The Harvest Moon game series, now called Story of Seasons, is one of the best-selling game series on the planet that requires players to farm, socialize, and manage property. The first game in the franchise was released back in 1996, and since that time, there have been a total of 26 games released as of April 2019.
With so many games released on multiple platforms, there’s a lot to choose from if you’re new to the series. Deciding which game to pick up and try can be difficult, which is why this list compiles the top ten games in the series, ranked from least to absolute best!
10 HARVEST MOON: THE TALE OF TWO TOWNS
Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns was released for the Nintendo DS in 2011 and was set several hundred years prior to the events of the rest of the series. In the game, the two towns of Bluebell and Konohana have become bitter rivals thanks to a cooking competition, and it’s up to the player to decide which is their hometown.
Both towns have different things to offer with Bluebell focusing primarily on farm animals while Konohana specializes in crops. Like other games in the series, players have to manage their farm, take jobs from the local towns, and form relationships with the NPCs. It’s is fun and addicting, but doesn’t add much to the franchise, which is why it falls at the bottom of this list.
9 HARVEST MOON: A NEW BEGINNING
Harvest Moon: A New Beginning was released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2012 as the final title to bear the name Harvest Moon before the franchise switched over to calling itself Story of Seasons. The story features an abandoned town called Echo Village the player must revive by farming and other methods familiar to games in the series.
Bringing in new residents to the town is key, but doing so will require a great deal of hard work. The Construction Workshop and Town Renovation Plan add the ability to create new and interesting places for potential residents to occupy making this game innovative and engrossing, to say the least. A New Beginning is engrossing and fun to play, but the game can take a while to get into thanks to the extensive tutorials and slow beginning.
8 STORY OF SEASONS
Story of Seasons was the first game to bear that title in 2015 after the franchise dropped the familiar Harvest Moon naming convention. The game is set within Oak Tree Town, a small village looking to find people to farm. The player, having become bored with his/her life in the big city, answers a flyer to take up the task!
Doing so causes the player to move to Oak Tree Town where four other farmers will help teach the player how to farm their new land in the village. The goal of the game is to unlock all seven vendors so that Oak Tree Town can become an international trading destination. Story of Seasons is a perfect inclusion in the series with the only real downside being that multiplayer is region locked.
7 HARVEST MOON: MORE FRIENDS OF MINERAL TOWN
Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town is the female version of Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town, which enables the player to play as only a female character who can marry any of eight bachelors in the game. The story establishes a young woman who lives in the big city but finds an ad in the paper describing a beautiful farm for sale.
Interested in taking on a more rural life, she answers the ad and buys the farm, but was tricked! The property is run-down and in need of maintenance the player will have to undertake to make this farm a wonderful place! Because this game is a female “repeat” of its predecessor, it doesn’t add much to the franchise - that being said, it’s incredibly fun to play!
6 HARVEST MOON: MAGICAL MELODY
Harvest Moon: Magical Melody was released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2005 and the Wii in 2008. The game features two primary objectives for the player to achieve: wed one of the lovely townspeople and awaken the Harvest Goddess who has turned herself to stone due to a case of melancholy thanks to the townspeople’s disregard for her majesty.
The game differs somewhat from the play structure of others in that the player needs to gather musical notes by accomplishing chores and hitting milestones. This will eventually enable the player to create a magical melody, which will revive the Harvest Goddess from her stony prison. The game offered something new and different to the franchise, which made it a fun and innovative inclusion in the series.
5 HARVEST MOON: ANIMAL PARADE
Harvest Moon: Animal Parade was released for the Wii back in 2009. The game features the same elements and characters as Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility. As the title suggests, there are numerous animals available to the player, all of which can be ridden by the player.
The story revolves around the island of Castanet where the Harvest Goddess’ pond is missing its divine tree. As a result, the island’s animals are departing, and it is up to the player to bring back the Harvest King to the island to help return the Goddess’ Tree and return the animal population to Castanet’s former glory. Thanks to the inclusion of circus animals, this game feels fresh and inviting. It’s a wonderful addition to the franchise!
4 HARVEST MOON 64
Harvest Moon 64 is the third game in the series and the first to be released on the Nintendo 64 in 1999. The game revolves around an abandoned farm the player must take over and restore. Over the course of the game, the player can take part in town festivals, marry an NPC, and restore their property.
Play starts with an empty chicken coop and barn, but it will take some serious work to get them back in shape before you can place animals in them! The game has since been ported to the Wii U Virtual Console making it playable on modern consoles. Despite a repetitive soundtrack and a few graphical glitches, the captivating gameplay keeps you locked in for hours on end in this amazing N64 classic.
3 HARVEST MOON: BACK TO NATURE
Harvest Moon: Back to Nature was the first game to be released on a non-Nintendo console having hit the market in 1999 on the original PlayStation. The characters from Harvest Moon 64 were ported from that title into this game, though they received updated lifestyles, family relationships, and personalities.
Two versions of the game were released so players could take on the responsibility of tending to their grandfather’s farm as either a man or a woman. In the base game, the player is a young boy who grows up to take over his grandfather’s farm, which he has three years to restore. While the graphics are a bit dated, this exciting addition to the franchise is often cited as “one of the best” games on the PlayStation.
2 HARVEST MOON: A WONDERFUL LIFE
Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life was released on the Nintendo GameCube in 2004, but was later ported to the PlayStation 2 and PS4. Play begins on the coastline of Forget-Me-Not-Valley where it falls to the player to take ownership of his father’s farm, and restore it to its former glory.
Much of the gameplay centers around the raising and tending of animals. Play begins with a dog and a cow, which produces milk for 40 days before needing to mate. Eventually, players are given ducks, goats, chickens, and other animals they must tend while simultaneously raising crops to raise money and increase their overall productivity. While the game’s soundtrack has been marked as “monotonous,” gameplay is highly addictive and enjoyable, which makes this an excellent title in the franchise.
1 HARVEST MOON: FRIENDS OF MINERAL TOWN
Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. As an early entry in the franchise, the game introduced many of the elements of gameplay that would become staples within the series. The game features play as a young boy who befriends an old farmer in Mineral Town.
When the player grows up, he finds that the old man has passed away and left his farm in a state of disrepair, but it has been left to him! The player then begins the task of restoring the farm to productivity while engaging with the other villagers, marrying one, and going on to father a son of his own. Friends of Mineral Town is often found at the tops of lists like this one thanks to its “deceptively engrossing” gameplay that brings players back time and time again!