Many may remember a lot of the Harvest Moon games as a great part of their childhood. And while the topic of the best Harvest Moon game is one that is largely debated, it’s safe to say that everyone has a different opinion.
This is because every child from a few generations has had a different and amazing experience with the series. Whether you played it for the first time on your Nintendo 64 or the Nintendo DS, it’ll always stay a precious memory.
Still, games are there to be ranked, so we’ll be ranking the best Harvest Moon game in a list of the top 10. Keep reading to find out if your favorite Harvest Moon game made the list!
Why did Harvest Moon have so many games!?
The short and simple answer to this question is the fact that Harvest Moon is just that good. When you compare it to modern farming sim games such as Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing, you’ll find that Harvest Moon may have even started the trend of all-encompassing farming sims.
If you find that to be incorrect, however, you still won’t be able to deny the impact that the game series has had on the genre. The concept of growing crops, taking care of livestock, celebrating festivals with villagers, fishing, and even marriage is one Stardew Valley players are all too familiar with.
And because the audience loved Harvest Moon, Marvelous Inc. decided to keep releasing more games. That’s why we can count 29 main Harvest Moon games and 14 spin-off games among the franchise’s accomplishments.
Why did the franchise change names from Harvest Moon to Story of Seasons?
Many gamers looking to revisit their childhood will be surprised to learn that Harvest Moon is no longer the official name of the franchise.
Because Marvelous Inc. discontinued licensing the series to Natsume, a Japanese video game company. Natsume then took the opportunity to develop the series under a new name.
Because of this, the series took on the name Story of Seasons, beginning with the 2014 game of the same name.
Long story short, corporate and business matters have turned Harvest Moon into Story of Seasons over the recent years. While the franchise retains much of the same features, players will have to get used to the new name.
Top 10 Harvest Moon games ranked in descending order
#10: Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning
One of the last entries to come out on the incredibly popular Nintendo 3DS, Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning is also the last game to make it on our list.
Still, that doesn’t make it any less amazing and fun to play. It offers tons of improvements such as extensive character customization, house and furniture design, and village customization. With all this, it may just be the perfect game to make your tiny village dreams come true.
The plot stays the same throughout pretty much the entire series. The player gets the task of restoring a dilapidated farm to its former glory. However, here you must revive a whole abandoned town to bring back all its residents.
#9: Harvest Moon DS: Sunshine Islands
If you don’t have a Nintendo 3DS to play the previous game on, worry not. The regular Nintendo DS offers an even better option. That option is Harvest Moon DS: Sunshine Islands.
The game closely resembles Harvest Moon DS: Island of Happiness in its gameplay and concept. However, the Sunshine Islands story differs from its prequel. The player must find the magical Sun Stones to restore the Sunshine Islands to their former glory. This is because the islands sank after they suffered a powerful earthquake.
It’s also one of the great few Harvest Moon games that allow you to choose different versions of the protagonist. Players can play as Mark (male) or Chelsea (female).
#8: Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life
GameCube kids will fondly remember Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life. One of the most unique features of this game is the fact that it offers interconnectivity with the GBA game Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town. This allows the games to exchange information and even allowing NPCs to sell new items.
The plot is rather simple although the gameplay itself has some new features. These include having a child after marriage and the child even reaching adulthood.
If you don’t have a GameCube, however, you’ll still get to enjoy this game in 2023! This is because a remake has been announced for summer 2023. Players will be able to enjoy the game on different consoles. These include the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows.
#7: Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town
Although it is treated as a separate game, Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town is essentially the same as Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town. This version of the game focuses on the female perspective, much like Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life.
The story follows the protagonist who is tired of her city life and decides to move to Mineral Town. In terms of gameplay, there are a few different features such as new events and a farming degree system.
This game also offers connectivity with Another Wonderful Life. A Wonderful Life and Friends of Mineral Town, the “male” versions of the respective games also offer this feature.
#6: Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland
This installment of the series is one of the few games to be available on PlayStation, namely the PlayStation 2.
Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland has the protagonist, a boy named Toy, working to restore his late grandfather’s farm. The end goal of Save the Homeland is to protect the village from being turned into a resort.
Another great feature of this game is the fact that it allows several choices and methods of saving the village. To be precise, there are 9 possible ways to do so. All of this depends on several choices you can make in the game, such as which villagers you befriend.
#5: Harvest Moon: Animal Parade
If you’ve ever played Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility, you’ll be happy to know the same characters reappear in this game.
The objective of the game is to restore the divine tree on the island of Castanet. This is possible by finding Harvest Sprites that will ring five bells. These five bells will restore the elements to the island and bring back the Harvest King to revive the divine tree.
This game features unique circus animals along with regular livestock, poultry, and pets. It’s also interesting for the fact that the player can ride almost any animal except the chickens, ducks, and silkworms. This is possible if you have 5 hearts or more with the animal.
#4: Harvest Moon: Magical Melody
This 2005 game is available on both the GameCube as well as the Nintendo Wii. It also serves as an update for Harvest Moon: Song of Happiness, despite the prequel never seeing a release outside of Japan.
In this game, the player must wake the Harvest Goddess. Another ob jective is to marry one of the villagers as one of the main objectives of the game. Waking the Harvest Goddess is possible by creating a magical melody with the use of musical notes. The player may gather musical notes through various activities in the game, and the magical melody requires at least 50 notes.
It’s an interesting musical spin on the series, and the gameplay delivers this idea very well.
#3: Harvest Moon 64
Harvest Moon 64 is a classic, and that’s why it’s in the top 3 of our list of the best Harvest Moon games.
Much like Save the Homeland, Harvest Moon 64 features an abandoned farm left to the protagonist by their grandfather. Although the main objective is to restore the farm, there are various entertaining sidequests available for the player. These include horse racing, participating in festivals, marriage, and even collecting photographs.
Although it lacks the features many modern Harvest Moon or Story of Seasons games have today, the nostalgia factor is too large to ignore. This is what makes it one of the best Story of Seasons games of all time.
#2: Harvest Moon: Back to Nature
Although this is the first Harvest Moon game to come out on a console other than a Nintendo console, Harvest Moon: Back to Nature features many of the same characters that appeared in Harvest Moon 64.
Still, Back to Nature gave a fresh twist to these characters by giving them new lifestyles, personalities, and relatives. This is also the first game in the Harvest Moon series to release two different versions of the game with differing genders for the protagonist.
Interestingly, Back to Nature received a remake under the name Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town. The new game received yet another remake for the Nintendo Switch under the name Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town.
What is considered the best Harvest Moon Game: Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town
To conclude, many players and fans of the series will agree that Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town is the best game in the series.
The pace the game sets is one that is great for players of all skill levels. Those who are already familiar with the game are likely to go at a quicker pace, although this doesn’t affect the gameplay.
With its re-release on the Nintendo Switch, it also allows a slew of new players to enjoy the Harvest Moon series, albeit under a different name. Still, if you’re a veteran Harvest Moon player looking to make a nostalgia trip, the Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town remake is the perfect option for you.