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Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands - NDS - Preview

E3 2009 PreviewE3 2008 GameZone Previews

Changing up the controls to please its fans on the Nintendo DS, Natsume is ready to deliver their next iteration on the handhelds with their Harvest Moon franchise.

Titled Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands, players won’t have to use the Nintendo DS stylus exclusively to control their choice of a boy or girl character. This time around, players will be able to use face buttons and the D-Pad as control methods to move their character.

The goal in Sunshine Islands is to raise all the islands from underneath the ocean and bring prosperity back to the land. Your objective is completed by collecting all the sun stones and helping the islands resurface one by one. If players don’t want to collect all the sun stones, they can speak to NPCs on their own and hope that their friendships are built up enough for the NPCs to find the stones on their leisure time.

What’s so special about these islands? Well each island has their own specialty such as mushrooms, mining, harvest sprites, rice, trees (fruit), wild animals, the meadow to raise all the other islands, the homes of the Harvest Goddess and Witch Princess, and you own islands to ranch on.

Of the more interesting islands, players can attend to an island where they befriend wild animals. A benefit to making friends with a wild animal is that they’ll accomplish certain tasks such as collecting items in the environment. Mice will help collect precious gems; sparrows will find seasonal items; badgers hunt down hard to find herbs; monkies collect lumber; ducks assist in finding fish. It would’ve been much more interesting if they joined the ranch, but alas, they stay on their private island and need for you to provide food for them before each job that you ask of them.

Differing in another area, Sunshine Islands incorporates a pet system where players can enter their furry friends into festivals each and every year. Throughout the year, players will practice with their pets to help them perform better such as teaching your dog to catch a Frisbee and a cat having a mini-game to help him pay better attention to your commands. The pets provided this time around include: a horse, dog, pig and a tabby cat.

If you aren’t into farming your ranch on a daily basis, you can hire the Harvest sprites to come to your aid. They’ll till your land for two days and rest for seven days – so with a total of 45 sprites that you can obtain, the more you have, the more work they’ll get done.

Staying true to the franchise, players will be able to fall in love with all of the characters from last year’s iteration, Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness, plus an additional three new characters: prince charming Will, the treasure hunter Lily, and the Witchkin niece.

Targeting a July release date, players will get their fulfillment of Harvest Moon farming fun relatively soon.

For All E3 2009 GZ Previews

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