Setup & Timing
Puzzle De Harvest Moon's menu system is easily navigable for people new to the game. "Multiplayer" is right on the main menu. Download time is average.
Menus & Navigation
The menu system is a series of giant, well-labeled bars to tap. There's little buffer space, but none are needed.
Ease Of Use / Play Control
Puzzle De Harvest Moon is mostly controlled by a drag-and-drop mechanic: players drag items (and animals) from the Action Bar onto the field. Players also have the option to double-tap an item on the Action Bar to remove it (at the cost of twenty points). The double-tap sensing in the game's programming is too sensitive and will occasionally take double-taps off of a single tap. This can be a pretty annoying hindrance, removing items that can't be recalled later. There's also a rubbing mechanic (rubbing the stylus back and forth over a spot on the field) to manually harvest crops, which only senses when the stylus stops on an item or changes direction on the item, but not when the stylus passes over an item.
The game's graphics are excellent and fit right in with the Harvest Moon game series. Audibly, the game sounds fine and (again) fits in well with the Harvest Moon franchise. The music is fine and the sound effects (especially) are almost essential, considering their usefulness in alerting you to what's going on. Unfortunately, however, there's a distinct lack of "things to do" in Puzzle De Harvest Moon. Different characters don't have different abilities. There are no alternate rules to select from. There are no random events during the gameplay. There's no variety in what crops are planted (every crop is thrown in with the same randomness with no way to lean toward one crop or another. There are no missions. There is no way to lean toward receiving specific items. Everything is random and must only be reacted to.
The first thing I'd lie to say is that Puzzle De Harvest Moon is technically sound without programming flaws. The second thing I'd like to say is that Puzzle De Harvest Moon's Single-Card Download Play features virtually all of what's available in the single-player experience (the single-player experience is based on the same principle, with the computer providing three opponents in what is still a four player game; only Survival Mode is not present in Single-Card Download play), which is both considerate and impressive. Both of those facts are good things. Unfortunately, not everything is good and happy with Puzzle De Harvest Moon.
The entire game has the feel of a mini-game, not a full, in-depth game that someone would pay retail price for. Despite the game's mini-game feel, the rules and frantic action have the same complex feel as many full games, yet there's no tutorial or instruction screens available to downloading guests. There's a lot of repetition; a lot of repetition; a lot of repetition. The game features strategic thinking and reaction (what to plant where, how and where to deploy animals, etc.), yet your strategic gameplay must rely only on randomly provided items and animals and strategy can't be built up over time in any way (you must theoretically re-create your strategy with each play).
Here's the simple breakdown:
1. The game is difficult and intimidating to get into without instructions.
2. After several playthroughs (and either reading instructions online or haveing them explained verbally, there is too much repetition and too much randomness.
The best and most fun games balance on the Randomness Vs. Skill scale, and Puzzle De Harvest Moon doesn't balance at all. It's fun, but will only be fun to a certain, specific crowd.
Provice a tutorial and/or instruction screens for downloading guests.
Repair the double-tap sensing system's programming (see above).
Alter the manual harvest stylus sensing to register when a stylus passes over a crop.
Differentiate the characters with different abilities.
Offer seperate rule sets which can be turned on and off to affect gameplay.
Include random events within the gameplay that must be reacted to.
Allow players to select which crops they plant pre-game (except in Quota Mode).
Create a one-on-one, (Single-Card Download,) untimed mission mode there certain tasks must be completed first in order to win.
Overall Single-Card Download Rating: 69 / 100 (a.k.a. 34.5/50)
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