Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility

Farming has never been this fun!
SeriousGamer - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

Fantasy Magic: Goddess and magic tree are central to the plot, possible spell casting in dialogue.

Mild Suggestive Content: Female character wears midriff-baring outfit.

Use of Alcohol and Tobacco: Player can drink "Cocktails," one character fills a pipe.

When you hear harvest moon, what comes to mind? The words might bring up images of the full moon. Or it might make you think of farms, or more specifically, the series of farming games. The Harvest Moon series is relatively old in video games having got its start in 1996. Apparently, people liked running their own farms because the series kept on going faster than a scared chicken.

Tree of Tranquility is the first original Harvest Moon game developed for the Nintendo Wii. Like many of the games before it, not much actually changed, except a slightly different venue, look, and a bit of a story. But it’s still in essence the same farming game fans have come to know and love.

Plot:

Tree of Tranquility begins very much like any other Harvest Moon game; with the main character (who can be either male or female) about to receive a farm. Your character has recently read about a farm on Waffle Island and now, you’re going by boat to take ownership. On the way, a storm breaks out and you end up blacking out. While sleeping, you see a woman with green hair asking for your help. Shortly after that, you arrive on the food-themed island ready to start your new life, build up your new farm, get married, and possibly save the island while you’re at it.

All in a day’s work right?

Gameplay:

Tree of Tranquility takes place entirely on Waffle Island. The focal point of your story is your farm. While not working, you can go and make friends with the locals, go fishing, or explore the mines. Your main goal for a while is to make your farm make money, which is tallied up at the end of the day (expect a lot of 0’s for a while). As time goes on and you make more money, you can expand your house and add buildings like the barn and chicken coop.

You can use either the Wii Remote or Classic Controller for this game. If you decide to use the remote, you’ll have to add motion just about all your in-game chores, like watering your crops, chopping wood, and swinging your hammer.

Offensive Content:

Spiritual Content:

There’s quite a lot to tell in this section, so hang on for the ride. This is also quite possibly where this island experience comes to an end for the discerning gamer.

The whole story of Tree of Tranquility revolves around a goddess known as the Harvest Goddess (an apparent staple in this series) and a magic tree known as the Mother Tree. According to the story, the tree died and the goddess left the island, and as a result, conditions on the island have deteriorated. This could easily be determined as nature worship. So, now you must restore the island by bringing the goddess and the tree back.

To do this, you have to locate beings called Harvest Sprites, little elf-like creatures who can create “magic rainbows.” You are required to gather ingredients for each rainbow and when a sprite makes a rainbow, they recite a little thing consisting of the name’s of the ingredients with the words “mix, mix, mix” in between them. Some might see this as spell casting.

There is also a church on the island, but for the most part, it’s never used. The only exceptions are in the cases of a wedding (yours or someone else’s) and funerals for your animals. Also when you or your wife are expecting (more on that later), you can go to the church to pray for whatever gender you want your future offspring to be.

Mild Sexual Content:

You can woo one of the local bachelors or bachelorettes depending on the gender of your character. If you choose to, you’ll of course kiss your newfound spouse at the wedding ceremony. You’ll also see your husband or wife in bed, but there’s not even a hint of sex in this game. You or your wife eventually becomes pregnant, but that’s it.

The worst part of this game is one of the local ladies is a dancer who walks around in a top that shows off her midriff and just about every other non-sensitive part of her from the waist up. Another local lady wears some pretty short shorts as well.

Alcohol and Tobacco Use:

The local inn also doubles as a bar at night. You can order one of several drinks referred to as “Cocktails.” You don’t appear to get drunk off of them, so it’s probably only related to the real alcoholic beverage in name only, but it’s still there.

You see one of the characters with a pipe. Though he appears to fill it at some points, we never see him smoke it. Still, most people can guess what he’s putting into the pipe.

Noteworthy Content:

Even for a game, hard work of sorts is encouraged. You have to take care of your fields or you can’t…reap the rewards. You can also only choose one girl to be your wife (or vice versa) and you stick with them as long as your virtual life lasts. (or however long you actually play this game). In a day and age like this one, that’s one thing worth mentioning.

Conclusion:

I’ve been a fan of Harvest Moon for a long time. Ever since I’d read about the series, I thought I would like it. So far I’ve been right. And that trend continues. While it’s not like my personal favorite, Friends of Mineral Town, Tree of Tranquility is pretty close in my book. But it’s further set apart from Friends in terms of content. While the Harvest Goddess is a pretty common and possibly excusable element in the series, Tree of Tranquility brought in a more questionable element with the Mother Tree. While it’s not explicitly stated, it’s easy to consider this as nature worship. So, it’s not as clean in terms of older Harvest Moon games. But if you have no problems with the previous titles in this series, I think you’d be able to enjoy this one. It’s just too bad they have to include more negative content when they make newer titles.




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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