Harvest Moon is a franchise that is known for its deep, rewarding, and repetitive gameplay. The series began on the SNES, and gamers around the world instantly fell in love with the charming art style and amazing gameplay. The formula has not changed very much over the years, the developers have just been adding to it piece by piece.
The gameplay of the Harvest Moon series is based on farming. Players start out with a few tools, a little bit of money, and a large patch of run-down land. The farm usually gets started by clearing out the field of debris like stones, weeds, and branches. After that, players can start to plant crops and engage in a variety of farm activities like caring for livestock, watering crops, and even playing with your dog or cat. The basic gameplay sounds boring, but the satisfaction of the Harvest Moon series comes from seeing your hard work pay off.
If you plant a couple crops and take care of them very well, then you will have a bit more money than you did before you bought the seeds. This leads to a very slow ramp up to what eventually becomes a very busy life running a farm. After you wake up you will most likely find yourself taking care of your coop full of chickens by feeding them in gathering their eggs. Then you can head over to the barn to milk your cows, sheer your sheep, and make sure they are fed and brushed. After the animals are taken care of, its time for the crops, which will take up most of your day. You will need to harvest an crops that are fully grown, plant any new crops that you want, water all your crops, make sure the field has no weeds or other debris in it, and check on your growing grass that can be turned into fodder for your cows and sheep. All in all that will keep you busy for most of the time. The year in Harvest Moon is usually divided into four season, spring, summer, fall, and winter. Just like the farming itself the seasons are a slow ramp up from barely doing anything farming related in the winter, to spending all day ever day farming in the fall. The rest of the game is social interaction, which is usually pretty fun and is a nice distraction from the usually busy life as a farmer.
During the game the player can woo a girl, to eventually become their wife, or in the later games a boy to become their husband. Giving the girl/boy gifts and engaging in events with that character leads them to develop a 'relationship', and eventually a proposal can be made, with the outcome leading to that girl/boy moving in to your farm and then having your child. In some of the games, this child plays a more active role in the end game, however it is mostly for show and doesn't lead to much else other then a better end game video or score.
It is usually possible to continue gameplay beyond the main story arc in this franchise, since the nature of the plots progress in this series follow the "improve your ancestor's farm" or "save the village" tropes.