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Title: Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility
Players: 1 - 4 (Offline)
Platform: Wii
Developer: Marvelous Interactive
Publisher: Natsume
Price: $49.99
Release Date: September 30th, 2008

More than 20 different Harvest Moon games have been made and you have to wonder, will these games ever evolve? Well, Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility looks to take the evolutionary step that some fans have been waiting for since the original on the SNES. Wii-mote controlled farming, more choices for getting married, and more interaction with the townsfolk are just a few of the things present in Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility.

The game starts with players taking a boat to the main island, in which the story takes place. It’s during this time that players choose their gender, and then begin a tutorial by spending a few days at an inn. Afterward, it’s on to the farming! Like any previous Harvest Moon game players will milk the cows, shave the sheep and plant crops. The major change with the general farming comes in the form of using the Wii-mote. So now, instead of just pressing buttons, players can actually re-enact the movements of hoeing, raking, fishing, cutting down trees or destroying rocks. There’s an alternative to this...I think it’s called real-life farming. Some of you might actually be interested in trying it out. Really.

As mentioned, many of the livestock care-taking features have been upgraded. But there’s also new animals to adopt, some of which include boars, pandas, penguins, turtles, cats, weasels, rabbits, squirrels, baby bears, dogs and monkeys. Players will have to be friendly to the wild animals in order to adopt them, including bringing them their favorite treats. It’s a little like Tamagotchi, except without the deformed evolution, or uncontrollable bowel- movements.

Another popular returning feature is the marriage candidates. Both male and female characters receive eight potential mates, each. Some of these candidates require special attention to acquire their affection, and hence, players will have to try to win over a selective mate by carrying out various side-quests (viz., Think GTA without the “hot coffee”). The neat part about the open-ended aspects of the game is that after getting married and having a kid, players can choose to start over as their child with their acquired items and money.

Earning cash and rewards will still play a big part in gaining wealth in Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility. Aside from making money on the farm, players can partake in a number of contests and festivities. These will work as mini-games to keep players on their toes, in-between trying to attain a spouse and running the farm. On the bonus end of things there’s also unlockable mini-games that support up to four-players, ranging from horse racing to stone skipping. I guess when the developer tosses in something like that you can’t complain too much.

Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility is due out on September 30th, exclusively for the Wii. You can check back in with Blend Games for more info and news regarding the latest games. Also, be sure to drop by the Blend Games Forum for the latest discussions on hot gaming topics.

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