When Natsume released Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories on mobile last year, it hinted at a hopeful new direction for the series. Despite being a simpler, less lively entry in the long-running farming sim, it was still a full Harvest Moon game—with daily chores, spelunking for ore, and various marriage candidates—indicating that we could have more than match-3 spin-offs on our phones. The newly announced Harvest Moon: Lil’ Farmers is not a follow-up to Seeds of Memories nor even a spin-off for dedicated fans. It, too, is a new direction for the series, and an interesting one: the farming life, packaged for young children.
While Harvest Moon has always been family-friendly (especially in North America, where most instances of alcohol in the series were changed to “juice”), the games still draw an adult crowd. The time and money management, dating and marriage, and at times grueling daily routines don’t really scream “kids’ game!” Harvest Moon: Lil’ Farmers is the first title that is designed specifically for a much younger crowd, operating more as a playset than a linear game.
It features many of the activities players perform in the main series, such as milking cows, shearing sheep, and watering crops, but scaled down to single instances of each activity. Although the game will almost certainly be too simple for the average Harvest Moon adult fan to enjoy, its first-person viewpoint of milking cows and playing with chickens is reminiscent of the touchscreen-intensive Harvest Moon DS, which tasked you with “petting” your animals directly. The graphics match the adorable, chibi style of Natsume’s first solo Harvest Moon entry (after their split from Marvelous), The Lost Valley, with wide-eyed characters and extremely cuddly animals.
The intended age group for Harvest Moon: Lil’ Farmers is preschool, with the game designed to be playable with or without parents’ help. There will be no text to read, only scenes and icons to interact with. Natsume has partnered with Daredevil Development, the creators of kids’ apps like Bob the Builder’s Playtime Fun! and Postman Pat to help perfect this younger version of their now 20-year-old series.
Harvest Moon: Lil’ Farmers will launch on iOS and Android worldwide on May 25th for $3.99, with no ads or in-app purchases.