue to proliferate wildly. It does not have the plot depth of Harvest Moon or Rune Factory but the developers constantly are expanding the scope of the game. I wrote a little guide for it, although I need to update it again with the new items.

Freyashawk's Fantasy Kingdoms Site

In particular, I would recommend the game to any one who loves to celebrate festivals and holidays as FK always has the most amazing Items to honour the various festivals in the Wheel of the Year. The Lunar New Year is being celebrated and Items for St. Valentine's Day are being released now as well. Unlike Zynga (who makes Farmville and Frontierville), the makers of Fantasy Kingdoms are very responsive to players.

Harvest Moon and Rune Factory always will be my greatest focus and I am workiing still on Rune Factory 3, which is one of the LARGEST interactive novels I ever experienced, with actual variations on Request Events and Date Events that allow a player to experience a completely different Event randomly if and when he/she either reloads or accepts a Simple Request or initiates a Date Event for the second time!
The dialogues are witty, humourous and sometimes amusingly bizarre. Any one who appreciates the actual Events in Harvest Moon and Rune Factory will find this game more than satisfying.

Speaking of which, because of the wealth of Event variations in the game, I haven't published a Rune Factory 3 Courtship and Marriage Guide yet, but hope to have one in place by next week.