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Harvest Moon DS Titles
Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands was released in Japan almost a year ago, but is only now coming out in the US. While it is a remake of Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness, it one of the best Harvest Moon games since Magical Melody for the GameCube.
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In Harvest Moon Sunshine Islands for the Nintendo DS, you are a rancher who has come to a little island community to take over a ranch. Once there, you find out the small island chain was once much larger, but an earthquake caused many of the islands to sink beneath the sea. In order to raise the islands you must find Sun Stones and give them to the harvest sprites.
Yeah, right away Harvest Moon Sunshine Islands has one up on Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness. It actually has a story, albeit a very thin one. However, the story isn't really the point, but it does offer some guidance which is nice since so few Harvest Moon DS games do.
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Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands plays similarly to Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness. You own a ranch with a large plot of land on which to grow vegetables and raise animals. While you can grow stuff right away, you have to build a chicken coop before you can purchase any animals (although you have a barn, so that is a bit stupid).
Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands improves upon Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness' control scheme. You can control movement via touch screen or the d-pad, which makes watering and harvesting crops much easier. You have four open equipment slots that you can fill, but in order to use a tool you must select it with the touch screen then press Y. The shipping bin is the biggest improvement in Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands. To place items inside all you have to do is touch the bin and it opens a new screen that allows you to drag and drop items inside of it, sort of like a folder on a computer.
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The characters in Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands are the same as Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness, except a new bachelor and bachelorette have been added to the fray. They also added more pets to Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands, as you can have a pig and a cat in addition to the horse and dog of Island of Happiness.
As you collect Sun Stones throughout Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands, you get to raise a whole slew of new islands that have a variety of things on them, from a mine, to a forest brimming with wild animals.
Another cool feature of Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands is the harvest sprites can enchant things for you, from charming villagers to like you more, to lowering the prices at stores, the harvest sprites will do it all for free. They can even be hired to help you out on the ranch for a few days, although they do need to rest for a certain number of days between each enchantment.
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Graphics and Sound
Graphic wise Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands looks pretty much the same as Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness. The 3D looks good and the colors are bright and cheerful, befitting a Harvest Moon game. The chibi design of the characters is also cute.
The sound in Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands hasn't changed much either. The season songs are different, but the songs while inside people's houses are the same, as are the menu songs. However, the music is cute and fits the mood of the game well, so I can't complain.
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While I enjoyed Island of Happiness, Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands is much better. With more direction and explanations of all the things you can do in the game, it makes playing this Harvest Moon game all the more enjoyable. While almost none of the characters are new, it is fun to revisit the old island with a different scenario. Plus, the ease of shipping makes it much more fun.
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If you are a fan of Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness or Harvest Moon: Magical Melody, pick up Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands. While Harvest Moon games aren't for everyone, you can get a lot of fun out this one if you like these farming sims.