Release Date: August 14, 2007
Publisher: Natsume, Inc.
ESRB Rating: Everyone

I picked up a copy of Rune Factory for the DS because it’s a “fantasy Harvest Moon” game. This intrigued me since the Harvest Moon games can be fun and addicting. I don’t know what weirdo thought people would enjoy a video game where you take care of a farm and find a suitable dame, but I am thankful for that weirdo because they are so much fun to play. Rune Factory is an extension of the Harvest Moon series, and a great one at that.

You are Laguna (don’t worry, you can change the name if you like) and you stumble onto a property owned by a woman named Mist. You explain that you have amnesia and have no recollection of how you got to where you are. Mist generously offers to let you live on her farm. She also gives you a hoe, watering can and some radish seeds to get your farm off to a good start.

As in Harvest Moon, you will sell whatever you grow on your farm, so you want it to be as nice as possible. This takes work and time, but it is necessary to be successful in the game. Not only do you get money from your farm, but you also become more attractive to some of the female folk of the small town. And you know what they say: the bigger the farm, the bigger the . . . profits. Once you’ve sold some of your veggies and fruits, you will want to visit the local blacksmith to acquire weapons for battle. That’s right, battle.

Trying to make a profitable farm and secure a wife aren’t the only objectives in Rune Factory. There are mines you must enter to fight, or befriend, monsters. Every time you defeat a boss in one mine, it’s onto the next. They become increasingly more difficult with fiercer monsters and trickier traps. Once you acquire the friendship glove, you may pet the monsters instead of killing them. They will become your friends and will help you in a battle, or on the farm. They are invaluable to you. Also, by conquering the mines, you become more attractive to certain women who will find your bravery most endearing.

Do not dilly-dally! You only have 120 days in order to beat all of the bosses, snag a wife and to create a farm that everyone in the town will envy. This is where some might get frustrated. You have SO much to do: water your plants, talk to the townspeople to gain friendship/love points, talk to the blacksmith about improving your weapons/farm tools, save money for expanding your house, learn how to cook, visit the library to buy new spells, gather essential herbs and potions before going into mines. . . Not to mention that you’re trying to figure out how you even ended up in that town in the first place. If you are up for a challenge, you’ll be glad you picked up this game. It is oddly addicting to the point where you’ll wish you had more than 120 days.

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