(WiiWare)

Game Review

Harvest Moon: My Little Shop Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

Work sucks.

Farm life has always been the focus of the Harvest Moon series, and My Little Shop technically continues that tradition. You do live on a farm and have to knock out the daily rituals of watering crops, feeding the chickens and petting the cows, but that’s pretty much it and is accomplished in about one minute. Which leaves you plenty of time to deal with the game’s namesake farm store dishing up ice cream, juices and, uh, decorated eggs to locals and tourists.

In the real world the story would make absolutely no sense, but since this is a video game we’ll just roll with it. Your parents in the city are whisked away to an emergency archeological dig (yep), leaving you with your too-old-for-this grandparents on their farm next to a little town. The town has seen better days and is pretty desolate by the time you arrive; there’s a big ol’ tower said to be able to solve the town’s problems, but the wind won’t blow or something so it’s screwing everyone over. In order to presumably stave off boredom, you take it upon yourself to run the farm and shop despite being around eight years old and citified.

It should be noted that My Little Shop is squarely aimed at Your Little Kid; the storybook art style makes this pretty clear and the game mechanics are so simple that any child with a decent memory and basic reading comprehension skills will be able to play. And the constant repetition is something only a child would be able to put up with.

The most interesting thing My Little Shop does is take place in quasi-real time. This means that while a day/night cycle is absent, in-game events are associated with real-world days: crops can take several days to grow and need to be watered daily, and if you neglect your farm one day then you’ll see it when you return. People of the town come and go and usually have something new to say each day, so there’s always something to do every day. It even goes so far as to set customer reservations for certain days to make sure you keep coming back.

Your willingness to come back depends largely on how much you like playing the exact same tedious minigames over and over again. In order to grow your farming business you need money, which leads to most of your time spent behind the counter. Say you want to make juice: in order to do so, you need to knock the needed vegetables off a conveyor belt (that also happens to inexplicably have cyborg-esque “decoy” veggies) shooting-gallery style, dice them by slashing them as they fall from the sky (if you bought the slicer upgrade), and finally blend them by pumping (waggling) the Wii Remote. It takes about a minute and a half, you get a score and send the customers on their way. It’s fun at first, but after the second go you start to question what you’re doing with yourself (just like a real job!). Making ice cream involves a hokey Simon Says rhythm game with a cow, which we suppose is a step above waggling udders.

The money you make in the shop allows you to buy new stuff for business, be it tools, food processing stuff (a.k.a. more minigames), livestock, seeds, shop decorations and to clear more land for growing crops. If you’re looking for a farming-type game then My Little Shop is not the game for you, as the actual taking care of crops feels like an afterthought. Water daily and you’re done.

Put simply, it’s just not that fun, which is too bad because everything else about the game is lovely. Control is handled by pointing in the direction you want to go, you speak to people and interact with objects by clicking on them, and it all works without fail. The storybook theme presentation is really quite striking too, and you can send a picture of your customized storefront to Wii friends’ message boards.

Conclusion

Harvest Moon: My Little Shop is really good at what it does, and what it does is bring the tedium of working in the food service industry right into your home. Charming looks and an interesting time system can’t save a shallow experience that feels like work to play. Put those 1200 points towards something, oh, you know, fun instead.

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User Comments (26)

Objection

#1

Objection said:

Kinda what I figure but I never got into HM to begin with. I did try Animal Crossing but I never understood the draw of the genre.

Sean_Aaron

#3

Sean_Aaron said:

Somehow I don't think the review will change megaboomface2...

Thanks for taking this one off my hands Jon!

DarkEdi

#4

DarkEdi said:

I´m not interested in this.
Ah, you forgot to say this has "pay & play" thing. The one disponible in instructions is buy a client :s

Chunky_Droid

#5

Chunky_Droid said:

Harvest Moon is really hit and miss with the games in its series. Will stay clear of this one Jon!

abe8812

#8

abe8812 said:

4/10? That's too bad. I just got my first Harvest Moon game on the VC and the next day I find out that one of its spin-offs gets a low score.

Egg_miester

#9

Egg_miester said:

my fears came true damn you Natsume for ruining a good chance or a shop sim game in hm world*dreams are shattered*

CH405K1N6

#10

CH405K1N6 said:

This game is a wolf in sheep's clothing: Charming looks and graphics, but no fun to be had in the gameplay. Good review Jon :)

Percentful

#12

Percentful said:

My sister loves Harvest Moon and would love this game, but when I tried to raise a farm, all the girls hated me, 2 of my cows died, my chickens died, and I couldn't grow any fruit. I did find 2 ducks though...they died also. Harvest moon is not my game.

WolfRamHeart

#13

WolfRamHeart said:

Good review Panda and thanks for saving me 1200 points. I was really interested in getting this at first but I had a hunch that it would turn out to be a dud. I think charging people 1200 points for a game that isn't very good to begin with and then actually expecting them to pay 400 points more for a DLC pack is pretty darn ridiculous. If the gameplay was actually good then the price of admission would be justified. I was really hoping that this would turn out to be a good game. Better luck next time.

cheetahman91

#14

cheetahman91 said:

Looks more fun to work in real life than to play this waste of space. At least I'd get paid in real money!

KaiserGX

#15

KaiserGX said:

I just wanted to say I gambled when this came out Monday and besides the first day I've been enjoying it. This game is kind of like Bonsai Barber in which you log in everyday and do a bit then come back the next day. I've actually unlocked more mini games for each task. I think there are 5 for each. Which made it more fun then when I was just doing 2-3 stages. So the mini games get longer, but you get more money. It's also apperantly this should only be played a bit because after a while of doing the same mini game you keep getting less money despite of your score.

Random from HVM MLS itself though I love how you guys know how the entire game is based one one review.

StarDust4Ever

#18

StarDust4Ever said:

I hate games that use the real-time clock. I want to be able to play until 3:00am in the morining if I want, and then take a long hiatus and come back a week later to pick up where I left off.

Heck, some of us have school, jobs, relationships...

Games are good for those rare times when you have nothing to do.

Bigby

#19

Bigby said:

Good review
@ stardust - Right! :)
actually my mom is playing this and she seems to like it. Obviously she's not a big gamer :)
I couldn't get into it at all.

ueI

#20

ueI said:

In other Harvest Moon games, time only progresses when you're playing them. I won't be playing this one, so I can't say if that's still true.
@XCWarrior Which game did you play? Magical Melody is much better than the misnamed wonderful life.

KaiserGX

#21

KaiserGX said:

@Stardust
It doesn't take much, just about 10-20min a day. Before I go to College I play a bit. It's not entirely real time. If you play at night it's still day. You don't waist anything by not playing at a certain time. Except maybe reservations. Buy some nutrition and you wont have to water for a while.

Kurachi

#22

Kurachi said:

i dont know this one, but i do like the one on VC, and sometimes time goes too fast, lol

but i guess a shop and a farm are way different :p

Wolfneko

#23

Wolfneko said:

Yeah, Harvest Moon is really a type of game you love or you hate.
Jon worded it well, it does what it's supposed to well~
HM is the type of game you rent first...
I tried ToT and loved it!

JeanLuc_Vaycard

#24

JeanLuc_Vaycard said:

@ the people thinking this sums up Harvest moon games is entirely wrong. This is a sad edition to the Harvest Moon games. Honestly they just made a minigame collection and slapped the Harvest Moon title on it.

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