Harvest Moon 64 is the third game of the series, following Harvest Moon on the SNES and Harvest Moon GB. It was developed and published by Pack-In-Video Co., Ltd. in Japan and published by Natsume in North America (and PAL regions for the Virtual Console release). Many of the features from previous games return in this one, as well as the return of the dating simulation elements that had been absent from Harvest Moon GB. However, the ability to play as a girl was absent from this game, and would not reappear until a remake of Back to Nature, and would not come to games released outside Japan until More Friends of Mineral Town.
The game begins with the death of your grandfather. He was a well beloved figure among the locals, and owned a farm that has since become overgrown with rocks and weeds. On his death bed, he asked you to get the ranch back on its feet. Your father isn’t sure you can handle the responsibility, and will return in three years to check up on you. It’s up to you to fulfill your late grandfather’s last request and prove yourself, or your father will drag you back home.
In order to fulfill your grandfather's last request, you have a lot of work to do. Among other things, you aim to clear the land, plant and harvest crops, raise some animals, expand the farm's facilities, and while you're at it, befriend the residents of Flower Bud Village and marry one of the local ladies. You will want to accomplish as much as you can before the third summer, when your father returns to check your progress. This gives you little over two years.
While this sounds like a lot of time at first, a day goes by quickly and a season only lasts thirty days. Certain activities can only be performed in certain seasons; crops and grass can only be grown from Spring to Fall, while you can only mine minerals in the cave during Winter.
To bring the farm back to viability, you’re going to have to get your hands dirty. Luckily, you start the game with the right tools for the job. These tools will automatically upgrade to silver and gold iterations the more they are used.
- Axe: Used to destroy tree stumps, each of which requires six strikes to remove. Removing tree stumps is how the player acquires Lumber. Upgrades every 450 uses, each upgrade reduces the number of strikes to destroy a stump. A silver ax can remove a stump with two hits, a golden ax with only one.
- Watering Can: The tool of choice to water your crops, and those crops need water in order to produce sellable product. Upgraded watering cans increase the can’s capacity from 30 to 50 (silver) to 80 (gold), and increase the area that can be watered in one use from one square to the three in front of you (silver) to three rows of three in front of you (gold). Upgrades every 600 uses.
- Hoe: Ignore the name, this hoe (heh) tills the soil, producing tilled squares where seeds can be planted. This tool is also used in the mine. The hoe upgrades every 300 uses, and each upgrade increases the number of squares that can be tilled in one use from one square to three (silver) to five (gold).
- Hammer: Stop, it’s hammer time. This tool is the only thing that can destroy the stones on your farm, though said stones can be repurposed into unbreakable fences. The hammer can also flatten tilled soil. Upgrades every 100 uses, and each upgrade reduces the number of strikes required to break large stones from six to two (silver) to one (gold). A golden hammer is required to break the large rock in the middle of the pond.
- Sickle: The choice for all the working class! This thing clears weeds and planted grass; clearing the latter converts it into animal fodder for your sheep and cows and sends it to your silo automatically. Every 350 use upgrades it, improving the number of squares that can be cleared to the one directly in front of you to three in front of you (silver) to every square surrounding you (gold.) Be advised that using the sickle on any animal is a very, very bad idea.
One of the main sources of income for the game, especially early on, is farming. Seeds can be bought from the Flower Shop, and can be planted outside in any season except for Winter. A greenhouse eliminates any season limitation on growing crops inside the house. Said seeds can only be planted in tilled soil, and a plot of seeded soil must be watered in order for the crops to grow.
Spring: All crops can only be harvested once.
- Turnip, 4 day growth cycle, costs 200G/60G per crop
- Potato, 6 day growth cycle, costs 200G/80G per crop
- Cabbage, 8 day growth cycle, costs 200G/90G per crop
Summer: All crops can be harvested multiple times.
- Tomato, 9 days, costs 300G/90G per crop
- Corn, 13 days, costs 300G/120G per crop
Fall: Eggplants can be harvested multiple times.
- Eggplant, 7 days, costs 300G/60G per crop
Winter: Strawberries can only be harvested once.
- Strawberry, 6 days, costs 500G/150G per crop
Flowers and fields of grass can also be grown on the farm, with varying effects. Growing flowers tend to make the women of the town like you more.
- Moon Drop Grass: The default flower. Grown during the Spring and Summer. Grows in 6 days. Costs 300G.
- Pink Cat Mint: Special flower that can only be bought during the Flower Festival. Grown during the Spring and Summer. Grows in 8 days. Costs 300G.
- Blue Mist Flower: Special flower that can only be bought during Year 2, and even then from Spring 25th through Spring 30th. Grows in 8 days through the start of Summer, must be flowered every day or it will die. Successfully growing this flower will add a picture to your album. Costs 500G.
- Grass: Plants that can double as naturally grown fodder for your sheep and cows. Can only be bought in Spring and Summer, but can be grown through the Fall. Grows in 9 days. Costs 500G.
Once you’ve got a stable amount of cash rolling in, it’s time to buy some animals! There are five animals to take care of, and you start the game with one of them. As a general rule, it is a good idea to brush and talk to your animals.
- Dog: You start the game with your trusty dog, who will never get sick or die, and does not need to be brushed. You can feed him by putting something edible into his doggie dish. Taking good care of your dog is essential to doing well in the Dog Festival in Winter.
- Horse: You get a young horse upon visiting the Green Ranch for the first time, but you cannot ride the horse until he has grown up. Brushing the horse makes him like you more and makes him do better in the horse races.
- Chickens: Chickens can be bought at the Green Ranch for 1,500G. They will lay eggs daily that are worth 50G, and said eggs can be hatched in the incubator. Chickens must either be feed chicken feed daily (costs 10G per meal), or can be left outside in an enclosed area if the weather is good. Chickens can get sick, but only require food to get well.
- Cows: The true moneymakers of your animals. They cost a pretty penny at 6000G and will not start out producing milk for 21 days (and a milker costs 1800G at Rick’s). Once it does however, milk will be one of your best ways to earn money daily- small milk sells at 100G, medium milk at 150G, large at 300G, and gold milk (only available to Cow Festival winners) at 500G. Cows can be impregnated with Miracle Potion (3000G). Sick cows and sheep must be given medicine (1000G) for their conditions to improve. Cows must either be fed cow feed (30G per meal or just cut some grass you planted), or left in a grassy field. Cows and sheep can both be directed to come towards you by using the Bell (given for free upon the purchase of your first cow or sheep).
- Sheep: Sheep can be bought for 4000G, and like cows do not arrive at the farm fully grown. Wool can be cut off the sheep every week for 900G (or 1800G if the wool is high quality) with shears from Rick’s (1000G). Sheep are fed and taken care of in the same manner as cows.
Your house can be improved greatly from the small little shack you start out with. Additions generally require a large amount of gold and lumber, the latter of which can be acquired by using your ax on stumps scattered around the farm and Moon Mountain. While not every extension has a use, having all of them reflects well upon your father’s evaluation.
5000G, 450 Lumber
Required for marriage, allows storage of food, keeps track of Power Berries and recipes.
3000G, 300 Lumber
Using the bath prevents sickness.
1000G, 200 Lumber
Required to have a baby.
7000G, 350 Lumber
Purely decorative, only useful for dad’s evaluation.
2000G, 250 Lumber
Purely decorative, only useful for dad’s evaluation.
30000G, 580 Lumber
Allows farming during winter. Be advised, this improvement can be destroyed by hurricanes.
In order to get a good evaluation, you will need to get married and have a kid. Lucky for you, there’s five available women to choose from. Once you’re married, your wife will help out around the farm.
If you find yourself not liking any of the eligible women, or you don’t like the idea of having a kid, don’t worry. Unlike some future games in the franchise, you can remain a bachelor and be able to continue playing. Just don’t be surprised when other townspeople make their own moves.
- Ann: The redhead from Green Ranch. She is the daughter of the ranch’s owner and Gray’s sister, and is good friends with Karen. Loves your dog, wool, eggs, milk and people who win the horse race. Her Birthday is Summer 14.
- Karen: The daughter of the vineyard owner. Loves Veryberries and wild grapes (only found in the spring and fall), tomatoes, and strawberries; will be impressed if you can outdrink her at New Year’s. If not befriended, she will run away from home. Her Birthday is Winter 29.
- Popuri: The pink-haired daughter of the Flower Shop owners, and probably the easiest to woo. Loves flowers and baked goods. Taking care of the Blue Mist plant makes her like you more. Planting flowers at your farm is generally a good idea. Her Birthday is Spring 22.
- Elli: The brunette that works at the bakery. Loves baked goods, eggs, milk, and fish. She takes care of her grandmother, who sits on her rocking chair outside the bakery. Her Birthday is Fall 1.
- Maria: The mayor’s daughter, and a shy bookworm who appropriately works as a librarian. Likes it when you read books at the library, cabbages, and bugs. Her Birthday is Winter 11.
You aren't the only one with eyes for the ladies of Flower Bud Village. Although they won't act unless you have befriended them, there are five bachelors who are considered romantic rivals for the five bachelorettes.
- Cliff: A quiet vagrant who is passing through on his travels, accompanied by his pet hawk Cain. If you become friends with him, he will stay and inevitably develop an interest in Ann.
- Kai: The kind and diligent hired hand of the local vineyard, working to support his poor family abroad. It's no small secret that he likes the owner's daughter, Karen, and does what he can to stop the feud between her and her father.
- Gray: Ann's older brother, who sports an impossibly cold demeanor. He seems to enjoy taking care of animals and, despite his veil of indifference, clearly has a soft spot for his childhood friend Popuri.
- Jeff: The 30-year-old owner of the bakery. A dainty fellow with a passion for what he does, he also likes fishing and young girls, apparently. He will marry Elli if you don't call dibs.
- Harris: Your friendly neighborhood mailman and bringer of cheer, who happens to have a crush on Maria. He's long been trying to muster the courage to confess his feelings.
These have no real impact on the game, but count towards your father’s evaluation. Giving certain items to the townspeople will give you recipes. Some townspeople will not give their recipes to you unless you’re good friends with them. It is advisable to reset in case they don’t hand over the recipes to avoid losing money.
- Edible Herbs: Old woman of Moon Mountain, Potion Shop owner
- Turnips: Old man of Moon Mountain, Maria’s mom
- Potato: Ann, May, the mayor, Harris the mailman
- Fish: Fisherman (Blue fish), one of the working carpenters
- Corn: Ann’s dad, Popuri’s dad
- Tomatoes: Karen, Karen’s mom, the priest, Popuri’s mom, the shipper
- Wild Grapes: Karen’s dad, Kai (Veryberries work), bartender
- Strawberries: Karen, Popuri, Stu
- Eggs: Cliff, Gray, Kent, Elli
- Milk: Rick, Bakery Owner
- Mushroom: Lead carpenter, one of the working carpenters, Harvest Sprite outside cave
Returning from the original Harvest Moon, festivals are events that are celebrated or observed by the town. Several real-life holidays are observed by Flower Bud Village, while other fictional holidays are also celebrated. Most festivals are held in the town square, though others are also held at the beach and Green Ranch.
Of particular note are the Fireworks (Summer 1), Thanksgiving (Winter 10), and the Starry Night (Winter 24); The Starry Night and the Fireworks festivals are held in multiple locations and have different potential wives located at them. The latter festival takes place throughout the town, and people may come to the farm to bring you cakes.
New Year's Festival
The more you’ve drank over the year, the longer you’ll last.
|Flower Festival||Spring 23rd||Town Square||May vote for Flower Princess before day of festival|
Ann is at the Green Ranch, Elli at the Bakery, Karen at the beach, Maria at the Town Square, Popuri at Moon Mountain’s summit.
Summer crops do not grow quickly enough for you to enter the festival.
Button mashing is your path to victory.
The winning cow will start making Gold Milk.
The Harvest King is selected randomly. The game selects the King on the 10.
Flower Bud Village
Almost impossible to lose.
Identical to the spring Horse Race.
Flower Bud Village/Your Farm
Similar to the Horse Races, but your dog is competing. You cannot control your dog.
Ann, Maria, and Elli are at the church, Karen at the beach, and Popuri on Moon Mountain.
Buy an Ocarina from Saibara to participate.
New Year's Eve
Ann, Maria, and Elli are at the church, Karen and Ann will be at the bar.
Harvest Moon 64 received generally positive reviews. It was praised for its compelling gameplay, but criticized for low-quality and repetitive music. Its role-playing elements have led some to call it one of the few RPGs on the system.
After Natsume repeatedly stated the game would likely not appear on either the Wii or Wii U Virtual Console due to technical issues, the game actually did find its way onto the Wii U VC service on February 23, 2017. This makes it only the third Wii U-exclusive N64 VC title after to Donkey Kong 64 and Excitebike 64. and the so far only Wii U-exclusive third party N64 game on Virtual Console.