Friends of Mineral Town Switch Remake – My Story & Why I’m Cautious

Friends of Mineral Town Switch Remake – My Story & Why I’m Cautious


Hi, I’m MykonosFan, and I adore Harvest Moon:
Friends of Mineral Town.
Very recently it was announced that it would
be getting remade for the Nintendo Switch
and that we would be getting it over here
in the West.
There’s been a few remakes I’ve been wishing
for for years and got, like Crash and Spyro,
but I never once stopped to think about how
I’d like a remake of this title.
The announcement of this remake got a lot
of people on my Twitter timeline gushing about
how much they love the original game.
I got all warm and fuzzy remembering how much
I played it in my childhood so I wanted to
talk about my story with the original, why
I love it, and ending this video with why
I’m…cautiously excited for this new version
of the game.
It’s actually a bit funny that this game is
getting a remake.
As you probably know, Friends of Mineral Town
was a GameBoy Advance demake of sorts of a
PlayStation Harvest Moon game, Back To Nature.
I bought that one on PS3 some years back,
but every time I try to play it…it just
makes me want to play Mineral Town instead
so I won’t be talking about it in this video.
There’s also the alternate reality game More
Friends of Mineral Town where you play a girl
instead of a boy, but I also won’t be talking
about that game in this video because as a
child I thought it would be quite silly to
play as a girl.
Nowadays I’m much more open to that idea because
I’m not a dang old doofus.
Speaking of being a child, that was when I
got my first hit of Harvest Moon…and some
seedy, illegal happenings.
The statute of limitations is probably up,
right?
Okay, I stole a Whatchamacallit bar from Walmart.
Just kidding.
I wish though, I love those things.
So as a kid I was enraptured by Animal Crossing.
I had a weird DVD from a game store that had
all kinds of off-beat commercials for it,
does anyone actually else remember these things?
God.
I would watch them over and over, my parents
didn’t understand but I begged them for the
game.
Looking back at these, I don’t understand
why I was obsessed with them either.
I would have been like eight years old at
the time, so the notion of fantasizing escaping
my life to live out a virtual one is a bit…concerning,
in retrospect.
My neighbor and his big brother also loved
Animal Crossing, and we’d spend a lot of time
visiting each other’s towns and just talking
about the game.
Then one day some years later after the fascination
had passed, his older brother had a floppy
drive with something on it that would blow
my mind.
See, his older brother knew a guy, who knew
a guy, who could…get this, play Game Boy
Advance games on his computer.
Yeah, that’s right.
No fussing with trying to get a decent light
on the screen, no begging your parents for
AA batteries, you just put the floppy disc
in, put some files on your desktop and you
could play anything.
Pokemon, Mario, Sonic, you name it.
This floppy drive contained a version of Visual
Boy Advance and a sole game.
My neighbor’s brother said it was like Animal
Crossing, but you could farm and actually
raise the animals instead of befriending them.
It was then that I immediately became fascinated
with the world of Mineral Town in Forget-Me-Not
Valley.
I was also an unwitting criminal by emulating
a game that was for sale on the market.
I’m sorry, Reggie.
Please forgive me.
For what it’s worth, I did eventually buy
my own copy years later.
Secondhand…so no one involved saw money
from that either.
(Reggie laughs as I’m locked behind bars for
Video Game Crimes.
“What’s wrong with you?”
His piercing laser gaze ignites my frail frame.)
Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town begins
with your character running over to every
NPC in the game, and they whistle these adorable
little animals in and chickens fly out of
the title screen as the world’s cheeriest
music plays and my god how can you not be
in love with this game already?
Chickens make noise to confirm your menu inputs,
just 10/10 video’s over go pop the cartridge
into your DS and just experience this for
yourself, please.
So once the game actually starts it immediately
gets pretty sappy.
As Pete…or whatever you name this shmuck,
you arrive at an abandoned farm.
As you take in your surroundings, Thomas,
the mayor of Mineral Town, berates you for
trespassing onto a dead man’s property.
As your character explains through ellipses
which is then explained back to your character
by Thomas’ words, you actually met the owner
as a child and were essentially good pen pals.
You stopped receiving letters back and decided
to go make sure the owner was OK after a while.
The game cuts to a sepia tone flashback where
your character is shown falling in love with
a farm, befriending the old man, playing with
cows, and even meeting a girl who…never
shows up again.
I have to mention the music here again, it’s
a simple piece but it’s so effective at conveying
a fading, warm memory of a time long past.
I think we all have somewhere we went to as
a kid that we’d struggle to point out on a
map or perhaps not even remember how to get
there anymore…but you almost don’t want
to see how it’s doing these days just to help
keep your memory in tact.
This music piece nails that feeling in a cutesy
way and really, the entire soundtrack is just
fantastic considering the GBA’s much maligned
music limitations.
I’ve no doubt that part of it is nostalgia
speaking, I’ll happily admit, but I just feel
so good when I listen to it.
Even now.
Speaking of the present day, after you’ve
caught the mayor up with your history you
find out that the old man actually entrusted
the farm to you.
There is a Harvest Moon game where you can
say no and have your dog attack poor Thomas
and initiate a credits sequence but…this
is a wholesome game for pure people and we
won’t even tempt the possibility here.
Shame on those charlatans.
So starting out, everything is in disrepair.
The grounds to put crops in are covered with
dank weed (HEH, WEED JOKE), stones, and logs
that need wiped out.
There’s also no livestock.
An affable man named Zack drops by to let
you know that at 5 PM each day, he’ll stop
by and pick up whatever items you’ve put in
your shipping box, which is how you’ll make
a living.
You are running a farm, after all.
At least, you can run a farm.
If you want to heck the heck off and just
do some fishing and get to know the townspeople,
that’s an option.
You don’t have to buy a single cow or plant
a crop at all if you don’t want to.
Of course, that kind of defeats the point,
but if you haven’t played a Harvest Moon title
the lack of a rigid structure may be a small
surprise to you.
There’s definitely still a structure, there
are absolutely walls you are confined to but
I always kind of liked that if I just wanted
to focus on growing crops and not bother with
animals in a playthrough, I could totally
do that and it would be viable.
I live in rural BFE West Virginia here in
the good lord’s United States Of.
If I wanted to know what the farming life
is like, there are many people I could ask
who would absolutely let me lend a helping
hand on their farm and would probably appreciate
me wanting to know more about their routine,
personal story, their trials, tribulations,
and small victories in such a personally rewarding
yet economically challenging position to hold
in our modern world…but as we all know,
video games are superior to real life and
in this game I can milk a cow by pushing a
plastic button.
Aww look at that widdle heart, she’s happy
to provide!
Gosh the animals are so cute in this game.
In real life cows are stinky and poop quite
liberally with reckless abandon.
This game communicates no sense of smell and
no one in Mineral Town would dare even think
of something as vile as excrement.
Animals are quite an investment in this game,
you really have to do some weird odds and
ends like sell things you’ve foraged and perhaps
do some fishing.
But once you’ve made the investment, they
really pay off in the long run with the money
you can receive from their byproduct.
Getting an animal requires heading into town
and purchasing one, though, and in my heart
it’s the residents of Mineral Town that helped
keep me entranced as a kid.
I won’t oversell it, these are simple characters
that don’t have a lot of dialog.
But as a kid, these endearing, well designed
characters got my imagination running and
my mind filled in the blanks.
Whether it be Rick’s kind demeanor, Thomas’
goofy appearance, Saibara’s gruffness, and
Gourmet’s….gourmetness…the people give
a lot of charm to this small, quaint place.
These days it’s hard to mention Harvest Moon
without mentioning Stardew Valley, but for
the hundreds of hours I’ve put into Stardew
and for how much I adore that game…a point
in Mineral Town’s favor for me is still its
characters.
Stardew has the advantage of characters with
more interesting situations, character growth,
and diversity, but I think there’s just something
to these characters here.
Even though the localization is rather spotty,
it’s still fun checking in with everyone.
And this is one of a few areas where I hope
the remake expands on the source material.
Writing a lot of dialog is a lot of work,
but I’d rather see them shift toward Animal
Crossing where each character has a fair amount
of things they could say, instead of them
just having a couple of context and weather
specific statements they repeat forever.
If this remake can give me that, that will
be a big boon for me.
Another thing I’d like to see improved are
the base mechanics.
The original game has a pretty quick way to
swap between tools, which is great, but a
faster way to sort through items in your inventory
would be appreciated.
In the GBA game, when you want to drop items
off into the shipment box you have to go into
your menu, equip the item, go out of the menu,
drop the item, and then repeat the process
for each item.
It’d also just be nice to have a bigger starting
inventory, 5 slots instead of 3 would be so,
so welcome.
Judging by what we’ve seen so far, at least,
it seems to stand to reason that there will
be a more intuitive way of going through items.
It also looks like it will surface your remaining
stamina so you can always see what you have,
thank goodness.
In the original game you kind of just had
to play with fire and guess based on animations
how much longer you could work without going
to the ER.
My concerns mainly lie in how this remake
looks.
This game just has a different feel than the
GBA version, which comes with the territory
as they’re turning a sprite-based game back
into a 3D game.
But even stylistically, I just don’t really
like the way characters look in the game.
The GBA game was made during a time where
the character design of Harvest Moon still
managed to strike a nice balance between looking
cute, but still kinda cool as well.
A Wonderful Life also hit these same notes
rather well.
The Story of Seasons remake, however…I just
don’t know.
The way the main character looks kind of reminds
me of Magical Melody on the GameCube, and
even as a kid I didn’t like that style to
the point that I didn’t want to play that
game.
That’s kind of a dumb view, and I’m not saying
anyone who likes that style is in the wrong,
but it just didn’t capture me in the same
way.
The environments in the remake also just look
sterile and a bit plain when rendered in a
3D space like this.
I’m conflicted on this because while I would
have liked to see them put more fun details
into the world, it also seems that the game
map is being laid out just like the original
was.
The Link’s Awakening remake is pulling that
off with aplomb, it’s an interesting way to
take things.
Lastly, I’m not that wild about some of the
new character portraits.
I think Rick and Cliff hit the same vibe well
enough that I’m not too bothered, but poor
Popurri here just feels weird when comparing
them.
If I was shown the new Popurri in a vacuum
I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that
it was her, there’s just something about these
eyes that I can’t put my finger on and itrquote
s off putting to me.
Thomas has a much more exaggerated look here,
but…I think I kinda like it?
I also think the color usage shown in the
footage is quite nice.
My qualms with the way this looks are more
on stylistic principle as opposed to anything
looking outright bad, so while this isn’t
up my alley I’m sure there are some that are
loving the way this looks.
I don’t aim to be a complete negative nancy,
though.
I’m still excited for this new take and even
pumped my hands in the air when they confirmed
a localized release outside of Japan.
I uhh…yeah.
I don’t often do that for game announcements.
This new take on the game is going to be so
much more accessible, both for old and new
players alike.
No longer do you have navigate the PS3 store,
track down a GBA cartridge, or get a floppy
disc with an illegal copy from a neighbor’s
brother’s friend.
Now you can just grab it digitally or in any
store to play it on the Switch, a system that
will fit this game like a glove since portable
Harvest Moon is basically nirvana.
The notion that more people will be able to
discover and fall in love with this game makes
me so happy.
Seeing folks experience Crash and Spyro via
the remakes was so satisfying and I have a
feeling a similar thing will play out here.
I’m curious if people will take to this as
much in a post-Stardew Valley world, but I
think that Stardew’s success has perfectly
teed up a huge audience to be able to come
to this game and respect it.
Especially with how much of a love letter
Stardew was to games like Mineral Town.
I’m not as enthused with the way the remake
looks as I want to be, but I’m already happily
prepared to lose dozens upon dozens of hours
rediscovering this game.
I’m already excited to start getting materials
to upgrade my house in the game.
Seriously, give me a cute house in a game
and tell me I can upgrade it, and my main
focus will become working to build it out.
When the time comes, I hope this remake delivers
and I hope that others join me in appreciating
Friends of Mineral Town in all of its forms.
If you enjoyed watching this video, please
consider hitting the thumbs up button and
subscribing.
In the comments below, I want to hear from
you.
I never got into the Story of Seasons games,
how are they?
Are there recent Harvest Moon games that are
worth checking out?
Which titles did you love growing up?
I want to read a bunch of different perspectives
and topics, I’m not in many Harvest Moon-centric
circles so I haven’t seen anyone discuss it
in a long time.
That’s all from me for now, though.
Thank you for tuning in and listening to me
gush about this game.
And of course, thanks to my Patrons for helping
me to keep going.

21 thoughts on “Friends of Mineral Town Switch Remake – My Story & Why I’m Cautious

  • July 7, 2019 at 4:07 pm
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    Oh that's why you used to talk about Stardew Valley so much.

    Reply
  • July 7, 2019 at 4:31 pm
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    Which Harvest Moon games have you enjoyed? Do any Story of Seasons games capture the magic I felt with FoMT? Let me know!

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  • July 7, 2019 at 5:16 pm
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    Dang ol' doofus

    Reply
  • July 7, 2019 at 5:18 pm
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    im glad youre also bothered by the new redesigns for the characters. the old style had such a warm youthful charm to it (probably since its very 90s anime styled so its Contextual), but the newer style feels so Sterilized 2010s. like im sure its for newer audiences/Lil Kids but heck

    Reply
  • July 7, 2019 at 7:19 pm
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    This game looks like Stardew Valley.

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  • July 8, 2019 at 12:07 am
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    Story of Seasons Trio of Towns is a good, if somewhat shallow game. If you just want that classic HM feel of farming and socializing with the townspeople, then it has that. Just everything else about it doesn’t feel properly fleshed out compared to Stardew Valley and other farm/life sims.

    The farming is very involved, with you needing to worry about 4 separate stats per crop and the fertilizers that raise them. There are a lot of animals to pick from, with a lot of uses for their products. The “Brand” mechanics, of winning contests and raising the value of specific crops, is also neat, as it lets you feel like you’re specializing if you want.

    The downside to the farming is how the grid works. Farm plots are automatically 3×3, for streamlining, but that also makes placing objects for decoration around the farm, not very intuitive. Otherwise it’s fine.

    Most of the townspeople are fine, but I found most of them a little bland. None of them have bombastic personalities or are weird. They’re very basic. But you can improve each town through quests by increasing your friendship with each of them.

    But, then there’s everything else. You mine by hitting 4 veins a couple times each day. You fish by hitting a button when it tells you to. The chores you can do for people are dull. Festivals have no interaction, you just show up and watch the long boring cutscene. And personally, I think the animations of the 3D models make everything drag and feel generic. There’s only so many times you can watch your character tilt their head back and forth for 5 seconds (thinking), or waving hands in front of them (talking) before it gets on your nerves. I think it’d have been better to have all dialog expressed only by the hand drawn pictures.

    Reply
  • July 8, 2019 at 3:02 pm
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    Grats on the 1k man

    Reply
  • July 8, 2019 at 7:17 pm
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    Never played a Harvest Moon or Story of Seasons game, but I have played Stardew Valley and I own Harvest Moon: Hero of Leaf Valley on PSP, but I don't know if that one's considered good or not.

    Reply
  • July 9, 2019 at 3:29 pm
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    bahawkx2 on reddit very kindly pointed out to me that you actually CAN swap through menus and items more easily than I realized. I feel stupid, but I guess that's what I get for growing up with an emulated copy with no manual around. As a kid I didn't read the tutorials in game and just got used to how I played over the years. But now I know at least!

    Reply
  • July 9, 2019 at 5:52 pm
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    Ohhh honey, you're not the only soul here who's kinda questioning the graphic style they went with. Especially that they'll port this to a switch which has as much power as you could get in a handheld. The style looks so dull, spacious and flat here, like a common mobile game.

    Reply
  • July 13, 2019 at 4:06 pm
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    Mykonos: Pokemon

    Shows a picture of agumon
    😂😂✌️

    Reply
  • August 17, 2019 at 10:23 pm
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    Totally agree with your thoughts on this, it could go fantastically but could also be bad, not necessarily for nostalgic reasons. I'm staying open minded and going to see other people's thoughts before committing to a buy, as FOMT and MFOMT are great games and I'd be happy to just play those again for the 100th time, if the remake turns out to be a dud. However, for you personally I would REALLY recommend giving Back to Nature a fair chance. Even after having played M/Fomt multiple times over, Back to Nature is BY FAR the better game for me. There is SO much more in that game than in FOMT, at least in terms of social aspects. There's more festivals, dating is more fleshed out, there's birthday parties, WAY more cut-scenes involving the villagers, you influence their lives far more than in the handheld versions (where only their dialogue changes) and… (wait for it) …your dog can have puppies! Back to Nature will always be the superior version IMO, but M/FOMT are still fantastic games and this remake has got a lot to live up to! Thank you if you bothered to read this whole thing lol, I am ridiculously OTT passionate about this series.

    Reply
  • August 20, 2019 at 6:25 am
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    🧡

    Reply
  • September 11, 2019 at 8:48 pm
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    I agree with a lot of this. It feels like they got a emotionless version here.

    I feel like as an artist if you aren't smiling when you create a smile on your characters face you are doing something wrong, and I think this art does show that. It's missing real joy and emotions, it's lackluster. People can see a fake smile a mile away.

    It's trying too much to be cute without understanding what is cute. It's more ugly then cute now. Without emotions, it's not cute it's just werid. I feel like the artists weren't allowed to play with the designs enough or weren't straight up good enough to convey emotions to set a character tone.

    Also yes, there was a shortcut to swap items out of bag. I think it was like L+A or something.. Lol, you played so long without realizing that??

    I really want to like the game, but I feel like this version doesn't understand how to relax and be silly. Like using chicken sound effects for naming stuff etc. I do hope I'm wrong.

    Also yes, I never got into Magical Melody because the gameplay and art never had that magic of other games.

    N64 though was also a great game. Divorce, death of the grandma, puppies, hidden secrets around every corner. Don't befriend someone and they leave. It wasn't trying to be cute, it wanted to push the boundaries, it could be briefly dark because that is life. I liked all the hidden stuff and the scrapbook and loop holes. I feel like once harvest moon decided it was "for girls" it lost a lot of what balanced it out and focused too much on being cute and simple, bubbly pink. As a girl I was disappointed.

    I wish I could see another N64 version done right.

    Reply
  • September 21, 2019 at 8:16 am
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    I suggest a new beginning because of how super casual yet customizable it is. However it traded tricking out your town for mini games. You may also notice the game is a slow burn because the game slowly unlocks features until the 25th or 26th of spring. But the funny thing about that is the game is dumb casual. You do not have to at all participate in those days, there's no punishment for at all for wasting every single day of the year. In fact the optimal thing to do is just farm fodder because they grow every day for 60 gold each and I suppose get all the materials beforehand for building things. You also have to keep notes of what treats youre feeding your animals which is an annoying mechanic. And you get a free cow on the 10th or some shit. So just take care of the cow, farm fodder and collect materials in the woods…and lastly you can win the harvest festival by focusing on watering one crop once out of 2 times a day so it grows slower which allows more time to increase the quality of the crop with fertilizer. Brain dead easy game with good customization.

    Reply
  • September 27, 2019 at 11:37 pm
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    I love harvest moon! I’ve been playing since hm 64. I played mineral town years after it’s release. It always was one of my favourites. Along with hm ds and sunshine islands. For some reason while I like the new sos games I don’t like them as much as the classics. I think they lost a lot of their charm, in most of the newer games I don’t even get married. I also find them more tedious and more difficult. Some of the requirements to unlock stuff seem to be in place just to lengthen the game. I don’t feel relaxed when I play those games, like I have a time limit.

    While the new hm games look and feel like beta releases. I haven’t played one since the lost valley and don’t plan on playing one anytime soon. I feel like natsume should release some ports of the older games or remake a classic. I hope that would show them what a hm game should be.

    On the other hand I’m loving the rune factory games and they keep getting better. So I’m really excited for the remake of rf4 and the eventual rf5.

    I’m looking forward to this game. But like you I’m still iffy on the art style.
    Also great video man it’s always good to see more hm content on yt. You have a nice voice too!

    Reply
  • September 28, 2019 at 3:56 pm
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    Well since Marvelous and Natsume split, you're likely better off focusing more on what's to come with story of seasons as the title. Natsume owns the Harvest Moon name, but Marvelous is what brought the games to life. The last harvest moon game for switch came as a bit of a flop since it was post split, and I'm excited to change from a harvest moon fan to a story of seasons fan. I'll always love everything up to the split (64, mineral town, animal parade, tree of tranquility), but I'm excited to follow marvelous instead of natsume now. Theres promise to both, but marvelous has the system down more it feels to me.

    Reply
  • October 3, 2019 at 1:30 pm
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    I'm personally excited for this remake, as well as loving most of the new designs. I find Karen's to be a bit eh, and Kappa is gonna take a bit to get used to, but other then that I have no complaints.

    My first Harvest Moon game was Save the Homeland, which is still one of my top 5 for the series. I also love Animal Parade, DS/Cute, Magical Melody, and (More) Friends of Mineral Town, plus all the Story of Seasons games–though Trio of Towns is the best of the lot. I've also played all the Rune Factory games, which are a treat in a different category of farming simulators.

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 5:30 am
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    Agreed, I don't like the looks of the super deformed 3D character models… I wonder why they didn't use a more adult-like models like in Rune Factory series, especially in the Rune Factory Frontier on Wii. Switch's specs should be able to handle those easily.

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 3:38 am
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    I'm real late to the party but somehow it is a recuring thing that people complain about when 3d is used for a cute setting things just looks too clean and it feel fake, i personally don't mind but i do see where people are coming from. It is 3d that when it come to 3d people tend to be more on the correct representation side than on the artistic side and it result in characters being striped from their cartoony expression that made them fun to interact with, and i think that's why games like kirby or arms don't have that 'too clean looking' problem since every part of their character model are filled with personality while in this remake you can feel they're trying to make them pass as toyish cutesy looking everyday people which is something they are commonly doing with their latest entry like in trio of town. It is different from the original style of the game but i won't say it is far fetched from what they are doing now. I agree that a more artistic cartoony take on the characters would be welcomed but i won't mind if it stay this way and i'm still hyped for that game.

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 7:57 pm
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    Art style and sound is everything with these games and it died after FOMT for me. AWL introduced new, dull sound effects that they still use today (I fucking loathe the cursor sound, totally subjective but it seriously drives me nuts), and a complete lack of music for most of the game. Was really excited when HMDS came out to bring back the classic graphics but we all know how that game turned out. Magical Melody was the only game I could sort of get into after that but it lacked any of the classic HM charm for me and I never got super into it like the others. Everything I've tried playing on the 3DS feels sloppily made/rushed. Kind of heart breaking in a way this series is so dead to me, I have sooo many fond memories of HM64 and would love to see that game get a proper reworking since it's mechanics are a bit weird and the time flies by wayyy too quick but I doubt that'll happen and I agree that this new art style for the FOMT remake lacks the charm and simplicity of the 90's style. Guess I'll have to wait for a Stardew Valley sequel or something to get excited about a farming sim again.

    Reply

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