A short review of the PlayStation 2 game: Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon.
“Harvest Moon” is something of a casual game title; it doesn’t feature sweeping battles or monstrously complex plot-lines. It’s a strategy game about farming. To those familiar with it, “Innocent Life” might seem like an interesting deviation, and in some ways it is, but it has its fair share of problems.
The Good: Previous versions of “Harvest Moon” required that you dedicate a truly annoying amount of time clearing out your fields before you could use them, wasting a lot of valuable farming time and often resulting in fainting-spells and trips to the doctor. In “Innocent Life” the vast majority of your fields are sealed (an can only be released by placing certain crystals upon altars) so you really only have to worry about clearing out your small starting field until more are unlocked.
Your backpack is greatly expanded, meaning you can carry many more items at a single time, and the produce drop-box has been automated so that you no longer have to place crops in one at a time.
Livestock forages for their own food, which saves you both time (since you no longer have to feed them personally) and money (no more buying fodder).
There’s an exploration element in this game that was absent in many of the previous ones. The more work you do around the island, the more you can uncover. Discovering new caves, lands with generous bounties of natural resources, and treasure chests full of new equipment is an integral part of game-play.
Pretty early on in the game, you get a robot! He can’t harvest for you, but he can clear trash from your fields, water your crops, and pick up things like lumber and minerals as you’re clearing your fields.
You can walk over your crops. This might not seem like a big deal, but a lot of us were always a bit mad at previous “Harvest Moon” games because you could never water or harvest that middle square in a 9×9 plot of crops. Another bonus is that you can plant your seeds individually, so you’re no longer stuck farming in 9×9 squares.
You can now buy a tent from the store, meaning that you can go exploring for extended periods of time.
The Bad: We can’t tell how the sheep are being sheered, or if we’re making any money off of it. This is a bit disconcerting, because those sheep cost us quite a bit of gold. On the bright side, even if we aren’t making any money off the wool sales, we aren’t losing any money in fodder fees.