Harvest Moon: Lil' Farmers – Review

Posted on June 4, 2017 by Tieranie Albright

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Game – Harvest Moon: Lil’ Farmers
Release Date – May 25, 2017
Platform – iOS, Android
Developer/Publisher – Natsume Inc./Daredevil Development
2017 marks the 20th anniversary for the beloved Harvest Moon series. As a celebration, we are seeing some new titles this year, including the upcoming Harvest Moon: Light of Hope, which was recently announced as the series’ first installation on PC, PS4, and the Nintendo Switch. Before we get to experience the joys of farming on a console platform for the first time since the Wii, Natsume has decided to release their second mobile game in the franchise, Harvest Moon: Lil’ Farmers. ($3.99 USD)
Anyone who has ever played a Harvest Moon game, or as the original series’ developers who split from publisher Natsume Inc. have renamed it, Story of Seasons, knows that they are open world games with a playable character in third person that has to build their farm from little to nothing. Lil’ Farmers is much more simple than previous titles. Rather than a traversable piece of land, Lil’ Farmers offers a single screen showing an established farm with two chicken coops, a plot of growing land, a fence full of sheep at the forefront of the screen, and in the back there is a large barn showing a horse on the left, a cow on the right, and a set of doors in the middle leading to a little “store.” The top of the screen has a bar menu with different tools that you click and drag to the corresponding area of farmland, such as the basket to collect eggs from the coops, or shears for the sheep.
As you begin Lil’ Farmers, it starts you out in a tutorial mode that gently guides you to click and drag the specific tools required to do the job that the game wants you to learn. The entire process only takes a few minutes, and you pick up on the gameplay immediately. Once you check out the “store” you quickly realize how important it is to keep things in stock to please your customers. It can be surprisingly disheartening to disappoint those cute little NPCs just because you only had two bottles of milk when three people wanted one. This at least provides you with some form of goal within the game.
Unlike the Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons titles veteran players are familiar with, you do not have to wait long amounts of time for crops to grow, wool to come back, and so on. You also do not need to purchase anything so there is no monetary system in Lil’ Farmers. Free seeds? Don’t mind if I do! Feeding my livestock by simply dragging the fodder icon? Excellent! As far as animals go, there are four mini-games used to care for them. With the horse, you soap him up and give him a good bath and brush, the cow you milk using a bucket until the canister on the right is full, and you shear the sheep until it is good and naked and the bag of wool is full. The one that always makes me laugh is the chicken coop. There are two of them, and each houses four chickens. In order to get the eggs, you have to slide up on the hens to make them jump and grab and drag any eggs that are under them into the basket. It is silly but very amusing. Every animal product that you collect is automatically added to your store’s stock, ready to be bundled up for your customers!
The most challenging aspect of Lil’ Farmers is actually farming itself. If you fill the entire plot with crop seeds, which I honestly recommend because it is more fun to have the challenge of caring for them all at once than it is to take your time growing only a few at a time, it becomes a race to keep them all watered and fertilized. A cute little icon pops up above the plant indicating what it needs, and often they each need something at once. When the crop is ready, a little trowel shovel icon appears and you are free to harvest it and start anew! I like to take the time and effort to plant an entire field of the same crop (there are 8 in total) so that my store is fully stocked. Once I begin running out of products that are being requested (people will start asking for more than one item at a time after a few customer orders are fulfilled!) I start over with new crops and taking care of my animals all over again.
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Harvest Moon: Lil’ Farmers is not an elaborate farming RPG or simulator, but can provide some mindless entertainment when you need something quick and easy to play. The music is reminiscent of the older games’ soundtracks, but the background sounds are not vital to the game which is great when you need something quiet or even silent, like if you are trying to take a sneaky break from work or not disturb anyone. The graphics are nothing special, but for a mobile game they are very adorable and visually pleasing, and remind you that you are playing a Natsume Harvest Moon title. One of the more interesting aspects of Lil’ Farmers is aside from the title screen, there is absolutely no dialogue. It is a very simple game that does not require text explanation, and the only character interaction is your store customers, who tell you what they want with a photo above their head. The lack of text and ease of playing the game at a low volume makes it ideal for young children, such as preschoolers. It can aid in the development of hand-eye coordination, and encourage fine motor skills through the required actions of dragging, clicking, and tapping. At $3.99 USD, it is not a bad purchase if you have children with a tablet, especially because there are no in-app purchases that your little darling might make by mistake, and it is fun enough for adults to play in their downtime or when they need a quick, mindless way to relax.
Overall, as a long time fan of the series, I found Lil’ Farmers to be amusing, cute, and a decent way to pass time while waiting in a doctors office or performing other mundane, daily tasks. The lack of in-app purchases makes the $3.99 download cost reasonable, and while it may not be the story-driven, dating sim, farming RPG some of us know and love, it is decently enjoyable and does the Harvest Moon brand some justice.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][review_summary positives=”Simple, easy to play. Ideal for children or passing a little time. Has the feel of a Natsume game.” negatives=”Repetitive if played too often, not a traditional RPG/simulation Harvest Moon title.”]Lil’ Farmers is a decent mobile game for fans of the series, or casual mobile gamers who love to pass time with simple games. [/review_summary][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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