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Jul 5, 2011

Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon

Welcome to Rune Factory, a game about all of the best things life has to offer – fighting monsters, growing crops, making money, and getting a waifu (Translator's Note: waifu means wife). This game is a jackpot when it comes to learning Japanese, because it combines addictive gameplay with a lot of repetition of new vocabulary – which means you can learn and have fun at the same time! So let's take a deeper look at the game.

Game Title: Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon (ルーンファクトリー 新牧場物語)
Platform: Nintendo DS
Kanji: Yes
Furigana: No

Plot: The beginning of the game is rather simple: you play as a young man who has lost his memory and found his way to a small town. A young woman named Mist gives you a hoe and watering can and allows you to live in a nearby house and work the fields outside of it. Thus begins your journey to grow crops, care for animals, fight off monsters in caves, and woo the local ladies.

Gameplay: If you have ever played a Harvest Moon game, then you should be well acquainted with how the game works. You have a plethora of farming tools that you use to tend to your crops, which you then use to make things or sell to get cash. You can buy new seeds, equipment, things for your house, and even weapons. With your weapons you can go into the monster infested caves and grow more crops in the constant environments (seasons don't change in caves). Some of the monsters can even be tamed and used to water crops or produce valuable resources. You can also talk to villagers and make friends, or lovers, and progress side stories. There is a lot to do in this game.

Language Level: This game has an interesting level of difficulty. For one thing, there are kanji, which can be difficult to read for beginners (due to the small screen). On the plus side, many of the item names are in kana only, which makes looking words up much easier. Speaking of item names, with so many different foods, weapons, tools, and other items in the game, there is a lot of vocabulary to learn. While that may sound like a bad thing, you'll be seeing all of these items and names over and over again through the course of the game, meaning that you'll be able to learn many of them just by playing.

Final Comments: When you first start playing, you'll probably feel overwhelmed. As is typical, the beginning of the game will include a small introductory story section that will throw a lot of text at you. If you can make it through this part, you'll find that most of the conversations in the game are simple and repeated – so you can take your time understanding them and get reviews simply by talking to people. 

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  1. I've wanted to play this one.

  2. I'm seriously considering getting this in Japanese now. Your language level section gave me a good idea of how difficult the Japanese will be.

    I hope you make more of these introductions.

  3. If only I had a DS. The gameplay really seems like something I'd enjoy too...

  4. >I hope you make more of these introductions.

    I'd really like to, it's just my sluggishness with completing games that is holding me back.

    >If only I had a DS. The gameplay really seems like something I'd enjoy too...

    If it would be worth the investment, I remember hearing that the DS Lite has dropped in price again.

  5. Thanks for the info.

    >On the plus side, many of the item names are in kana only

    I feel a little more encouraged to get it now.