A lot of those tweets have been pretty negative, and for good reason. This 3DS game--which was made internally at Natsume rather than by the folks at Marvelous Entertainment--does nearly everything it can to break the heart and soul of the person playing it.
First, there's the blink-and-you'll-miss-it passage of time. As in, each in-game day lasts about five minutes in the real world--which may not sound all that bad, but it surely is when you have to try to fit tending to your crops, milking and feeding your cow, chatting with semi-random visitors and many other, similar sorts of tasks into such a severely compressed period of time.
|This is what summer looked like in my version of |
The Lost Valley--for two whole days.
That's especially true when it comes to the portions of the game that revolve around watering flowers and other plants as well as the Minecraft-y ones that involve re-sculpting the landscape (by digging into the earth or excavating stone) in various ways. Crops are fertilized, watered and harvested one plant at a time, for instance, and digging and excavating stick to a similar formula.
Another way in which The Lost Valley attempts to deter even the most Pollyanna-ish players is tied to all of the annoying "fetch quests" that are forced on those who would like to push along the story that sits at the center of the experience.
|Here's a much more typical view of my particular |
portion of this 3DS game's world.
And believe me, you'll want to push along the story as quickly as you're able, as doing so allows you to eradicate from the game one of its biggest and most obnoxious issues, which is its seemingly never-ending winter.
For those of you who've yet to read or hear much about The Lost Valley, you may be surprised to learn that it drops you (or, rather, your avatar) into a desolate, snow-covered landscape. Unbelievably, that's about all you'll see for the first 20 hours or so, assuming your playthrough is anything like mine has been so far. That's because, as per the game's story, your main task during your first year in The Lost Valley is to help bring the seasons back to this harsh and deserted environment. Although it's possible you'll be able to do what it takes to see a couple days of spring, summer or fall before they cruelly snap back to winter, the most likely scenario is that your initial 120 days with this title (each season lasts 30 in-game days) will be spent staring at a blanket of white.
|Presented without comment.|
As I said while recording the latest episode of The Nichiest Podcast Ever, a part of me actually respects and even appreciates that The Lost Valley's developers were so brazen as to plop players into such an uninviting world. Another part, though, absolutely hates them for it, as what seemed like an acceptable-enough situation for my first few hours with the game has since become almost unbearable.
Note I just said "almost" unbearable rather than, say, completely unbearable. That's because despite all of my complaints so far, I've still devoted more than 20 hours to The Lost Valley since I first crammed its cart into my 3DS a couple of weeks ago. Clearly, something keeps drawing me back, even if that "thing" is nothing more than a stubborn desire to prove--to myself, to shidoshi, to designers who surely snickered as they pieced together this masochistic experience--I can make it through the game's abominable opening salvo.
|Believe me, I enjoyed summer as much as I could while it lasted.|
I'm nearly through my first year in The Lost Valley, by the way, so it's possible the game will take a turn for the better shortly. Being an avowed cynic, I'm not going to place any money on that coming to fruition, but who knows? Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised for once.
Even if I'm not, I'm planning to plow ahead (pun intended), at least for the time being. I won't be shocked if my interest in the game wanes sometime the next week or two, though, as I just can't imagine it's going to change enough once I rid the world of its oppressive frigidity to the bowels of hell--or somewhere similarly suitable--to keep my attention.
I'll let you know one way or the other in my next "Shall We Do It?" post, of course. In the meantime, have any of you played Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley? If so, what are your thoughts on its particular pros and cons?