I am always ready for a new Harvest Moon, and when we dropped by the Natsume booth (complete with its own gigantic cow), I was especially pleased to see The Lost Valley at its very own demo station. I was even more pleased to find some great changes coming to this cute farming simulator.
Probably the biggest change from previous Harvest Moons is Lost Valley‘s big emphasis on customization and ease of access. There was a level of customization in the last 3DS Harvest Moon, A New Beginning, but the series has reached its pinnacle with Lost Valley, thanks to its Minecraft-esque blocks. Soil can now be dug up and placed in three-dimensions, allowing new levels of freedom pretty much unheard of in a Harvest Moon game.
Back is the crafting of buildings and other farm-related viscera from A New Beginning, which means, combined with the free-form landscaping, you can have a truly customizable farm, complete with rivers, gardens and wells, pretty much anywhere you would like.
Menus and tool selection have been the bane of impatient farmers for close to two decades, but in The Lost Valley, it’s become a thing of the past. Going up to interactable objects now brings up context-sensitive commands, which means instead of rifling through your collection of farming implements, all you need to do get some wood is walk up to a tree and hit A. This also means that mistakes, like using the wrong tool and hitting your chicken with an axe, are pretty much long gone.
Also new is the ability to transport back to your home from anywhere on the map. I find that a significant portion of the time-management in Harvest Moon is devoted to traveling, whether its from foraging materials, or getting to bed on time, and I’m interested to see how this changes how exploration and farming is played.
I am, however a little hesitant, as DLC (free and paid) has been announced to be in the game’s future. I’m not a huge proponent of microtransactions (especially in full-retail games), but am willing to wait to pass judgement once the game has been released.
Get back to nature in Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley when it releases in Fall of this year on the Nintendo 3DS.