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Harvest Moon photo
Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories is barely a video game


Talk to some broken English NPCs
Jun 17
// Laura Kate Dale
Today at E3 I went to play the new Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories on iOS at the Natsume booth. The entire iOS demo took me six minutes to play through. Walking to the booth took me considerably longer. I tapped on locations ...
Harvest Moon photo
Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon comes to Wii U, PC with Seeds of Memories


First time
Jun 02
// Steven Hansen
The Harvest Moon series is coming to Wii U and PC for the first time with the upcoming Seeds of Memories, developer Natsume announced today. Seeds of Memories draws from the almost 20 years old original, "to evoke the feeling...
Obscure Video Games photo
Obscure Video Games

Obscure Video Games: Hachiemon


Put your lips together and throw
Apr 25
// Obscure Video Games
Hachiemon is not nearly as weird as it looks. Natsume and Namco unleashed this GBA game onto the people of Japan back in 2003, perhaps as their response to Kirby. The character, however, was created in 1995 as the mascot for ...

Yumi's Odd Odyssey photo
Yumi's Odd Odyssey

Covers for Yumi's Odd Odyssey offer some slight variations


Can you spot the difference?
Feb 13
// Robert Summa
There's an important rule in the entertainment industry: Know your audience. For the PS Vita version of Yumi's Odd Odyssey set to arrive in April in Japan, it appears this philosophy is being followed pretty closely. See if you can spot what the difference might be between the Nintendo 3DS version and the "ahem" mature Vita version. It might take you a while, so be patient. [Via Twitter]
Lufia 3DS photo
Lufia 3DS

Lufia: The Legend Returns comes to 3DS this week


Game Boy Color RPG, uh, returns on Virtual Console
Jan 11
// Kyle MacGregor
Lufia: The Legend Returns, the third entry in Neverland's RPG franchise, hits the 3DS eShop in North America this Thursday, January 15, Natsume announced today. The role-playing game debuted on Game Boy Color in 2001, and came to the Virtual Console in PAL territories late last year. Maybe, hopefully, Natsume will decide to re-release Lufia II next. Natsume [Facebook -- Thanks, Jawsh]
Harvest Moon 3DS photo
Harvest Moon 3DS

Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley sprouts November 4


Farm fresh!
Oct 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley launches November 4, Natsume announced today. The 3DS farming simulator marks the first occasion Natsume has internally developed a Harvest Moon title. All previous entries in the series came as localizations of Marvelous' Bokujō Monogatari franchise, the latest of which is coming west this winter as Story of Seasons. Natsume [Twitter]
Harvest Moon photo
Harvest Moon

Here's the Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley trailer you wanted


Natsume got it (mostly) right, at least
Jun 18
// Brittany Vincent
Just the other day I brought you the "trailer" for XSEED's Story of Seasons, where many of you were concerned with what's going on with Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley. It looks like Natsume's finally come out with an official...
Harvest Moon photo
Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley's '3D' aspects explained


I'm not entirely sure I'd call this 3D
Jun 11
// Brittany Vincent
After that strange Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons debacle that Kyle so kindly set straight for us, it's good to see more details emerging regarding the actual branded Harvest Moon release, The Lost Valley. The game's E3 inform...

So what the hell is happening with Harvest Moon?

Jun 06 // Kyle MacGregor
A little history on the series and the company behind it: Bokujō Monogatari was initially created by a company by the name of Pack-In-Video, which merged with Victor Entertainment, thereby becoming Victor Interactive Software. Marvelous Entertainment later bought them up, as corporations are wont to do, then merged with AQ Interactive to form Marvelous AQL. Marvelous and its predecessors had a relationship with Natsume for many years. Marvelous handled development and publishing in Japan, and Natsume put them out in America under the name Harvest Moon. And so things went until that association became a little more complex. In 2004, XSEED was born. XSEED serves as Marvelous AQL's subsidiary and North American publishing label. It does the very thing that Marvelous entrusted Natsume with, bringing Japanese games to western audiences. That said, Natsume still handled American distribution for Bokujō Monogatari until now. Well, sort of. Bokujō Monogatari has a spin-off series called Rune Factory. Publishing duties for these titles in America were passed back and forth between XSEED and Natsume up until the launch of Rune Factory 4 last year, and the subsequent bankruptcy of the studio behind the games, Neverland Co. It seems like Marvelous is no longer in need of Natsume's assistance, though. Instead, it's looking to use its in-house team going forward, at least for the time being. Why use a middleman for a job you're perfectly capable of doing yourself? "We are definitely interested in pushing the 'Marvelous' brand as much as possible," XSEED vice president Ken Berry revealed in an interview last year. Though Berry's group publishes titles from a number of Japanese companies, in 2013 XSEED was brought under the umbrella of Marvelous USA in the hopes of unifying and expanding operations. Part of that seems to involve localizing more Marvelous-developed titles than in years past. And Story of Seasons is a prime example of this. Of course, that's certainly a blow to Natsume. It's being cut out of a lucrative equation; Bokujō Monogatari has sold close to ten million copies worldwide. Publishing Harvest Moon games must have provided a nice cash flow for Natsume. And then Marvelous AQL suddenly turned off the taps. This reminds me of that old adage: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Well, Natsume has been given a lot of fish over the years. Perhaps it's time the company pulled one out of the river by itself. Natsume owns the Harvest Moon name. What's stopping it from making one? Well, nothing really. It may seem a little odd, but it's perfectly within their rights.  It seems like Natsume had a decent amount of notice that this was going to happen. According to Siliconera, the publisher opened a new office in Tokyo last year, and it's this same studio that's been developing Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley since early 2013. So that, as best as we can tell, is how we got here, with muddy waters and two sets of Harvest Moon games. But really, who are we to complain about more of a good thing?
XSEED & Natsume photo
A rose by any other name
A lot of folks seem pretty confused about what's going on with Harvest Moon. And that's perfectly understandable, because it's a tad complicated. Please allow me to try to explain the situation. XSEED recently announced a far...

Natsume at E3 photo
Natsume at E3

Natsume's E3 2014 lineup sure is a lineup


Harvest Moon, End of Serenity, and Alphadia Genesis lead the pack
Jun 05
// Brittany Vincent
Natsume has announced its complete E3 roster for next week, and while it's got a few high points, it's not impressing me too much. It's a strange mishmash of handheld games and iOS releases with a stray PSP game and Wii U pro...
Harvest Moon! photo
Harvest Moon!

Natsume announces Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley for 3DS


Find out more at E3!
Jun 03
// Kyle MacGregor
Well, that didn't take long. Shortly after teasing a trio of projects for Nintendo platforms, Natsume has announced it's bringing Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley to Nintendo 3DS in North America. Here's the synopsis: In Harves...
Natsume photo
Natsume

Natsume unveiling three Nintendo games at E3


What ever could they be?
Jun 03
// Kyle MacGregor
[Update: One of the games is Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley for Nintendo 3DS] Natsume will reveal three new games for Nintendo platforms at E3 2014, the Harvest Moon distributor divulged while detailing its plans for...
PUZZLE BOBBLE 4 photo
PUZZLE BOBBLE 4

Bust-a-Move 4 bobbles over to PSN next week


Bub is adorable
Apr 26
// Kyle MacGregor
Earlier this month, Nastume announced it would be bringing Taito's Bust-a-Move 4 on PlayStation Network this spring. We didn't get a specific release date back then, but the latest episode of the Play...
End of Serenity photo
End of Serenity

Natsume's End of Serenity is a PSN-exclusive classic JRPG


Serenity NOW!
Apr 24
// Brittany Vincent
The retro JRPG aesthetic is infinitely appealing to me, and Natsume and Kemco hope you'll feel the same way with the upcoming End of Serenity. It's a love letter to the 16-bit era with traditional undertones set for a North A...
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How Legend of Zelda and Sim City influenced the Harvest Moon series


Harvest Moon 64 was Wada's favorite
Apr 20
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Did You Know Gaming's latest video is all about Harvest Moon. One of the biggest things I learned here is that the series started life after series creator Yasuhiro Wada moved to Tokyo from the countryside. He would regularl...
Bust-a-Move 4  photo
Bust-a-Move 4

Bust-a-Move 4 busting out on PSN this spring


Not a new entry in the rhythm game series, unfortunately
Apr 16
// Brittany Vincent
Ready to get your Bust-a-Move 4 on? Are you just aching for more Natsume games in your life? Do you just hate bubbles and want to pop them? Rejoice! The fourth Puzzle Bobble game is poised to hit the PlayStation Network this ...

Review: Yumi's Odd Odyssey

Mar 28 // Chris Carter
Yumi's Odd Odyssey (3DS eShop)Developer: Agatsuma EntertainmentPublisher: NatsumeRelease:  March 20, 2014MSRP: $29.99  Yumi's Odd Odyssey retains the core premise of the original series: a young girl, armed only with a fishing line, traverses a number of odd environments filled with giant enemy fish. In other words, it's a 2D platformer with a grappling-hook mechanic. Sounds ridiculous right? Well there's a reason this series is so popular, and it mostly has to do with how meticulously designed the grappling mechanic is. You're basically free to do whatever you want with the hook, as it can attach to walls, ceilings, and floors. You can retract it, loosen it, swing, rappel -- anything you've done before in a grappling game, you can do it here. It took me a good hour to really understand the game's potential, and it blew my mind once I figured it out. For instance, you can attach the line to the ground, jump off a ledge, and use the anchor point to slowly descend safely down to another ledge below. This is augmented by Odyssey's deep physics engine that you'll have to acclimate to, which lets you get truly creative with swinging to and fro. You can be as as elaborate as Spider-Man or as pragmatic as a spelunker -- it's your choice. [embed]272559:53174:0[/embed] The controls are also extremely precise, and since all you need is one button to throw out your hook and one button to jump, they're easy to pick up. Should you opt for the "classic" control scheme you'll also sport the ability to shoot diagonally either left or right with the L or R buttons respectively, and you can use both the d-pad and Circle Pad for movement (the latter will have to be turned on in the option menu). In rare form, Odyssey allows you to fully customize button inputs to your liking. You aren't going to have an easy time swinging around though, because despite the cute veneer, this game is tough. You'll have to get really creative to figure out some of the game's puzzle-like stages, since some of the goals are smartly hidden. All 50 stages will take a long time to complete, especially when you factor in secret entrances, puzzle-esque boss fights, collectibles, time attack scores, music box unlockables, and branching world map paths. If you couldn't tell from the weird backgrounds, the "odd" moniker can be partially applied to the off-the-wall enemies, which are usually giant fish with human feet -- one of which can shoot a shotgun blast out of his mouth. It's a good thing then that you can stun them with your hook and "collect" them in your backpack, presumably to prepare later in some sort of freakshow sushi meal. Hazards are also a problem as well, and include genre tried-and-true standards like spikes and slippery ice, as well as conveyor belts that you can hook onto to take a ride. Aesthetically, Odyssey isn't going to turn any heads, and it doesn't look or feel like a retail 3DS game. It looks about on par with a good-looking PlayStation One release, bearing a striking resemblance to Tomba. The 3D effect is also minimal, and a lot of the backdrops tend to blend together after a while. It kind of stings given the pricepoint, but where Yumi shines is its commitment to platforming excellence. I'd only recommend Yumi's Odd Odyssey to the most dedicated platforming fans out there. Purists will love it, but the $30 price tag is going to be too rich for nearly everyone's blood. In a sale though, you can't go wrong picking this one up if you have an affinity towards the tried-and-true grappling hook.
Yumi's Odd Odyssey photo
As old school as Argos
We truly live in a magnificent era when it comes to portables. Games we would have never imagined seeing the light of day are localized, and indies are thriving with the combination of the eShop and low development costs of t...

Yumi photo
Yumi

Yumi's Odd Odyssey finally has a North American release date


March 20th
Mar 07
// Chris Carter
If you aren't a fan of Japanese games, odds are you haven't heard of Yumi's Odd Odyssey. But for everyone else, Umihara Kawase (as it's known in Japan) is a series platform games that has been around since 1994 -- b...

Review: Rune Factory 4

Oct 17 // Dale North
Rune Factory 4 (3DS)Developer: NatsumePublisher: XSEEDReleased: October 1, 2013MSRP: $39.99 You are literally dropped into the world of Rune Factory 4 after falling out of an airship -- an accident happens on the way to delivering an important item. The hero's (a boy or girl, your choice) body doesn't suffer, but their memory does. No worries, though, as you fall into a pretty nice situation. The town you land in, Selphia, just happens to be protected by one of the four legendary dragons, Ventuswill. As luck would have it, Ventuswill really likes you and sees something in you, even with your total lack of memory. She mistakes you for royalty that was expected to visit the town. But when that royalty, a prince, does show up, it turns out that he's looking for some time off. The prince lets you act as royalty in his place while you work to get your memory back. Ventuswill gives you a home in her castle, the prince lets you use his name, and your servants are there for anything else needed. Wow, I need to fall out of an airship some time! Those that have played games from Natsume's other top franchise, Harvest Moon, will instantly feel familiar with a lot of Rune Factory 4's early gameplay. Players are immediately introduced to the garden behind their castle home, where they'll plant and tend to crops, selling them for profit. And later on, capturing monsters as pets to keep in your farm is not unlike ranching. Natsume's oddly adorable farming simulation gameplay is fully intact here in RF4, and is engrossing enough to feel like a game on its own. But then there's a whole other side to Rune Factory 4 with its action-RPG gameplay. Fans of games like Secret of Mana will likely enjoy the fast, accessible swordplay. It's a no-frills slash-and-run type of affair. A magic/skill system lets you pick any two acquired skills -- anything from fireballs to super uppercuts -- to be assigned to face buttons, letting you use them as long as you have points available. From battles players will earn gold and gather items to build up their equipment. Victories bring more skills and power to play with -- pretty standard action-RPG systems, really.   This battle system is light and enjoyable, matching perfectly with the other aspects of the game. It's far from complex, but this goes a long way towards keeping things fun. My advice? Don't think too hard about it. Just jump in, sword a-swinging. I've put dozens of hours into exploring maps and dungeons, and have yet to tire of taking down baddies. Dungeon bosses are a nice challenge, though they can be a bit tough/cheap when you have the difficulty on its highest setting.  Dying comes with a high penalty. If you're done in, you'll awake in a doctor's office, slammed with a bill that feels unnecessarily high. On the hard setting I've lost my entire fortune countless times! It's also more than happy to tell you about your progress -- I've seen so many level and skill-up notifications in the past week that they started to go to my head. A quest giver gradually introduces players to the almost countless number of other gameplay diversions in Rune Factory 4. Through these simple quests, players will learn the basics of skills like cooking, fishing, and flower growing. Later, crafting and chemistry come into play for more advanced skill exploration. The brilliance here is that all of these aspects intertwine. For example, you could take up fishing to try to capture the biggest pike or squid for recognition, and then maybe take the squid back to the kitchen to make squid sashimi. The pike could be sold, or entered in a fishing contest. It's up to you -- there's no right or wrong.  And let's not forget our princely (or princess-ly, for female characters) duties as the prince's stand-in. Players will use acquired royalty points to do things like upgrade the town's shops, or add buildings to their farms. The main goal is to increase tourism in Selphia, so working up enough points to host town events, like cook-offs and festivals, is advised, and keeps things lively around town. [embed]263619:50978:0[/embed] Even with all of this, there's one more gameplay aspect that, at least for me, eventually overshadowed the rest: relationships and dating. I think that if you boil all of the varied gameplay aspects down, what you're left with is flirting with townsfolk. It starts as small talk, which hopefully leads to dates (they call them adventures), relationships, and even marriage. Every townsperson has a gauge that you'll work to level up through your choice of actions. The girl I'm into (I'll never tell!) likes fresh fruit, so I bring her apples when I come across them. The one you fancy may like to beat up monsters, so you should do that together. It's on you to learn what the apple of your eye likes. Again, there's no right or wrong -- you'll have to figure out how to lay on the appropriate type of charm on your own. Players will likely fall into a sort of daily grind with all of these things to tend to. My daily rotation had me tending to my garden in the morning, meeting townsfolk and running quests in the afternoon, venturing out into dungeons in the evening, and offering wares for sale in the evening, all before hitting the sack to do it again the next game day. Somehow, story segments seem to magically weave their way into your daily grind, which has their tale unfolding in a very natural way. Often, I was surprised by story progression segments, totally unaware that I flagged them. It's not the deepest story, but it's certainly fitting for the game's world, as well as interesting enough to keep me tuned in. But, depending on your tastes, that story may not be enough to keep you going. The issue some may have with Rune Factory 4 is that it offers next to nothing in the way of guidance. There's nothing there to tell you how to play or what to do next, let alone the deeper aspects of the crafting or combat systems. You're own your own; it seems that they're hoping you'll find something you enjoy doing. Unfortunately, those that don't find something to enjoy aren't going to feel fulfilled by running around trying to find it. If you're the type that needs to have some kind of idea of what's going to happen next, you may find RF4 frustrating with its very loose structure. On the other hand, if you're perfectly content in carrying out the day-to-day chores that the game has you doing, you'll be fine. I think fans of Animal Crossing will be more than pleased. I can't tell you how many times I completely lost track of time while playing Rune Factory 4. I'd get hung up on one particular thing, like, hunting down an ingredient for a dish I wanted to prepare, and then I'd look up and see that it was 2:30 a.m.  Learning all of the game's various systems is a bit of work, but once I had them down, I could get directly to doing what I wanted to do most: win my girl's heart. There's rarely a dull moment with the lively townspeople and countless quests. It sounds like a lot to handle, but you are free to do what you enjoy, skipping anything you don't find fun. That's what I enjoyed most about this game.  Rune Factory 4 isn't the deepest or most structured game out there, but it more than makes up for it with its charm and wide-open freedom. If you are willing to put in the time to learn its varied systems, I think you'll find that this game is an absolute delight.
Rune Factory 4 review photo
A charming timesink
Some have compared Rune Factory to Animal Crossing. There are a few similarities between Nintendo's charming world and Natsume's flagship title. For one, they both suck you in and manage to somehow entertain with their seemin...

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New 3DS Harvest Moon game coming to Japan next year


Yes. More!
Oct 09
// Dale North
Get ready for more farm fun as the latest issue of Famitsu has revealed that a new Harvest Moon will come to the 3DS in Japan in February. ANN (scan at 0taku) says that the new game Bokujō Monogatari: Tsunagaru Shin...
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Harvest Moon is better than cow poopoo all over your face


Probably
Sep 13
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Did you know cows can have explosive diarrhea? I didn't know that until I saw this ad for Harvest Moon: A New Beginning. Thanks for enlightening us with this informational video, Marvelous AQL! [Thanks, Dave!]
Hometown Story photo
Hometown Story

Set up shop with Harvest Moon creator's Hometown Story


C'mon, get happy!
Jun 13
// Tony Ponce
Last year, former Destructoid editor Chad Concelmo and I spoke with Harvest Moon creator Yasuhiro Wada about his latest game, codenamed "Project Happiness." Hoping to take the lifestyle sim to the next level, he envisioned a ...
Harvest Moon 3DS eShop photo
Harvest Moon 3DS eShop

Harvest Moon GBC takes root on 3DS eShop this week


Portable potatoes
May 14
// Kyle MacGregor
Harvest Moon for the Game Boy Color is coming to the Nintendo 3DS eShop in North America this week, Natsume has announced. The second title in the prolific farming sim role-playing game series, Harvest Moon GB was initia...
Rune Factory photo
Rune Factory

GDC: Rune Factory development resisted by Marvelous, fans


A franchise that almost never happened
Mar 27
// Jayson Napolitano
Apparently development staff and even Harvest Moon fans didn't see the need to add combat to the farming formula. Marvelous AQ Executive Officer/CCO Yoshifumi Hashimoto shared at a panel this morning that he didn't have many ...
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Harvest Moon creator's new game, Hometown Story


Coming to North America this year
Mar 04
// Dale North
Remember Project Happiness from last E3? Last year's tease from Harvest Moon creator Yasuhiro Wada has its official title now: Hometown Story.  Famitsu has the full story from Wada himself. He says that the game is nearl...
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Natsume to bring Carnage Hearts EXA to North America


Oct 10
// Conrad Zimmerman
If you're into robots and tactical strategy, the gang at Natsume have something they'd like you to have a look at. After skipping the North American market for the last three games in the series, one of the more obscure/rare ...
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Holy Cow: Harvest Moon: A New Beginning anniversary ed.


Aug 28
// Dale North
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of Harvest Moon in North America, Natsume is bringing out an anniversary edition of upcoming 3DS game Harvest Moon: A New Beginning. This anniversary edition features a huge twelve inch Harve...
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Natsume's PlayStation Plus game sale: up to 75% off


Aug 24
// Dale North
If you're a PlayStation Plus member, now's a good time to pump up your game library. Natsume has discounted many of their titles to celebrate Harvest Moon's 15th anniversary, so you should go...harvest some of them! Adventur...
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Live show: Rune Factory on Mash Tactics


Nov 07
// Bill Zoeker
Today, Mash Tactics is jumping into the world of Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny. This Harvest Moon spin-off takes adventure to the seas, trading farm tools for weapons at times. Rune Factory veteran, and neighboring Twitch TV...
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Rune Factory takes to the open seas in Tides of Destiny


Oct 11
// Victoria Medina
The newest Rune Factory, for the Wii and PS3 is out today. Tides of Destiny takes place on an island, and will allow players to travel the open seas in search of adventure, enemies and plots of farmable land. Tides will cost ...

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