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Rising Star picks up Rune Factory for Europe

Chalk this one up in the "better late than never" category, Europe. Rising Star, niche game publisher extraordinaire, will be bringing Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon to the continent in September, only a year after the game came out in North America and two years after it first released in Japan. In case you're confused, yes, we mean the first Rune Factory, not the hopefully-soon-to-be-localized sequel.

Still, for what it's worth, this blogger thoroughly enjoyed the game. Are any of you European Harvest Moon fans excited about this news, or has that ship sailed long ago?

[Via press release]

2008's Biggest Blips: Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness

Developer: Marvelous
Publisher: Marvelous/Natsume
Release: June 8

When it comes to light-hearted, adorable games that make us want to smile, the Harvest Moon games top the list. The formula is relatively simple: grow and harvest crops, woo boy/girl, forge friendships, lather, rinse, repeat. Yet, if playing Harvest Moon doesn't tug at your heartstrings even a tiny bit, you're probably the kind of person that eats babies for a living. Not that there's anything wrong with that (in fact, we have an excellent barbecue sauce recipe, if you're interested).

In case you need even more evidence that the Harvest Moon series is full of feel-good games, the two upcoming entries for the DS are subtitled Cute and Island of Happiness. How much sweeter can you get without dying from an immediate sugar coma?

Borrowing a page from Lost in Blue, Island of Happiness kicks off with your character and a handful of friends stranded on a deserted island. As the game world changes and the number of buildings increases, more and more people start settling there. The game features 100 different NPCs, some of whom are bachelors (or bachelorettes, depending on whether you start the game as a girl or boy) that you can woo and marry. The game also features 3D graphics and utilizes stylus controls, thereby making full use of the handheld's capabilities.

We only wish more games could be as relaxing and refreshing as those in the Harvest Moon series. As far as we're concerned, all games could use a good dose of Harvest Moon in them. To prove our point, we've made a few suggestions of game mash-ups that we'd like to see happen.

1. Harvest Moon meets Contra in Super Seed

Is it just a coincidence that one of the heroes of Contra is Lance Bean? If you ask us, this game is just begging for a Harvest Moon infused sequel.

2. Harvest Moon meets Resident Evil in Mansion of Magical Itchy ... Tasty

Did you ever stop to think that zombies need a little love, too? Did Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine ever take the time to invite the zombies to a festival, or try to gain some heart points with a platter of fried brains? Maybe impaling people is just the tyrant's way of indicating that he'd really like someone to bring him a kebab.

3. Harvest Moon meets Metroid in Metroid Prime: Gatherers

Samus has done enough hunting. It's time for her to switch gears.

4. Harvest Moon meets Castlevania in Dawn of Happiness

Castlevania needs to turn that frown upside down. Dawn of Sorrow? No thanks, Debbie Downer IGA.

5. Harvest Moon meets Dementium in A Wonderful Ward

Ending up in a mysterious place without knowing why you're there isn't uncommon in the Harvest Moon games. If one of these protagonists ended up in Redmoor Hospital, we're sure they'd spend their time planting crops and making friends with the locals.

Gallery: Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness

N+ Back Come the revolution

Rune Factory 2 screens give us deja vu

As we see more and more Rune Factory 2 screens, it's becoming pretty evident that the game is going to be almost exactly like its predecessor, only with slightly altered characters and possibly a kind-of-different storyline.

Does the prospect of an extremely similar game excite you Rune Factory fans, or was one time around enough? Since we loved the first game so much, we're going to go with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mantra, although it'd be nice to see a few more changes made to the sequel.

You can check out some more screens that probably won't surprise you after the break.

Continue reading Rune Factory 2 screens give us deja vu

Rune Factory 2 manufactures some fresh screens

If checking out screens of in-game characters conversing is your idea of a good time, then put on your favorite jig-dancing shoes and prepare to get down. Dengeki put up some new screens for Rune Factory 2 and they're focused on the fun conversations one will have in the game.

So, be sure to head on over and check those out, should you be so inclined.

See also: Additional screenshots and the Japanese extras

The Rune Factory also manufactures videos

The website for the fantasy-farming sequel*, Rune Factory 2, has been updated with new character art and, most importantly, a new trailer. Marvelous is throwing everything they can at the audience, pulling out the full bag of Japanese trailer tricks: anime intros, soaring J-pop background music, and, on occasion, footage of the game.

While the trailer smartly focuses on aspects of the game that play well in trailers, like romance and fighting, you can also see plenty of the farming action that Harvest Moon series fans care for. If you look over at the monsters page, you can check out some of the creatures that your hero Kyle can capture and tame, many of which look suspiciously similar to livestock. Or Gollum. All of these creatures can be found in the previous Rune Factory, with the exception of the "Orc Viking," who is not nearly as cute as the Woolly seen here. Also be sure to hit the system page for new screens.

*That is, a farming game in a fantasy sequel. You don't actually grow fantasies.

Harvest Moon DS Confusion

The new entry in the Harvest Moon series, called Harvest Moon DS Cute, is something of a mystery to us. Why is this specific one cute, compared to all the other cute Harvest Moon games? Do you grow teddy bear plants or something?

We think we've figured it out. What has happened is that two Harvest Moon games have gotten mixed up-- a confusing situation that we will do our best to untangle.

We're guessing that the Harvest Moon DS Cute we're getting early next year is the female-focused version of the first Harvest Moon DS. Like other girls' Harvest Moons, it's the same as the original, with the genders swapped on the protagonist and the love interests. Thus, the 'cute' is a hint at its girl-targeted design. This is all speculative, of course.

The game we've seen recently in scans and in this new GAME Watch article is a sequel to these Harvest Moons, called (roughly) Harvest Moon: The Sparkling Sun and Friends. It's a new game with Wi-Fi integration. We don't think this one is Cute, mostly because it's too new and unlikely to make that release window.

There are too many Harvest Moon games.

Rune Factory 2 screens burst into light

We don't even have the first Rune Factory yet, and already there are screenshots from the sequel. This is getting entirely too common with games we're interested in, like Professor Layton and his Many Mysterious Venues. Rune Factory 2, like its predecessor, is a spin-off from the Harvest Moon series. There's some debate as to whether or not we even need the first title, but we're willing to give it a spin when it finally comes out. In the meantime, we'll check out these shots from the sequel

Continue reading Rune Factory 2 screens burst into light

Rune looks like a lady

With only a few weeks left before the North American release of Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon (5/1), developer Neverland Co. has announced a sequel to its farming sim and RPG hybrid. The latest issue of Famitsu has screenshots for the follow-up, and they show a remarkable amount of improvement to the original's graphics.

It's still too early to call the redhead protagonist's gender, but our money's on the character being a guy. You can never tell these days, what with all the effeminate farmhands running around. Let us know what you think -- is he one of the dudes? Or is she the princess of Cootie Town? Check past the jump for the Rune Factory 2 magazine scans and a full profile shot of the androgynous hero.

Continue reading Rune looks like a lady

Spectrobes webisodes to back up DS release

We know you're in pain. There are so few Nintendo games dedicated to collecting and training monsters that you're all in severe withdrawals. After all, it's been at least ... oh ... six seconds or so since another such title was announced!

Okay, so maybe we're being a tad sarcastic, but these days, you can't walk into a gaming store without tripping over monster-farming titles. In such a market, what's a company like Buena Vista to do that will make their new game, Spectrobes, stand out? It's not enough these days to have a kick ass developer -- and they do -- and the intergalactic setting might not do it, either. So what's left? Webisodes, of course! Six webisodes, designed to grant a little insight into the characters and their place in the world, will hit the game's official website over the next half year.

Wow, maybe they could even put one of them "telly-vision shows" on the magical picture box! Now that would be something really new and fresh.

Rune Factory opening movie

Fighting, farming, and ... uh. Young love. Yeah. Sounds like the makings of an epic!

While this may not be the best of all movies on YouTube (it's a little on the jiggly side), it's still a love peek into the new Rune Factory releasing in Japan this week.

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