Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns review

It took nearly fourteen hours to finish the first season of Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns. In that time, the village saw fit to slowly dole out necessary equipment that has, in the past, been included with your farm. In fact, it wasn’t until the first day of summer, fourteen-frickin-real-world hours later, that the damn mayor gave us a fishing pole. So how did we spend those first, grueling fourteen hours? Collecting butterflies, mostly.

In more ways than one, TToTT (how’s that for an acronym?) is Harvest Moon’s Animal Crossing/Rune Factory crossover. You can level up in everyday activities, like critter catching, riding your horse, or even completing requests for your neighbors – all while being mindful of an always-on-screen health bar (your stamina). Or you can say “screw neighbors” and explore a huge mountain where you can befriend animals, collect recipes, and hand-fish. But the days are so long in TToTT, you’re rarely ever pushed to choose one or the other. That is, of course, if you don’t need to get to that other town across the mountains.

That’s right folks: in The Tale of Two Towns there are two towns (collective gasps). Shortly after the game begins, you’re forced to choose which town you want to live in. Bluebell (the western, farm-centric one) and Konohana (the eastern, crop-growing one) are locked in a bitter dispute over which town has the best cooking. This feud is so intense that the Harvest Goddess cut off access to a tunnel that made it easy to access each other (distance makes the heart grow fonder, we guess). Your farm has distinct advantages depending on which town you choose, but the choice doesn’t really matter – you can switch your residence every month if you’re so inclined.

Reuniting these two towns is apparently your little farming liaison’s sole reason to live. Once the mayors of the two towns become friends again you can clear that underground tunnel and travel between them in seconds. Unfortunately, the only way to reunite the bickering idiots is to attend repetitive cooking festivals, in which victory is random and unnecessary. Win or lose, they’ll grow a little closer each week.

Though playing village liaison is the main plot element, there’s plenty to do besides cooking soups for festivals. The standard renovate, date, and farm mechanics are still in full-swing here, but there are also dozens of new festivals, a harvest goddess to appease, bees to keep, an always-packed request board, and a huge mountain to explore. Each season presents even more new additions and mechanics that will delight series fans. If you can get past the excruciatingly long first season, Two Towns will keep you entertained for a very long time.

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