I’ve documented how addicted I am to Animal Crossing: New Horizons on a couple of occasions. There’s just something nice about a game that doesn’t really have a story and allows you to be as creative as you feel like being. I’ve never looked into a Harvest Moon game before, but after spending hours breeding flowers and fishing to fill my critterpedia, I realized the HM series could scratch that itch. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Harvest Moon: One World, but in the process of this review, I realized two things. One, Harvest Moon: One World (HMOW) is incredibly tedious. Two, I could not stop playing it.
In HMOW, the player character lives in a world where the only thing to eat in her corner of the world are potatoes. As far as anyone remembers, that’s all there’s ever been. But the little farmer-to-be knows that can’t be all there is to eat in the world, no matter what anyone says. Thanks to her strong sense of belief, she’s able to see Wisps who give her seeds to plant. She also happens to find a sprite of the Harvest Goddess (who has the most unfortunate name—Vitae) who tells her that if they’re able to wake the Harvest Goddess, they can restore the world back to how it used to be, complete with bountiful crops and animals.
And thus, her (and therefore your) journey begins as a quest to restore all of the Sprites across the world to wake the Harvest Goddess. And how do you do this, you ask? All you have to do is fix a village’s problem with its environment, and a Sprite awakens! And as you’ve probably guessed, waking up these Sprites involves farming. Get that hoe ready, because you have a lot of backbreaking work to do and fetch quests to complete.
There are plenty of things for your farmer to do in HMOW, but at its core, it’s all about farming. As a farmer, you will wake up at the crack of dawn and collapse into your bed when the sun goes down. If you stay up too late, the next day you’ll be so tired that it doesn’t take long for your stamina to wear out. Once all of your stamina is gone, you pass out and have to rely on Vitae to get you home to bed. While playing, you’ll have to keep your eyes on your stamina and on the clock. A whole day will go by before you know it, especially if you’re walking long distances.
It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I had to develop a routine for each day. Wake up, feed the animals, pet the animals, brush the animals, clean the stalls, collect eggs, milk the cows, and then harvest and water crops. By then it was usually noon or close to it. That’s when I had to decide what “special” activity I would do for the rest of the day. Would I go fishing? Mining? What fetch quests can I fulfill? What are the best routes back to the farm I can take to try to tame some animals? As evening rolls in, you head back to the farm, plant new seeds you collected, craft items to sell, and put the animals in for the night. You know, like an actual farmer has to do.
But also like an actual farmer, things can take what seems like forever to complete. To make friends with various characters (and possible love interests) across all of the villages, they’ll ask you to complete various tasks for them that they’re evidently too lazy to do themselves. Sometimes they’re simple tasks, such as growing turnips, which are easy to find and they grow quickly. Others will ask for specific wood from trees that only grow in areas you haven’t reached yet. The best is when villagers ask for fish that aren’t in season or recipes you can’t access until much later down the line. Did I say best? I meant worst. As someone who constantly feels the need to clear off any quest markers in every game, this was all very stressful for me. It’s a good thing there were no time limits on these quests. One lady waited nearly a year for ice tomatoes.
It would be easy to burn through this game rather quickly by waking the Harvest Sprite in each village and moving on to the next. Owning and taking care of animals isn’t really a prerequisite, and neither is finishing every side quest or filling out your farming catalog. I considered doing just that when I realized how tedious each day was. But then, I found myself not putting the game down because I wanted to see what I could find the next day. Tomorrow I should have enough of this one crop to fulfill a side quest. The next day I should have brand new crops ready for harvesting. I just learned a new recipe, so I need another day or two to harvest what I need to make it. I wonder how much I can sell it for.
And it goes on and on. That’s the beauty of Harvest Moon: One World. You may be doing the same things day after day, like a real farmer, but each day brings something new as well, whether it’s crops, animals, friends, materials, fish, recipes, etc. Kind of like a real farmer, right? The game is also so charming, relaxing, and adorable, which just makes spending time with it all the more appealing.
If you’ve always wanted to try out a Harvest Moon title, then Harvest Moon: One World is a great entry point. As I can attest, no prior knowledge of previous games is required. So go forth, farm, and save the world, one crop at a time.
Harvest Moon: One World is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.