E3 2006: Natsume News
05.13.06 - 11:27 PM

While Natsume did not have many confirmed RPG titles to share this year, the ones they did show should keep fans happy.

First off, Chulip should be shipping this October. Delays were chalked up to some unique translation difficulties; in-game there are graphical signs, originally in Japanese, that players needed to be able to read to progress through the game. However, with Natsume bringing the company Platinum Egg to fix the graphics for English-speakers, everyone should be ready to make out this fall with the kissing game.

Before then, there's more farming to be had this August with Harvest Moon DS. Like the recently released Magical Melody, the latest iteration of the series mixes old and new. It takes place in Forget-Me-Not Village, with a cast mainly comprised of the characters from the Wonderful Life games. As in Magical Melody, the Harvest Goddess is in trouble, this time because of a spell cast on her by the Witch Princess. By finding the 101 missing harvest sprites the player can free the goddess from her curse.

In the mean time, there's plenty of classic farming action with some new twists. Animal care uses the touch screen in a similar fashion to Nintendogs; that is, you can brush, wash, and milk your cows with the stylus. Also, jewelry isn't just something pretty to give to potential wives this time. There are special accessories to wear that allow you to work inside your house on your fields outside. As always, time doesn't pass indoors, so this can be very useful.

Like Magical Melody, you can move buildings around on your farm, and there are different grades of soil which affect crop quality. Some new building types are the cannery and the harvest sprite casino. The later is important because you need to play the games to win money to pay the harvest sprites you've freed to do work for you. There are no power berries in this game; your stamina is set, so the sprites will be needed if you're going to do some serious farming.

In between all this work, there are 9 different girls in town to court, including the Harvest Goddess, the Witch Princess, a mermaid, and another princess who can be found in one of the game's 3 mines. If that isn't enough, the girls of Mineral Town can be imported if you have the GBA games. Natsume assures us that both Friends of Mineral Town and More Friends of Mineral Town can be used for this purpose.

For those of you who are wondering, there is indeed a girl version of Harvest Moon DS. Natsume has not acquired the rights to this game yet, but it is very likely they will; both Another Wonderful Life and More Friends of Mineral Town did well for the company in the US. They are also looking into acquiring rights to bring over Innocent Life, a PSP Harvest title, and Rune Factory, a DS title which combines Harvest Moon with a dungeon crawler. Stay tuned for further developments.


Christine Radler