It seems that a new Harvest Moon game is published by Natsume almost every year. Sometimes, the games bring innovative new design concepts; however, they are incredibly similar to the last a vast majority of the time. Harvest Moon and the Lost Valley is fortunately one of those innovative games. Everything has been streamlined to turn the game into a user-friendly experience and more importantly, it introduces several new gameplay mechanics that turns Harvest Moon into a revived gameplay experience.
The streamlined design is immediately noticeable — no longer do players have to scroll tediously through their items to pick what they want and dirt that needs to be hoed, planted, and watered may be done so with a simple press of a button. This design, although seemingly common sense, is a first for the franchise and turns Harvest Moon into a truly modern experience. Aside from the streamlined mechanics, it also features Minecraft-like construction of your farm, allowing players who want to move their farm up or down a few levels to do so easily. Those who want to fish can easily dig out a lake and those who want to live on the edge of a cliff can do so. Harvest Moon has turned into an incredibly customizable experience and the whole terrain, much like Minecraft, is all clay in players’ hands.
The other new feature is the new cooking system. There are more recipes and crops than ever before. More interestingly, though, is that crops grown on different terrain (mountain, valley, etc.) will produce different types of crop, leading to a wider amount of ingredients for recipes and experimentation. Both provide a truly expansive food gameplay mechanic.
Harvest Moon and the Lost Valley provides an experience that is true to the roots of its franchise, one that veteran players will enjoy. It more importantly opens up the doors for both new players and returning players to a modern Harvest Moon experience, with new streamlined mechanics and an innovative design.