Since it arrived in 1993 on the Super Nintendo, Harvest Moon games have become the best farming sim franchise out there, winning the hearts of gamers with the relaxing experiences and “story of seasons” it offers.

No matter what console generation you are on, the titles from Marvelous Interactive (the developer that bought Victor Interactive Software, the original creators of the Harvest Moon franchise) always find a way to innovate and offer something entertaining for all tastes.

Things like feeding animals, dealing with people, remodeling your farm, getting married, having children, and basically developing a life are just some of the entertaining mechanics offered by this series, which has not been afraid to experiment on certain occasions, delivering true gaming gems. There are just too many releases to make a ranked from worst to best list so we are going to keep it short and simple.

Put on your boots and grab a sickle, because we are going to the farm, here are the

10 Best Harvest Moon Games

Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility (2007)

  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Platform: Wii

We start with the first Harvest Moon game exclusively for the Wii, the famous Nintendo console with interactive features that this title took advantage of very well.

Harvest Moon Tree of Tranquility for Nintendo Wii

The plot of Tree of Tranquility takes us to Waffle Island, where its inhabitants have lost contact with nature since the death of the Mother Tree. Also, the Goddess of the Harvest has disappeared without a trace, so the situation is untenable until a new farmer (you) arrives, ready to solve the chaos that reigns in the place, and save the homeland.

Your way to help will not only be to resurrect the Tree, but also to take care of a farm, get animals, interact with the neighbors, and even conquer the heart of a girl. 

As for the main theme, this game does not innovate so much in the series but instead exploits the Wiimote control, with which you will simulate any tool and do the tasks manually, just like a real farmer.

In addition, you enjoy a greater richness in terms of people’s reactions because of the changes that occur in the environment as you progress and leave traces of their actions. 

Beyond that, Tree of Tranquility is quite consistent with the classic formula, but it does it wonderfully, being a perfect adventure if you like social games.

Harvest Moon: Light of Hope (2017)

  • Developer: Tabot
  • Platforms: Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mobile

When you read that it’s available for phones, you surely got a bit anxious, as mobile games usually have a bad reputation for being full of micropayments and offering little quality compared to the main series.

Harvest Moon Light of Hope

Light of Hope is an excellent example that “pocket” versions of console games can shine uniquely.

The premise is that we will have to take charge of rebuilding a city after it has been devastated by a terrible storm. For this, we have to take care of building the houses and stores so that the residents, little by little, can return to their usual life.

Light of Hope bears a resemblance to Stardew Valley; the indie game that was a success in 2016 and that took the basic mechanics of farm-building games that cemented the Harvest Moon name at the beginning of the new century.

The basics of the game are the same as always, it’s always a pleasure to start each day with the hoe and watering can in hand, fishing, although very simple, is relaxing, and chopping in the mine is a good option for rainy days.

Although it has certain flaws in menu management and a somewhat weak visual aspect.

Light of Hope upholds the original Harvest Moon experience, standing out for its enormous accessibility to all types of gamers.

Harvest Moon 64 (1999)

  • Developer: Victor Interactive Software
  • Platform: Nintendo 64

It’s time for something retro. These older games from the “golden years of gaming” will always find a way to sneak into lists with games from more recent generations.

Harvest Moon 64

Harvest Moon 64 is probably the most remembered game of this era, since, like many games, it evolved with the 3D capabilities and the increased memory of the console, so many more things to do were added. 

The story is quite simple, at the beginning you are a jovial kid working on his family’s farms. Everything is going well until your grandfather, due to health issues, has to stop his work in the fields, allowing you to show what you are made of.

But there is a small detail; your grandfather has left you with only 200 dollars, which is very little to manage a farm… so you must use your ability to manage the money, use it wisely, and at the same time make a profit.

Harvest Moon 64 was the perfect jump from 2D sprite into a new experience that set the foundation for all future titles, gaining many longtime fans who still adore the series today.

Harvest Moon DS (2006)

  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Platform: Nintendo DS

Of course, the famous farming simulator series triumphed on the best-selling portable console in history. In Harvest Moon DS, the story begins with the village’s witch princess petrifying the goddess of the harvest and sending her to another dimension.

Harvest Moon DS

Aware of her mistake, she also sends all the goblins in her search, disappearing them from the village. One of your tasks will be to recover all of them, goblins and goddess so that the village can return to normality.

This RPG-worthy plot (come to think of it, every Harvest Moon game has had RPG elements) occurs as you must manage your farm through the seasons, interact with the villagers, and all the usual mechanics found in every Harvest Moon title.

For that reason, this title didn’t bring more innovations than the first game did, but that was more than enough to get gamers hooked.

With the adventure now divided into two screens and with touch controls, Harvest Moon DS is one of the games in the series that provides more new content and more freedom of choice to the player.

Harvest Moon: A New Beginning (2012)

  • Developer: Marvelous AQL
  • Platforms: Nintendo 3DS

It seems to be a tradition for this franchise to release an exclusive title for each console. A New Beginning starts true to its origins: we arrive in Echo, where we have to restore a farm we inherited from our father.

Harvest Moon A New Beginning for 3DS

The town is semi-abandoned, even upon your arrival you can see how some neighbors leave because there is nothing interesting to do, so besides dedicating yourself to growing vegetables and caring for animals, you will also have the honorable task of bringing to the town that glory of yesteryear.

The gameplay of this title is still the same as always, but with some extra elements that completely revolutionized it. The most outstanding one is the possibility of modifying the village in which we live as we wish.

You don’t like that fence being in that place because you think it hinders your crops? No problem: you can change it to another place. And not only a fence, but we can also do the same with almost any element of the map. 

Unlike previous games in which you had fixed objectives, in A New Beginning new horizons open up that increase the duration of the adventure when you thought you had everything done.

Thanks to these new mechanics, including the first customization system in a Harvest Moon title, A New Beginning is a game that will give you hours of fun.

Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness (2008)

  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Platform: Nintendo DS

After a first successful incursion in Nintendo’s portable console, Harvest Moon returned with Island of Happiness, a title that improved in all aspects.

Harvest Moon DS Island of Happiness

The plot puts us in the shoes of a character, a man or woman, who decides to set sail on an immigration ship in search of new lands. But a storm causes a shipwreck, and we will appear on an island where other survivors have also been able to reach.

Despite this tragic accident, everyone realizes that it is an ideal place to start a new civilization. Your role on this island will be to rebuild a ruined farm, collaborating to attract visitors from the outside world.

Technically it must be said that this game takes full advantage of the DS touchscreen. In fact, this entry in the series can be controlled entirely with the stylus, although it is more comfortable to use the side buttons for the use of tools.

As for the visual aspect, a new graphic engine has been created for this title, abandoning the one used in the GBA console (which we will talk about later), so we find more beautiful environments in accordance with the possibilities of the DS.

As its name suggests, Island of Happiness is a title that will give you hundreds of happy hours completing all the collections (fish, crops, minerals…) in a very soothing experience on a tropical island.

Harvest Moon: Magical Melody (2005) 

  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Platform: GameCube, Wii

This was the first Harvest Moon title developed entirely by Marvelous, they had a huge load on their shoulders, but they delivered with flying colors.

Harvest Moon Magical Melody for Gamecube

In Magical Melody, apart from the traditional Harvest Moon activities, we will be able to live special adventures, such as helping the Harvest Goblins to save the Harvest Goddess, who has been turned into stone.

To achieve this, we will have to get the hundred magical musical notes that have been lost in the world, and for this, we will have to face different missions in the form of objectives that will be achieved as we progress in the game.

This provides a fantastic incentive for objectives to get better crops, catch big fish, or get money and expand our house.

Starting from a very simple concept, the game gradually opens its range of possibilities to the player in his virtual experience in Flowerbud Village.

It should be noted that everything you do will influence the village because you are not on a farm isolated from the world, but surrounded by people. If everything goes well, the region will be prosperous and new neighbors will come to live and start commercial activities, expanding the catalog of objects available in the game.

As you can see, Magic Melody is about collecting all the items you can, as if it were a Pokemon game, but precisely this mechanic made it so famous, taking the Harvest Moon formula to new levels.

Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands (2009)

  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Platform: Nintendo DS

We enter the podium of this ranking with Sunshine Islands, a title that can be summarized as Islands of Happiness on steroids.

Harvest Moon DS Sunshine Islands

The beginning of the story is one of the most abrupt of the series, as your character (Mark if you’re a boy or Chelsea if you’re a girl) appears directly on a farm, where you must do your farm chores, and there is not much more explanation.

As the days go by in the game, the background of the archipelago where you are becomes clearer. It turns out that years ago, a fateful earthquake plunged several islands into the ocean. The harvesting elves have realized that the protagonist can get the solar stones, relics that can refloat the sunken islands permanently, so they ask for our help to find them.

Fun is served, since the search will involve fulfilling certain requirements that in turn will depend on having previously fulfilled others, interconnecting all the islands and their characters in a wonderful way. 

Throughout 30 days in the game, each of 15 minutes, you live an incredible experience, in which the devilish difficulty of the missions stands out.

You could even say that Sunshine Islands is the Dark Souls of Harvest Moon veterans. Well, maybe we are exaggerating, but the point is that it is very difficult, demonstrating that farming sims are very serious.

Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life (2003)

  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Platforms: GameCube, PlayStation 2

You are very wrong if you thought that the famous Sony console would not appear in this list of the best Harvest Moon games, because nostalgia is what wins in the Harvest Moon series, despite its excellent releases in recent years.

Harvest Moon A Wonderful Life

The game starts by announcing that you are in charge of a farm, with a dog, a cow and just enough tools to get started. Takakura, an old man who was best friends with your late father, shows you the prominent places such as the barn, the corral, or the warehouse where to store the products you get, encourages you to name your animals and your newly acquired property, and introduces you to some of the characters in the village, to whom you will have to tell what your name is.

The feeling of total freedom is incredible, and you are not obliged to do specific things, the success you have as a farmer depends on your involvement, although the first year you are forced to find a girl to get married to otherwise Game Over, so prepare your best compliments. 

With over 40 characters to interact with, activities such as animal care, farming, fishing, cooking, and even paleontology, A Wonderful Life makes you value time because you have to know how to divide it every day.

The calm and tranquility that transpires every bit of this game make you immerse yourself in a more mature story than usual, where the enemy to beat is your own ability to discover all the ins and outs of life at the reins of a farm.

Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town (2003)

  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Platforms: Game Boy Advance

We warned that nostalgia would win in this list… Despite being close to 20 years old, Friends of Mineral Town continues to be considered the best title of the Harvest Moon series for both experts and a large portion of its fans.

Harvest Moon Friends of Mineral Town for GBA

The story introduces us to Jack, a young boy, who during a trip with his parents gets lost, ending up at the farm of a kindly old man in Mineral Town.

After being found by his parents, Jack goes with them, but maintains communication with the old man, until one day he did not receive a letter from him… The old farmer has passed away, but there is no time for regrets because Jack inherited his farm, which he has to make as productive as possible.

The game has the basic elements such as social interaction with your neighbors and the daily routine, but for that time it was quite innovative, taking the Game Boy’s capabilities to new levels and making replay value almost infinite, as there will always be something to do in your chores.

With well-done graphics and a memorable soundtrack, Friends of Mineral Town takes first place in the catalog of Harvest Moon games. It may not be the most advanced, nor the most technically marvelous, but it is in its world and its characters that Friends of Mineral Town’s charm lies.

Harvest Moon can boast of being one of the most consistent series over the years, as most of its games are entertaining thanks to its simple but effective formula. Nothing like coming back from a hard day’s work to enter your virtual farm and… get back to work? What can we say, simply Harvest Moon, thank you Yasuhiro Wada for creating this incredible series.