E3 '07: Puzzle de Harvest Moon Hands-On Impressions

The most puzzling of all Harvest Moon games is on display at E3 2007. We check it out.

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Nobody understands the concept of making your brands work for you better than Natsume. The publisher's venerable Harvest Moon franchise has gone through more installments than most game franchises combined, and now it's even branching out into new genres. One such genre is the puzzle genre, which it has branched out into with Puzzle de Harvest Moon. We had a chance to check the game out at E3 2007, and we were pleasantly surprised by what we played.

Natsume wanted to make it clear from the get-go that this is not some rehashing of an old puzzle game with Harvest Moon stamped on the box. The developers of Puzzle de Harvest Moon have built the gameplay from the ground up. In the game, you play against three opponents, working to harvest as many crops as you can. You're offered four different icons: water, seeds, fertilizer, and a harvest basket. Each of these four icons is basically a play you can make on the game board, which every player is using at the same time. Basically, the idea is to plant seeds then water and fertilize them until they grow into crops. Then you harvest the crops by putting them in a basket.

Click to enlarge!

The catch is that you won't always have all four icon types available to you. For instance, sometimes you'll have three water icons and a fertilizer. The idea is to keep cycling through the game pieces as quickly as possible, which sometimes means watering and fertilizing other people's crops so you can get new pieces to come up. Additionally, if you have a crop that's fully grown but no basket, you can simply scratch away at it with the stylus, and that will harvest it--it just happens to take a little longer this way.

The game progresses through four seasons, and at the end of winter, the winner is declared depending on the point totals from crops harvested. You have the option to harvest other people's crops too, if you manage to get to them. But these crops won't give you as many points as your own and will, in fact, still give points to the opponent who planted them. You'll also be able to use animal power-ups, ranging from chickens to giant cows, which affect gameplay in a variety of ways. The game can be played with up to four players via Wi-Fi and strikes us as being a potentially enjoyable multiplayer game, given the way you can steal from or mess with your opponents.

Puzzle de Harvest Moon seems to be shaping up nicely and will ship for the DS this October. Look for more on Puzzle de Harvest Moon on GameSpot soon.

Discussion

20 comments
ahyumifan
ahyumifan

try to make a puzzle out of every game. what next? Halo Puzzle Challenge?

mykalon
mykalon

Well it certainly looks...different. A Harvest Moon puzzle game was something I was least expecting, as it seemingly came out of nowhere, but hey, if its any good I'll give it a try.

msudude211
msudude211

I never have played any harvest moon games...

graffiti14
graffiti14

i don't think i'll be getting this particular harvest moon game, doesn't look that good to be honest.

xche78x
xche78x

enough of the reason to buy the system! if you havent got the systems by now, you are not that much of a gamer. if you dont have DS yet, then what the heck are you here for. and heck there is no point on siding on any console, just purchase em all or one by one as soon as you get the money. i got psp ds ps3, next in line of my purchase list is wii then 360 next year. harvest moon sim titles are somewhat entertaining and the latest psp iteration is a nice addition, i played it for a week then gave the umd to my cousin. but i dont see myself buying this one because puzzle quest got me hooked until today, i liked touch screen but the ds version of puzzle looks like crap so i prefer the psp and the pc demo played on my toshiba tablet.

Bansheesdie
Bansheesdie

The DS just keeps loading up the games!

Pete5506
Pete5506

Well I have never been a fan of thses games

magicmo
magicmo

Another reason to get a DS.

DouglasBuffone
DouglasBuffone

I love Harvest Moon and I can't wait for this game

Ryosagi
Ryosagi

Interested big time on this one. A new puzzle type all together? Count me in!

-Twilight-
-Twilight-

Harvest Moon puzzle game? Hmm, as interesting and great the Harvest Moon games are, can't say I'm anticipating this one :?.

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

I am seeing a lot of new Harvest Moon games this E3. The other versions do look good but I can pass on this puzzle one.

Conanfan1
Conanfan1

I love Harvest Moon. This looks like a great step in a new direction.

icytower
icytower

Not a Harvest Moon fan myself, but looks interesting none the less.

treytakahashi
treytakahashi

Oh man Harvest moon rocks. I cannot wait for this :P