[Top 5] Best Harvest Moon Games to Play Today

Best Harvest Moon Games
Ready for some farming fun?

What's so special about a farming simulator? 

The “Harvest Moon” series are farming simulation, role-playing games published by Natsume, Inc. in North America. The first game was released in North America in 1997, and has since gained a strong cult following. More recently, you may find the long-running series rebranded as “Story of Seasons”. 

What could be so enthralling about a farming simulator? I am here to show you the Top 5 Harvest Moon Games that you should play today. You might be a long time fan, but if you are not, after you try these games, you’ll be a fan for life!

5. Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns (Nintendo DS)

The Tale of Two Towns Gameplay

In Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns, trouble boils over in  a rural rivalry between two farming towns! 100 years ago, two neighboring towns, Bluebell and Konohana, were friendly neighbors. However, the two mayors began fighting about who had the best town, causing the irate Harvest Goddess to close up the tunnel that once connected them. Generations have passed, but the twin towns are still bitter toward each other. 

In comes you, travelling by carriage to begin your new life as a farmer. You end up falling off of your carriage after being attacked by foxes, and must have hit your head, because you forget what town you were supposed to live in! The two mayors, Rutger of Bluebell and Ina of Konohana will tell you a bit about their respective towns, and you get to choose. After you pick, you begin your life there and the goal is to attempt to repair the relationship between these two towns. To do so, you must participate in the Cooking Festival held each month. 

The two-town concept was a great idea, and traveling between the two added a new feature to the game. If you didn’t like where you chose to live, you do get the option to change at the end of each season. Living in both towns at some point is important to getting the full experience in the game. Bluebell is famous for ranching, while Konohana specializes in growing crops. You also get to choose a girl or boy player, and participate in the normal Harvest Moon activities of raising livestock, growing crops, fishing, and foraging for wild berries and herbs In this game, you can even take requests and run errands for the fellow villagers.

However, there were some shortcomings, which is why it is number 5 on my list. Food and animal products had a “freshness” level. Food would, and could, expire and be useless. The main goal of the game is to have the towns reconnect, and to do that, you must participate in cooking festivals that will slowly fill up the relationship bar between the two villages. It became impossible to store ingredients, as they would eventually go bad, rendering me unable to cook anything without careful planning. Relocating between the two towns in order to “do everything” was also a bit tedious. 

Overall, this title provided an interesting style of gameplay, but had a few faults that were too bothersome to deal with. 

The player tends to livestock in Bluebell.

 

4. Harvest Moon: Animal Parade (Nintendo Wii)

Animal Parade Gameplay

There’s trouble in Harmonica Town! Crops aren’t growing, the wind isn’t blowing, and the five elemental bells are missing. Only the Harvest King’s powers can restore the land, but he is nowhere to be found! Your job is to find the five bells, awaken the Harvest King, and save the town! But...you’re just a farmer! 

In Animal Parade, you also get to choose a male or female player. You will have the help of a little Harvest Sprite named Finn, his function is to give you hints about what you should do next. (Think: Navi from Ocarina of Time) In order to recover the five bells and save the town, you will participate in several activities, such as mining, raising livestock, fishing, growing crops, cooking, and raising your friendship with the local villagers. There is a lot of stuff in this game to keep you entertained, and a big map to explore.

This game is number 4 on my list mostly for the frame rate and loading times. This is not a well-rendered game, and moving from one area to the next causes a long loading screen to appear. It breaks up the game’s flow and if you’re really trying to get something done, can be problematic. 

This game is charming and packed full of things to do, if you don’t mind spending a lot of time sitting at a loading screen. 

The yellow bell tolls for...Chisa!

 

3. Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town/More Friends of Mineral Town (Gameboy Advance)

 

As a child, you spent a summer in the countryside and found great memories there with a kind old man. As an adult, you receive a letter saying that you have inherited his farm! You must now move to Mineral Town and restore the farm to the way you remember it. Can you make a new life in the happy village of Mineral Town?

This game is actually two games, however, the only difference is your character’s gender. In Friends of Mineral Town, you play as a male, in More Friends of Mineral Town, you play as a female. The only change is the candidates for marriage. 

This is a classic story, throwing back to earlier games in the series, you are given an old farm from a relative and have to fix it up and restore it to its former glory. Not the most exciting storyline, but I feel like Mineral Town gives you enough to do to keep you interested for a long time. Recently, this game also had a remake on the Switch! 

Besides the textbook features such as raising livestock, growing crops, and getting to know the villagers, you can also trigger otherworldly encounters with mythical creatures including the Harvest Goddess and Kappa. There are many secrets and unlockable events and items that may take a long time to achieve, and I won’t spoil them here! Play this game and find them for yourself! 

This game holds a special place in my heart but I only put it at number 3 because it has not aged well. As a GBA game, it had some limitations of course. If you can get past the graphics, you find a charming little game that has so much to discover. With the new Switch remake, Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town, you can experience the same game with updated graphics and new features to explore.

Such a warm welcome to Mineral Town!

 

2. Harvest Moon: Magical Melody (Nintendo Gamecube)

Magical Melody Gameplay

Start a farm, build a village! Flower Bud Village was falling on hard times when you bought a plot of land, as part of the “Exciting Ranch Plan” flyer that brought you to this town. The local residents as well as newcomers depend on the bounty from your land for their livelihoods. It’s up to you to create a farm, grow a village and make Flower Bud Village a bustling place again! 

In Magical Melody, you start off with very little, just a small house. You have the freedom to buy land and build on it as you see fit. You even get to pick from three plots of land to start your farm! The interesting mechanic of this game is that by shipping specific items, you can get more people to move to your town. For example, if you ship a lot of medical herbs, the Sanatorium will be built. If you ship a lot of eggs and milk, the cafe will open and bring new residents to the town. It’s all up to you to help the village grow. 

While doing so, you also will fulfill the game’s main story: collecting 100 musical notes, to revive the Harvest Goddess, who turned herself into stone because the people forgot about her. (So dramatic!) You can get musical notes from doing just about anything, even for taking a single step! The notes often pop up in unexpected places, so you have to do everything. Like other Harvest Moon titles, you can participate in various activities such as raising livestock, growing crops, fishing, mining, making friends, falling in love, and getting married. 

This game’s art style is super adorable, but may be off-putting to some. I personally love the chibi style, I find it endearing. Although it certainly isn’t for everyone, this is a light-hearted, cutesy game that will suck you in and won’t let go. 

The player gets a note, and an inspirational quote!

 

1. Harvest Moon 64 (Nintendo 64)

Harvest Moon 64 Gameplay

Retire to the country as you take on a farming challenge! Your hard work is rewarded as you restore Grandpa’s farm back to its former glory. Work the land, pick up odd-jobs for extra cash, get to know the neighbors, and discover the many surprises that await!

This game comes after the Super Nintendo game, Harvest Moon. This game is number 1 on my list because it has so much, and so many things to discover! I won’t spoil them all here, but by farming and fixing up the land left to you by your dear old Grandpa, you uncover a lot about the town of Flower Bud Village, and there are a few easter eggs that are a throwback to the original Harvest Moon to find.

In this game, you have just 2 years to fix up the farm. After that time, your overly critical father comes back from the city to check on how you’re doing. To please him, you must have done everything, and have done it well. Having a barn full of livestock, growing crops, making friends, fishing, mining, joining in on festivals and events, falling in love, getting married...and more! Can you get the coveted party picture for your photo album? It’s not easy! 

I also love the glitches in this game. There are so many text errors and things that go wrong that many people may stop playing, but I welcome them and just part of the charm. No matter how long it’s been, I can keep coming back to this game like it’s an old, close friendThis game just feels like home to me and is what sparked my love for Harvest Moon. My best friend and I bonded as childhood friends over this game, spending hours, taking turns, playing. This is my favorite game of all time, and is on the Wii U virtual console if you would like to experience it but don’t have an Nintendo 64. 

This game doesn’t really tell you what to do like most modern games. You’re left to figure it out pretty much on your own. Your first playthrough won’t be pretty, but as you play you’ll learn new things and it will make you want to try again. Even now, so many years later, I always discover something new! This is the top Harvest Moon game you should play NOW. 

Turn your farm into a thriving business!

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From running a farming empire to managing a city of tiny animals, Alli loves the playful side of gaming. With a story to tell, she can't wait to make people read her (very strong) opinions.
Gamer Since: 1995
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Sims 4, Papers, Please, Gone Home
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