hyper_hedgehog's Harvest Moon: Magical Melody (Wii) review

Unfriendly and clumsy, but incredibly addictive.

Harvest Moon: Magical Melody is not a new game. Sure, it never came out in PAL regions, and it is in Wii packaging, but don't be fooled. This is a port of a Gamecube game released in the States and Japan. A lazy one at that.

The game's story is typical Harvest Moon; you get a farm. Now live your life. There is also an interesting sub-plot involving a Harvest Goddess and notes you are rewarded for completing tasks.

Normally, you are taught what to do, introduced to the villagers, given some seeds, a dog, and maybe a cow to start off... but in this game you are quite literally dumped right in the thick of it; no tutorials, no preparation, just left in front of your house with a dog you didn't even ask for. No barn, seeds or anything; just you. No amount of 'very's can describe how unfriendly this game is.

After either figuring out what to do (in which case you are either a genius or a die-hard Harvest Moon fan) or jumping on to the computer for help (which is far more likely), the game's vortex starts to suck you in.

You have a number of choices: you can buy some seeds, grab your hoe and watering can, and build a vegetable empire, mine for treasure with your hammer in the local cave, fish for your dinner or start making friends and searching for a wife. You can't buy any animals at the beginning for two reasons: you have very little money and/or need to buy a barn.

The socialising aspect is very important; making friends yields items, a wider choice of property, or more people coming to your village. In this game, nice guys win everything.

The other aspects can be slightly infuriating, thanks to the over complicated menu and shoddy motion controls, which don't work when you need them and do when you don't, deplenishing the stamina bar, another poor addition, causing you to faint.

All in all, though, Magical Melody is a game that, despite its major flaws, will keep you coming back for more time and time again.
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