I played Harvest Moon 3D: The Lost Valley, Natsume’s internally developed Harvest Moon game. The title has been in development for over two years at Natsume’s Tokyo office.
One of the key takeaways from speaking with Natsume is they looked at what were the most popular selling Harvest Moon games. Those were Harvest Moon: Back to Nature for PsOne, Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town for Game Boy Advance, and Harvest Moon 64. From there, Natsume looked at common elements in those titles, analyzed media reviews, and listened to fan feedback to guide development for The Lost Valley.
Visually, Harvest Moon 3D: The Lost Valley looks more like Harvest Moon: Back to Nature with super deformed characters. The world has a blocky feel to it, but there’s a good reason for that. Harvest Moon 3D: The Lost Valley feels like Minecraft with farming.
Players can dig up ground all the way down to water and stack ground to make mountains. The demo had a mountain one of the producers built. I made a little winding staircase in about a minute. Building is easy to do, you bring up a menu and press B to dig (lower the terrain’s height) or X to fill (increase height). The catch is you need resources to build. Each time you dig up ground you gain one soil unit, which you can use to fill land. There are other materials like lumber, stone, wool, and ultimate wool too. Another interesting tidbit is players can build bridges.
It’s possible to plant crops at the apex of a player made hill. Although, it isn’t clear why you would do that at this point. The game has an invisible wall that protects famers from falling more than two squares. You can also dig a river nearby you to fish in if you don’t want to walk far.
Harvest Moon 3D: The Lost Valley also changes how the rucksack works. In previous games, players have to equip a tool to use it and if you want to switch tools you have to go through menus. The Lost Valley makes the A button the all purpose tool button. Once you place a tool in the rucksack, the game will automatically use that tool when you need it. So, you don’t have to switch between the shovel or axe you can just press A to terraform your farmland.
Harvest Moon 3D: The Lost Valley has animals to care for. I saw sheep, cows, and a pet dog. Players can also choose to be a boy or girl and, yes, the game has a marriage system. We didn’t get details about that, but I jotted down the names of NPCs – Hanna, Iris, Catherine, Gilbert, Hunter, Emily, Tony, and April – which may be bachelors and bachelorettes. One of the characters is a mad scientist. Another character is a wizard and the game has a bard too.
Natsume says they still have more to talk about when it comes to Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley. We should find out more soon since the game is slated for release this fall on Nintendo 3DS.