I was a real latecomer to the Harvest Moon series. I had heard of it, but you could have written what I knew about the series on the back of a stamp.
Then one day back in 2004 a good friend of mine who was a fan of the series was super excited for the GameCube game, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life that was due to come out soon. His excitement peaked my own interest so I quizzed him about what exactly is Harvest Moon.
His description was that you work on a farm, do your chores, make money and try to find a wife. He sold it way better than I did and during this time I was into The Sims and he said it was kind of like that.
So I preordered Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life and I was very excited to milk my cows, tend to my corn and meet the love of my life. There are many game alternatives to Harvest Moon and that is what I am looking at today.
Harvest Moon is a wonderful series and if you are new to it I would recommend jumping in where I did, A Wonderful Life.
You knew that this was going to be on here! Words cannot say how much I love Stardew Valley and if there is one game that stole me away from Harvest Moon it is Stardew Valley. Stardew Valley is very similar to Harvest Moon. You need to work on your farm, tend to animals, grow crops and so on.
All the while making money and upgrading your home, equipment and so on. There is always something to do in Stardew Valley so you never get bored.
You also have a social aspect where you can find someone to hook up with which is one of the things I always had fun within the Harvest Moon series. Stardew Valley is just a really charming game. While most people (myself included) will tell you that that the PC version is the way to go.
The truth is the console versions are an absolute blast and just as much fun. I have it on the Nintendo Switch as well and it is a great game to be able to take on the go with you.
Moonlighter is a pretty awesome game and one that before I started this list I had not actually played.
I had heard good things about it and I was not disappointed. It has many things in common with Harvest Moon where you have to do chores, tend to your property and so on. However what I feel sets Moonlighter apart from other similar games is how it is far more story driven.
There are many RPG elements in this game and while we are comparing it to Harvest Moon. In the few hours that I have spent with Moonlighter, I think that this has some things in common with The Legend Of Zelda series as well.
I have yet to speak to anyone who has checked this out and not had a blast with it.
It is like a 3D version of Stardew Valley is how My Time in Portia was described to me by a friend. And I have to disagree with that, I think that My Time in Portia is actually very similar to Harvest Moon in its styles.
You take the reins of your buddies shop and it is up to you to bring it back to life. You do this by growing crops, looking after animals, doing a lot of chores and making sure that things are running nice and smooth.
There is always something to do I My Time in Portia and it is one of those games that really does take away all your free time.
I really cannot oversell this game enough. When it comes time for me to do the best games of 2018 list.
I really have a feeling that My Time in Portia is going to appear on it. It is the kind of game that you can fire up and tend to your crops for just half an hour or so or you can spend a whole night working on your property, talking to the townsfolk and having an awesome time.
Ok so I know that this is a mobile game, but I do feel that it is worthy of being on this list.
While there is the town building and management aspect that you get in games like Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley. Dungeon Village has a real RPG feel about it and ultimately you want to build your place up so much that it is where all the adventurers want to come and fight.
While in Harvest Moon you will be looking after barns and making your way to general stores. In Dungeon Village it is potion shops and combat schools that you will need to build and work at.
It is a very interesting take and while yes there are Microtransactions. You can put in a lot of time with Dungeon Village and have a lot of fun all without spending a penny.
I think that the creation of Animal Crossing or Animal Forest as it is known in Japan is perhaps why Nintendo did not fight to keep Harvest Moon a Nintendo game.
Animal Crossing is very, very similar to what Harvest Moon offers. You go to a new place, you have to work, fit in with the townspeople, do various jobs, take part in social events. All the while making your house look as nice as possible. There is always something to do in Animal Crossing and I think that is why it is so popular, plus the fact it is super cute also help.
For me, the best game in the series is Animal Crossing New Leaf which is one of the best games on the 3DS. I think the GameCube, Wii and the DS versions are also fun, but the 3DS is the best of the bunch.
One thing I have to talk about in regards to Animal Crossing is my feelings on Tom Nook! I swear this guy is the ultimate villain, everyone in the world of Animal Crossing owes Tom Nook either money or a favor, he controls the world of Animal Crossing through debt! One day the inhabitants will rise against him and drive him out of town with pitchforks and torches.
Here we have one very, very strange game called Graveyard Keeper. You do many of the things you would expect in a game like this.
The idea of the game is that you are a graveyard keeper in medieval times. You work and tend to the graveyard, but you get roped into other things and need to fix various things around the town and deal with the townspeople as well.
You have some pretty heavy decisions that you need to make and it can be hilarious what happens as a result.
Graveyard Keeper has a lot to keep you very busy, but what I feel sets this apart from the rest is the sense of humor this game has.
It is not laughing on the floor funning, it is very dry and dark humor that is here and you will find yourself smiling all the time you play the game. Oh and while all this dark stuff with your graveyard and the haggard town is going on, you are also a romantic at heart and there is a love story element to the game! This is nuts, but wow is it a lot of fun.
Not Final Fantasy, but Farming Fantasy…. They knew what they were doing with the name! I think that in all honesty Farming Fantasy has more in common with Stardew Valley than it does Harvest Moon, but still, it has many of the elements that made Harvest Moon so much fun so I felt it is one of the better games on this list.
The idea of the game is that you need to look after your farm. You do this by taking care of animals, looking after your crops and going out looking for supplies.
The art style of the game is great and there are many different areas for you to explore. Ranging from a nice lake to a forest all the way to mountains and caves.
The world is far larger than you would think. Speaking of the world there are all kinds of town festivals and people in the town that you can socialize with. Of course, you will get along and like certain people better than others, but that is all part of the fun.
They are always updating and adding new content to the game so it is always going to have fresh stuff for you. I really think that Farming Fantasy: Orange Season is one of the better games in this style out there and it is well worth checking out.
The team behind Verdant Skies straight up tell you that they were inspired by Harvest Moon so that right there gets me interested. Verdant Skies is set on an alien world called, Viridis Primus and you are part of a colony.
You need to use technology to help you make the colony thrive and I really did enjoy how there was a sci-fi element to the game. It helps make it stand out from other games that are done in this “life simulation” style.
The presentation of Verdant Skies is fantastic. I think that the whole game looks like a watercolor painting come to life.
It really is a game that is very easy on the eyes. One thing that the people behind this game have done is an excellent job with the characters. Of course, you need to find a significant other, but it can be hard to know who is the right one for you as there are many interesting characters. If you love Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley then I highly recommend you try this out.
The first thing that you notice about Staxel is that they have gone for a pixel art/Minecraft kind of art style and I know for some people that is a bit of a turn off.
I say try and persevere as Staxel is a really fun and charming game. You are tasked with bringing your farm back to something that you can be proud of. Of course, to do this you need to raise animals, grow your crops and deal with the local townsfolk so you can buy and sell items that will help you out.
One of the things that I had a lot of fun with in Staxel was the hunting aspect. You can go into the wild and take part in some fishing or hunting for bugs. It is a very nice and relaxing thing to do, especially when you have had a hard day looking after your farm. I know that the art style may not be to everyone’s taste, but there is a lot of heart in Staxel and I am sure you will have fun with it.
I think that Wayward is a bit of a strange one to have on this list, but please hear me out. Wayward is not all nice with sunflowers and cute pigs for you to look after. Wayward sees you awaken with no idea where you are and you need to do all you can to survive.
This means you need to find food, build a place to stay and try and survive long enough so that you can eventually thrive…. Well, thrive the best you can.
This is a survival game with RPG and rouge like elements so it poses quite the challenge. It is not as laid back as the other games we have looked at today.
However, I feel that if you like the building, farming, and hunting elements that are in a game like Harvest Moon, you will enjoy them here in Wayward too, However, there is also the added element of you having to fight to survive!
Terraria (Wild Card)
My wildcard pick for today is Terraria. This game was a monster hit and even now it is popular enough that my toy store has a section dedicated to it.
You have plenty of building and crafting that you need to do in Terraria. Pretty much anything that you want you are going to have to work for which is where I think it is similar to Harvest Moon. However, I will say that this is the only way that I could compare it to Harvest Moon.
Terraria is a very action heavy game and you will always be striving forward to get the next bit of loot to help you survive. Terraria is a mix of all kinds of gameplay styles and that is why it has become such a crossover hit with all kinds of gamers.
So it may seem like a strange game to suggest to fans of Harvest Moon, but Terraria is a game I had a lot of fun with and in all honesty a game I need to go back to.
Thanks for checking out my list of Harvest Moon alternatives. Let me cut right to the chase and tell you that Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing: New Leaf and My Time in Portia are the games you want to get if you want a similar experience to what Harvest Moon offers.
All three of those games would make my own personal top 50 of all time. Just make sure you do not try and play more than one at a time or you will have no life.
While those three are the obvious choices I also think that Farming Fantasy and Graveyard Keeper were a lot of fun too. I love games like this, but they do tend to take over my life, but at the end of the day there is nothing wrong with that!