Harvest Moon has a lot to answer for. Without it, and it's quirky, charming gameplay, we might never have seen the advent of that most insidious of social simulation games, the mighty FarmVille. Harvest Moon's innards share a few blobs of DNA with Zynga's Facebook classic, and the odd chromosome with The Sims and Animal Crossing. The premise is simple and relaxing, tend to your virtual farm, keep up appearances in town, engage in a whole host of cutesy minigames to cook, fish, rear and groom, and find yourself a wife.
Magical Melody was originally released for the Gamecube way back in 2006, but never came to Europe. It took two years for its release over here and when it finally came it arrived on the Wii. Today you can grab a copy for £4.97 from Argos, which'll save you nearly £10 on the nearest in stock competitor at the time of writing (Coolshop - £13.99).
This Wii version adds a few features such as motion sensitive compatibility for the mini-games, which play a little bit like WiiPlay now but that's no bad thing, but unfortunately for the fairer sex, you'll no longer be able to play as a woman. Everything else is exactly the same as its two year old progenitor, from the music right down to the conversations you'll have with the bobble-headed townsfolk. If you didn't play the original then that's more or less fine (if a little depressingly lazy), but there's nothing new here really for the seasoned farmer.
Harvest Moon: Magical Melody is still great fun, and its classic blend of wonderfully endearing presentation and soothingly laid-back gameplay is still as attractive as ever, but certain parts of this game smack of hasty cynicism. This game's existence makes me angry for a number of reasons - lazy motion control elements, a complete lack of new features, and a hatchet job on the female demographic to name a few - but if you haven't played this before and fancy a more expansive experience than FarmVille can offer then this is well worth picking up for under a fiver.
Thanks to amibees at HUKD