Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley Tool System
Natsume has launched a developer diary, shedding light on details on the latest addition to the [easyazon_link asin=”B008A27UMG” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”cattame-20″]Harvest Moon franchise[/easyazon_link] Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley.
The first release is all about the tool system, one of the most important aspects of the game. Players spend a huge portion of their time farming, foraging, and fishing so having an efficient system is key. A clunky tool system tends to cause frustration and lessen the fun factor.
“When we sat down to design Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, we wanted to really study what made the game fun,” said Taka Maekawa, Natsume Inc producer. “We wanted to maintain the core value of hard work leading to great rewards, while minimizing anything that may detract from a fun game.”
“We took a long, hard look at the tool system and decided to go back to the drawing board,” Maekawa continued. “We came to the conclusion that gameplay should flow, so we made three core changes to the tool system.”
The Right Tool For The Job
Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley introduces context-sensitive tools. When a player is standing in front of a tree, for example, there are only certain actions they are logically able to do to the tree. A player can’t shear or milk the tree, so if they have an axe in their inventory, the game will automatically know that they want to chop down the tree. All they have to do is walk up to the tree, push the A Button, and they will chop the tree down! Now there is no need to open the menu to select and equip a tool, which slows down the flow of gameplay.
Call On Your Friendly Harvest Sprite To Upgrade
Instead of upgrading their tools, the Harvest Sprites now act as tool upgrades. It can be frustrating, as well as time-consuming, to hunt down the exact type of ore players need to upgrade their tools. Therefore, in the new game, all they have to do is ask the Harvest Sprites for their help, and they’ll be able to water their crops, mine material stone, collect lumber, and more. They won’t ever have to worry about taking their tools to get upgraded, which will allow them to save time and explore the land!
It’s All In The Bag!
Everything in the player’s bag is at their disposal! Since they can stack up to 255 of each item, storage won’t be a problem! They won’t have to run back to their house, get items from their tool box or refrigerator, and so on, because they can keep everything in their bag. Therefore, when villagers need an item, they won’t have to worry about not having it! The player’s trusty bag will help to save tons of time.
In Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, players will experience the role-playing farm simulation in a three-dimensional setting for the first time. The game has a fully customizable world, and players can customize their field in any way they see fit: from a field full of tulips like they might see in Holland, to a valley filled with water like Venice, the choice is up to them. Players have never played a Harvest Moon game quite like this!
As a long time fan of the franchise, I have to say I’m actually very happy with these changes to the tool system. I like the fact that we no longer have to switch tools out for different tasks. They’ve definitely nailed it when they say that having to access menus and switch around tools hurts the overall gameplay flow. I imagine there will still be a need to select some in some cases so it will be interesting to see how it’s handled.
I’m very excited to be able to access help from the Harvest Sprites. In some previous Harvest Moon games, players could ask the spouse to take care of animal or crops for you but that wasn’t a feature available across the board. I hope that spouses and children will have more function in The Lost Valley.
I know that it’s a long running joke for many games that it’s impossible for characters to actually carry the amount of loot they have in their bags. All those bombs Link? Really? But I do have to say that I appreciate being able to carry and stack many items.
It sounds like Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley has tailored the game play itself to allow for more efficient progress and free up the player’s time. I know they are really emphasizing the idea of exploration and customizing the land, but I hope there’s more to it than that. I’d personally love to see more options when it comes to relationship building, not just with a potential spouse but other residents of the town.
Only time will tell!