Harvest Moon has a large and loyal fanbase and could arguably be called one of the most popular “sim” style games out there. Natsume and Rising Star Games decided to bring the feel of Harvest Moon to the next generation of gamers.
While Lil Farmers is geared towards children, I found myself having just as much fun playing it as my kids. The cutesy art style that gamers have come to recognize as Harvest Moon has translated well to the mobile platform, along with the peppy music. I was genuinely happy to introduce my kids to Harvest Moon, of course on a less complicated scale.
Lil Farmers distills the Harvest Moon concept down to a few basic “jobs”: feed the animals, grown the plants, sheer the sheep, milk the cow, wash the horse, and collect eggs. Through these actions, players are able to complete orders made by NPCs that visit the farm. While this seems like a lot for a child to do, it was all designed to be simple and easy to learn. Using pictures as instructions allows children to know what is required to complete as task even if they have limited reading skills.
Once NPCs place their orders players fulfill those requests by placing the required items in a basket then covering it with a cloth and moving the basket to the NPC that requested it. If the player does not have the required item in stock, they can go back to the main farm area and either collect it (milk, eggs, wool) or grow it (fruits and vegetables). There is no time limit on the orders so players will not have that sense of urgency or possible failure. My own children (aged 7 and 10) enjoyed this aspect immensely because it eliminated their frustration they have had with other mobile games in the genre. They each spent a chunk of time killing my phone battery because they did not want to stop playing.
Not wanting to stop playing was not just because they found the game fun but because if they closed the app they would have to start all over from the beginning. Harvest Moon Lil Farmers does not have levels, nor progress saving. While not having levels is great for kids, not saving progress was a little frustrating for them and me. If you had accumulated a nice stock in the farm store, you’d lose it all once the game closed. This lead to more than a few discussions as to why they could not stop playing versus why I needed them to stop playing right then. It would have been nice to have the ability to save a game. Of course if that were possible, the game would also have to have the option to have more than one “profile” on it.
This single limitation does not detract from its fun factor nor desirability. My kids still bickered over who got to play first. My 10 year was more aware of not having levels and saves than my 7 year old. However, my 10 year is asking about other Harvest Moon games as well, so it’s a pretty good marketing tool too.
Pros: + Addicting fun, easy to play, great for kids
Cons: – No level or progress save