07/11/2019

๐ŸŒพ๐Ÿ… Harvest Moon: Mad Dash | REVIEW | "Don’t Dilly-Dally" ๐ŸŒพ๐Ÿ… HarvestMoonMadDash

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Most of us are familiar with and have probably played at least one in this very cutesy role-playing, farm simulation game series.
If you haven’t, you should go and do so now (You know I’m right)!
The series first hit our good, old-fashioned CRT monitors in Japan back in 1996 with the first game in the series, Harvest Moon, on the Super Nintendo (Yes, I was around then, I was a decade old!). Since then the franchise has evolved greatly and has been seen across many platforms - mostly Nintendo - but also PlayStation and IOS.

Harvest Moon: Mad Dash is very different from any of the other Harvest Moon games in the series. Whilst in other games, you play as a cute young man maintaining a farm on behalf of his grandparents; the gameplay is a lot more slow-paced. You basically settle in, make yourself at home, put your feet up and get your fluffy slippers on, whilst also remembering to look after livestock, grow veg, talk to the occasional cow and generally live and survive through all four seasons on a farm. 
Harvest Moon: Mad Dash does all of that but, as it says in the title, the game is more frantic than the other games in the series. Your task is basically to restore an old lighthouse (awwww) and in the process of doing so, you have to race against the clock to ensure your crops survive, feed the livestock to gain produce, battle against lava and roaming boars with a small bit of fishing thrown in. 

As well as all this, you also have to answer to the demands of K-9 Challengers who request certain produce and amenities while you are avoiding the lava or getting frozen by the snow falling as you look after your land. 
The game consists of four stages, Farmland, Beach,  The Underworld and finally, Sky World where everything will freeze with ice if you’re not too careful.
It can get surprisingly challenging, especially as the age rating of the game is 3+, it does actually get quite full-on. I’m not sure how a 3-year-old would cope, but oh boy do you work up a bit of sweat! It gets tense guys, quite tense! 
So, when we start up this little beauty of a game, you’ll first see the title screen which has quite a happy holiday feel about it, you almost want to be on the island with them. 
Then bam! Instantly you’re drawn to the game through the music, which is quite jazzy, addictive and has an upbeat and happy vibe about it (you’ll almost want a cocktail in your hand while playing this little gem if you’re over 18 that is). 
Okay, so you’re shown around the colourful island that you are about to start your mission on, which is now all overgrown and sadly un-kempt (‘jungle-like’ as it states in the cut scene). You’ve just found out the lighthouse is in great disrepair and in need of a lot of attention so it’s your duty to fix this.

There is an over-world map which unlocks and unfolds as you pass the levels. More and more houses, farmland and people appear when each stage is unlocked so this feels really Harvest Moon-like. You can see the village and the community forming around you, which spurs you on to complete and unlock more of the game. 
During the first level, which is pretty basic to start out, you have to match up four tomato seed tiles in order to begin to harvest them, so it will turn into a tomato. It’s basically kind of a match-3 game, but way more fun and addictive.  
If you’re not quick enough though, your hard work will go amiss and the crops will wither away, or get trampled on by a boar or even burnt to a crisp by the lava, yep that’s right!  
You have exactly 1 minute to complete the level and as soon as you reach 30 seconds, the music becomes way more intense and speeds up. You have to gain all three stars on the level to help you to raise the bar on your Harvest Sprite (which unlocks abilities that assist you such as extra time etc.) 
Upon the clear screen, you are greeted with an array of confetti in celebration of the completion of the level and a rainbow of 7 of Nintendo’s Pikmin-style characters inhabit the screen. 
As the levels go on, they do become increasingly more challenging. You are challenged with harvesting a variety of different veg and other activities like fishing, where you have to put four tiles of fish or pond together to get the fish to thrive and gain more points. You’ll also be feeding cows bales of hay to gain milk produce and also feeding sheep to gain their woollen coat. The game plays like Harvest Moon, you’re essentially taking part in the same sort of activities as it were in the original series, but during this spin-off, it has a far more, stripped-back, arcade feel.
During co-op mode (because yes, that a thing in this game) you can work together with 1- 4 players (in a drop-in, drop-out style) so there can be multiple players present who are working against the same clock to achieve the target,  although during this mode I felt it even more intense as you could be planning to harvest certain crops on your side of the screen and building them up merrily to gain more points and then someone could take that away from you as they build up their own crops (hence ‘Shouty Faye’). 
Meanwhile, if you do manage to match up more than four tiles of the same crop, you gain more points and, if you raise your power bar enough, you can get to the Power round which gives you the opportunity to gain even more (the music during the power round is quite funky and starry). 
Later on in the game, it states that you can join up tiles that are Tetris-style shapes that you can rotate with the shoulder buttons to fit in more crops. As if you haven’t got enough to worry about, this is thrown into the mix as well… Oh dear. 

Summary:
Overall this truly is a little gem of a game, If you like those sorts of match-up games like Candy Crush Saga on IOS then you’ll love this, for sure.
I love the Harvest Moon franchise and I love how this is very different from the other games in the series. 
The music is very catchy even though throughout each section it does repeat, it doesn’t get tiresome. 
The graphics are lovely, colourful and cutesy. True to the genre, you basically have everything from the Harvest Moon games squeezed in and sped up into a faced paced puzzle game. 

It definitely ticks my box, it’s the kind of game that does make you feel like you are eating a warm slice of chocolate fudge brownie in a hot tub, but the tub is slowly draining, so you have to eat up quickly!
Follow Faye on Twitter @kingdomofcarts


❄️ RATING: ICE COOL ❄️

Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

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