Video game reviews: Nature gamesWritten by Michael Siebenaler | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Spring has sprung and gardens are growing in media as well as Mother Earth. Check out these quality skill building games for natural fun!
Rune Factory: Frontier
This Wii exclusive “Harvest Moon Fantasy” game has free roaming fun and multitasking challenges. The strong graphics have a nice artistic style while the physical and aesthetic properties of natural elements like water enhance the game to a high level. As the game’s helpful hero, Raguna, you usually don’t get a chance to choose tasks within the storyline. Some arbitrary events where you collect items and bonuses may not be logical, but they bring some nice unpredictability. This game still has immense free roaming and multitasking activities including cooking, exploration, farming (especially tiling areas), fishing, gathering food, watering plants and even fighting. Other actions include town/homestead expansions, picking fruit, performing magic, trying out recipes and smashing rocks for mineral ore. More interaction in the house would be great for the next installment, though, as in past installments, the townspeople can still expand your home with forge, barn or kitchen for a price.
As you use your various tools including a pet brush, sickle, ax and watering can to produce, maintain and eventually sell items. You can purchase needed items like weapons, seeds and special tools, though some are limited to special times or triggered events. It’s fun to eat while you work in the fields growing a wide array of edibles. One big time waster, especially in this genre, is time spent wandering around. Thankfully the buildings are close together and navigation is quick. Initially the detailed graphics can be overwhelming, so you get the sense that you could get lost very quickly. Time stops when accessing menus or going inside buildings and you get three save slots to save progress. A great game with great execution and relational role-playing where you choose how you spend your days and nights (***1/2, rated E10+ for fantasy violence, mild language, suggestive themes and alcohol use).
A wonderfully humorous Wii Ware game where you cut, shape and style various vegetable character tops to their liking. The short format where you set certain appointments for each day keeps the game from going long and keeps it…fresh. The game incorporate several elements together flawlessly and include special gifts, awards, postcards or email alerts when you miss appointments. You can also send photographs to friends and catch special events for bonus items and some special powers. Create several styles using scissors, clippers, a comb, water spray bottle and paint for 12 customers, which have their own unique storyline. Characters give you helpful prompts and hints throughout each session. This game even includes a cooperative multiplayer mode so everyone can get into the game. A great value for the Wii Points with high production work, dynamic music, pleasant sound effects and smooth controls that rotate objects well put this title in the essential Wii game library (****, rated E for comic mischief).
This Nintendo DS exclusive game adapts the popular Cooking Mama series into a gardening game full of different games modes that includes several types of fruits, veggies and flowers. You can even prune and fertilize your green thumb creations and try to grow the most in multiplayer competitions with multi-card and single card play modes. Unlockable items like clothing and decorations create some good incentives, but the growing game aspects will be enough reward for most players (***, rated E for everyone).