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Preview: Harvest Moon: One World Looks Like It Encourages Exploration

harvest moon: one world preview

Ever since the split that fractured the farming sims into Natsume’s original Harvest Moon games and Marvelous and XSEED Games’ Bokujou Monogatari/Story of Seasons line, we’ve seen the games go in different directions. Natsume tended to follow the approach of older games, which meant returning characters in each entry, while experimenting with real-life elements like crop variants. After getting to watch more of Harvest Moon: One World during a preview event, it seems clear that this is the next step toward the company finding its own thing. And this time, it appears to offer a more grounded and cohesive approach.

As in any Harvest Moon game, players are a fledgling farmer attempting to find a way for themselves. This means growing crops and raising livestock to make money, increase their farm’s capacity and capabilities, and become more prosperous. Also, as with past Natsume original Harvest Moon games, there are quests to do things like unlock new festivals or improve people’s lives on the way to restoring the Harvest Goddess.

harvest moon: one world preview

What’s changed here is the approach. Harvest Moon: One World looks like it offers a sprawling landscape, with multiple cities and regions. Each one seems to have its own climate and tendencies. For example, the preview I participated in involved spending time in the oceanside and tropical Halo Halo, the desert Pastilla, and even briefly the frosty Salmiakki. Each location seems to have its own biome and designated spot where someone could place an Expando-Farm to set up a homestead.

What was interesting is how easy the Harvest Moon: One World preview I saw made setting down roots and picking up shop. This installment adds a fast travel Memory Portal system that allows you to immediately go to a place you’ve visited before. (Only you, though, as you can’t teleport while riding a mount like a camel, horse, or reindeer.) You can essentially carry your homestead with you and move along with the seasons. Though, when you do move, you only take your house and animal barns. Your fields remain. But with fast traveling, it seemed easy enough to teleport back to tend to those remaining crops.

In addition to knowing you can swiftly travel and easily establish your home, the Wisps seem like another way Harvest Moon: One World encourages freedom. When exploring areas, you might see brightly colored fairies related to the Harvest Sprites and Harvest Goddess. These can give you different sorts of seeds. In keeping with Natsume’s original Harvest Moon traditions, where you plant, how you plant it, and the current biome and season can all influence the outcome of the fruit or vegetable. Since different quests and recipes will require certain variants, it seems like it could be a good motivation to resettle every once in a while when someone is stumped.

harvest moon: one world preview

But it also seems like the Harvest Wisps will incentivize something farming sims don’t often encourage. That is staying up past your bedtime. You need to rely on these supernatural creatures for seeds. But, like NPCs in these sorts of games, they have their own schedules. Which means someone might have to stay up late to see if a Harvest Wisp will be around. We’ll have to see if it is true in practice, but it seems like it could offer new options and alter limitations.

After watching Harvest Moon: One World gameplay during a preview event, it seems like the goal is continued growth. Natsume’s latest seems like it wants to take the idea of experimenting with crop types and fulfilling questlines with the option of regular relocation. If it does end up working out, it could be another step toward making its own farming entries feel unique.

Harvest Moon: One World will appear on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 in the Americas on March 2, 2021, with the Switch version showing up in Europe on March 5, 2021. An Xbox One version is also in development.

Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.