Harvest Moon: Pure Innocent Life (PCSX2)
Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon, gives you the opportunity to explore your inner Al Gore and George Jetson. Last year, ArtePiazza and Natsume brought this twist on the Harvest Moon formula to the PSP, and now it’s been ported to the PS2 as well, with a few minor adjustments.
Unlike the previous Harvest Moon titles, you take on the role of a small robot boy created by a benevolent doctor known as Hope Grain on Heartflame Island. The good doctor has purchased land for you to live in peace and learn what it’s like to become human by growing crops and being responsible for land. However, this retelling of Pinocchio isn’t as simplistic as it sounds. See, because of the inhabitant’s angering the nature spirits of Heartflame Island, the creatures have not only sealed off the earth to its people, but have threatened to erupt the land’s volcano and destroy its civilization. Dr. Grain hopes that by creating an artificial life that hasn’t angered the spirits, you may be able to calm the spirit’s fury, restore the land and prevent the eruption of the volcano. No pressure, huh?
As a start, you’ll receive a watering can and a tutorial from the doctor’s good friends in town. From there, you’ll start tending your land just like you would in any other Harvest Moon title. That means tilling soil, planting seeds and watering land until the crops or flowers are ready to be harvested and sent to market. Luckily, you’ll have futuristic storage pods that will do the delivery for you every day, so you won’t be forced to physically walk your crops to town. In your downtime, you’ll spend free moments watching television shows, talking to the inhabitants of the island and learning how to cook and eat food. It doesn’t seem like it would make a lot of sense, especially since you’re a robot and have no need to eat, but since you’re trying to learn how to be human, you just have to go with it.
It may sound a bit simple, but there are some things that you’ll need to worry about as the seasons wear on. For one thing, you have to constantly keep every seed watered or you’ll delay a plant’s growth. For another, storms will sometimes rage across the island, destroying the hard work that you’ve put into your farm and smashing any harvestable produce if you haven’t been able to gather it in time. You’ll also need to constantly pluck weeds that can strangle your plants and remove rocks and logs from your farm that can take up precious ground. Fortunately, as the game continues, you’ll acquire a number of tools, like axes, hammers and scythes that will help you maintain your farm.
However, to unlock these items, including a robotic helper that can do a significant amount of watering and resource gathering for you, you have to slog your way through trying to develop the storyline, which happens at a snail’s pace. Every Sunday, you’re supposed to visit Doctor Grain, which is the only way that you can make the plot progress and gain access to some new and often critical item that will help you perform your job a bit easier. Talking to townsfolk, while it can be interesting, isn’t exactly a major source of plot development, so you can abandon much of it in favor of the weekly Grain checkup. As a result, you’ll find that your crop tending will quickly degenerate into doing only the basics for that day (watering, gathering and weeding) and then immediately going to bed to make the days pass, which isn’t particularly enthralling.
Exclusively on: PlayStation 2
ESRB Rating: RP
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