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Joystiq presents

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.


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