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Let’s learn about Harvest Moon's cute animals ⊟

Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley introduces new “traits” for its farm animals, which affect their stats. Here are some examples released by Natsume:

Winter/Spring/Summer/Fall – This season is the animal’s favorite! Their affection level will go up faster in that season.

Elegant – These animals really, really hate being dirty! You’ll get a big affection bonus when you brush them. The higher an animal’s affection, the higher quality products they’ll produce, as well as a higher quantity of that product!

It’s possible to breed these traits into future generations, or create more beneficial traits through breeding:

Great Goods becomes High-Quality Goods: These animals have a strong and powerful body! Because of that, they will sometimes produce higher-quality products.

More Goods becomes Super Goods: These animals are gifted with fantastic health! Because of that, they will sometimes produce a higher quantity of products.

They all come with “really frickin’ cute” by default.

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Yumi’s Odd Odyssey now $20 ⊟

Not a sale, not a promo – Yumi’s Odd Odyssey, the localized version of Sayonara Umihara Kawase, has had a permanent price drop as of yesterday, to $19.99 on the eShop.

I never properly reviewed it, but I like it a lot, and $20 is an even more appealing price for it! And, uh, I should get back to that now that I’m sorta between games. I suspect a lot of people are between games just at the moment.

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Wow, the new Harvest Moon is so Minecraft-y ⊟

I know we heard that The Lost Valley, Natsume’s new internally developed Harvest Moon for 3DS, would have Minecraft elements, but this cribs a good part of Mojang’s formula. I’m alright with that since we don’t have that kind of game on a Nintendo platform yet.

And so far it doesn’t look like this revamp comes at the expense of staple features like sheep shearing, crop farming, and NPC romancing. Natsume continues to surprise!

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Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley's “3D” gameplay explained ⊟

Did you enjoy staring at a lil’ cow last night? Then you’ll like these other new Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley screens released by Natsume during E3.

In addition to this media, the game’s E3 brochure page explains the claims of novel “three-dimensional” gameplay:

This is the first game in the Harvest Moon series that can truly be called three-dimensional, as you can use your shovel to dig up and stack soil! That hill you see across the way that you can’t reach even if you jump? Try stacking some soil, climbing on top of the newly created “platform,” and jump again! This time you’ll be sure to reach it, and discover a new part of the land you couldn’t explore before!”

You can also use your shovel to dig downwards! Don’t like traveling all the way to the river to catch your fish? Just dig down into the soil to create your own fishing hole near your house!

Sounds like Natsume took the loss of Story of Seasons as an opportunity to build some Minecraft-esque elements into a Harvest Moon. This is a genius move.

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First screen of Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley ⊟
So Natsume decided to go in this direction with its new internally developed Harvest Moon, huh? Bold move, including such divisive elements as adorable cows.
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First screen of Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley ⊟

So Natsume decided to go in this direction with its new internally developed Harvest Moon, huh? Bold move, including such divisive elements as adorable cows.

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  • Source twitter.com

New Harvest Moon means new Harvest Moon plush ⊟

Natsume is flipping the script with a new internally developed Harvest Moon, but only partially changing things up with the expected cute plush animals. The script is half-flipped, propped delicately up on its side. Now, instead of pre-order bonuses, these adorable dog, chicken, and egg/chick toys will be sold for $25 each (via Tomopop).

If you’re at E3 this week, though, rush to Natsume’s booth, check out their lineup, and possibly walk out with the special E3 version of the plush dog, with a blue bandana! 

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Xseed and Natsume keep making E3 weirder ⊟

Seeing two new Harvest Moon 3DS games from different publishers — Story of Seasons from Xseed, and Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley from Natsume — at this year’s E3 is already odd, but the companies had more announcements today that will make the show even more interesting for handheld fans.

Who expected Natsume to announce A-Train: City Simulator for North American release? Yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like, a city and transportation simulator for the 3DS. It’s developed by Artdink, makers of Aquanaut’s Holiday and a number of titles that rarely make it to the West.

Also odd: Xseed announced its localizing another PSP RPG (Natsume is bringing its own PSP RPG to PSN, Kemco’s End of Serenity). It intends to release Brandish: The Dark Revenant, a remake of Falcom’s more-than-20-year-old action RPG, on PSN some time in 2014. The publisher will also put out Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit, that rhythm cooking game for PS Vita, as a digital release this winter.

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Natsume reveals… what? Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley for 3DS ⊟
Coming in 2014, both to retail and eShop. So Natsume is still publishing Harvest Moon games???? XSEED recently announced plans to pick up Harvest Moon: Connect to a New World as “Story of Seasons,” leading me to assume Natsume had lost rights to the series.
Well, good for you, Natsume! This is getting really interesting!
Update: From the press release:

In Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, players will experience the role-playing farm simulation in a three-dimensional setting for the first time. The game has a fully customizable world, and players can customize their field in any way they see fit: from a field full of tulips like you might see in Holland, to a valley filled with water like Venice, the choice is up to you. You’ve never played a Harvest Moon game quite like this!

Reports indicate this this will be an internally developed game.
BUY Nintendo 2DS & 3DS/XL, upcoming games

Natsume reveals… what? Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley for 3DS ⊟

Coming in 2014, both to retail and eShop. So Natsume is still publishing Harvest Moon games???? XSEED recently announced plans to pick up Harvest Moon: Connect to a New World as “Story of Seasons,” leading me to assume Natsume had lost rights to the series.

Well, good for you, Natsume! This is getting really interesting!

Update: From the press release:

In Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, players will experience the role-playing farm simulation in a three-dimensional setting for the first time. The game has a fully customizable world, and players can customize their field in any way they see fit: from a field full of tulips like you might see in Holland, to a valley filled with water like Venice, the choice is up to you. You’ve never played a Harvest Moon game quite like this!

Reports indicate this this will be an internally developed game.

BUY Nintendo 2DS & 3DS/XL, upcoming games

End of Serenity on PSN this summer, Grinsia on 3DS May 8  ⊟

Yeah, a new PSP game! Natsume, following the success of Mystic Chronicles, picked up another Kemco RPG for release on PSN this summer.

Throughout history, mysterious objects known as “Atomigems” have existed all over the world. The people of the world have used them for many things, from simple family heirlooms to even objects of worship. However, recently, a gang known as the Underworld has been going around collecting any and all Atomigems they can find. What exactly is their aim?

Meanwhile on 3DS, Nicalis will publish an updated version of Grinsia on 3DS May 8. When did Kemco’s mobile RPGs become such a hot property?

Bust a Move 4 coming to PSN ⊟

Yeahhhh, gonna be able to download Bust a Move 4 on my Vita sometime this spring! And my PS3 and PSP should I decide to. Natsume is publishing the game as a PSOne Classic in North America.

This version of the Puzzle Bobble/Bust a Move series adds pulley levels, in which two sets of bubbles are attached to one another via ropes and pulleys, so you have to keep them balanced while breaking them.

This was a great game… on the Game Boy Color, where I played it, so I can only imagine the PS version is better. It’s got to be better as a handheld Puzzle Bobble than Bust a Move Universe.

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Yumi’s Odd Odyssey is worth the wait, not the binge ⊟
I bought Yumi’s Odd Odyssey intending to review it here. But I’m not going to do that, because I want to write about it soon, while the game’s still new, and because if you had to wait until I finished it for a review, we’d all be waiting until the end of time.
I’ve done a few not-reviews here, and I hope you all don’t mind. You get my thoughts on the game at some reasonable stage of my experience with it, and I get to play a game at my own pace without the extreme stress of trying to marathon it in my very spare spare time.
Anyway, the reason I’m talking about not-reviewing in this not-review is that, for me, Yumi’s Odd Odyssey is a great game when played a bit at a time. When I tried to just get through it, I found myself not only squandering this rare game, but angry and frustrated. So yeah, not doing that.

Yumi’s Odd Odyssey feels mostly identical to its predecessors: the whole thing hinges on the really, really springy fishing line you can deploy, swinging from platform to platform, grabbing onto conveyer belts, and vaulting yourself upward. Even the controls are decidedly old school – you have to opt in to using the analog pad in a menu. Sometimes those controls are a bit finicky, especially when trying to throw your line diagonally or jump and throw, but they’re not unfair. I always feel like I have the ability to do the move I need to do.
Where it diverges from the original: there are new characters, who are, again, hidden behind a menu. I switched over to one who has the power to activate mid-level checkpoints and OH MY GOD THANK YOU. The bosses are also cleverly remixed: they’re the same bosses as before, but dispatched in different ways. I’d say more about it, but it was right around the first boss fight where I decided that I shouldn’t be cranking on this game too quickly.
Image: @hazelnoise via CeeCee
Two nights ago, I faced down this first boss, the series’ signature disgusting giant tadpole guy, 39 times. I know because the game keeps a running count of your successful and failed runs at each stage. The first couple dozen times, I didn’t know how I was supposed to defeat it. Then I knew and couldn’t execute it. Then I got really, extra angry. I got the kind of anger reserved only for me: for a person with a short fuse who has very little free time to play games, and a need to complete games quickly for review.

Yumi’s Odd Odyssey is difficult. It demands mastery of the line mechanics that sometimes the things you have to do feel like tricks speedrunners come up with or something. That first boss fight required me to jump straight up as my line was extending, in order to hook the ceiling – then retract the line and swing left to right, disengaging and reengaging my hook in order to scoot to the right little by little.
I want the time to replay levels, to spend a bit of each day trying to get to a secret exit or a hidden backpack item. I’m not saying it’s impossible to blow through it – I’m sure if you have nothing going on or just plain better dexterity than me, that you can do that. But for me, taking it slow is the difference between a deeply intriguing puzzle platformer and a 3DS snapped in half and thrown in the garbage.
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Yumi’s Odd Odyssey is worth the wait, not the binge ⊟

I bought Yumi’s Odd Odyssey intending to review it here. But I’m not going to do that, because I want to write about it soon, while the game’s still new, and because if you had to wait until I finished it for a review, we’d all be waiting until the end of time.

I’ve done a few not-reviews here, and I hope you all don’t mind. You get my thoughts on the game at some reasonable stage of my experience with it, and I get to play a game at my own pace without the extreme stress of trying to marathon it in my very spare spare time.

Anyway, the reason I’m talking about not-reviewing in this not-review is that, for me, Yumi’s Odd Odyssey is a great game when played a bit at a time. When I tried to just get through it, I found myself not only squandering this rare game, but angry and frustrated. So yeah, not doing that.

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Yumi’s Odd Bosses ⊟

Hey guys, this is still happening!!!! There’s still not a firm release date (“later this month,” Natsume says), but Natsume continues to release updates about Yumi’s Odd Odyssey so I will continue to believe!

The latest screens show off bosses, who are, like all the enemies, giant weird aquatic creatures. I know! The first boss is a big tadpole thing (a returning character!) who jumps around the screen and releases little mini-tadpoles. A later boss is a big ol’ crab.

Thank you, Natsume, for reassuring me once again.

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