Harvest Moon: Frantic Farming

Frantic Farming is a Harvest Moon game in title only, because with this specific entry the franchise has officially branched out (pun intended) into the puzzle genre.

THE VERDICT by Will Herring Will Herring's Avatar I'm a long time Harvest Moon fan who's ashamed of the time hes spent on their crops and was pretty sure he'd seen everything there was to do in a Harvest Moon game, but Frantic Farming looks like an intriguing blend of strategy and puzzle antics that's sure to appeal to hardcore puzzle fanatics.

When you think of farming, probably the last adjective that comes to mind is frantic; but when you combine farming with Harvesting-Elves (aka Sprites), crops made of solid gold, and cowboys who pull up vegetables with lassos, the term "frantic" almost seems like an understatement.

However, beyond those electrifying aspects of Harvest Moon: Frantic Farming rests the bread and butter of every puzzle game: colored block manipulation. In Frantic Farming you'll attempt to grow and harvest various crops (each represented by a unique icon and color) as quickly as possible. You'll do this by lining up the mature crops so that a Sprite can pluck them from your field. With each plucked crop the Sprite will plant new ones, which will grow and eventually need to be harvested as well. But like all competent puzzle games, understanding the simple and straightforward premise is only half of the agricultural-battle; the real meat of the gameplay is found in its mastery.

Unfortunately, in order for a player to lay claim to Frantic Farming mastery, he'll need to perfect one specific technique. This would be alright if the game slowly built up its focus on that aspect, but instead it asks you to master it in the course of a level, making for very uneven difficulty and a couple of frustrating rounds. But that's a small gripe for what is otherwise a good, if not somewhat familiar, puzzler.

PROS: Characters are charming and have lots of personality; lots of game-type and multiplayer options
CONS: Uneven difficulty progression and shallow story.

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