Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Feb 18, 2014
    It isn't without its faults in presentation, control and the opening few hours, but does offer one of the most comprehensive experiences to date - great for newcomers and series veterans alike.
  2. Nov 14, 2013
    None of this is entirely new. [Issue#141, p.122]
  3. Oct 29, 2013
    This can be the alternative that some players seek to Animal Crossing.
  4. Oct 25, 2013
    Harvest Moon: a New Beginning doesn’t win any beauty contests and you’ll need some perseverance to get through the boring first bit. When you finally get through that you’ll be presented with a game that can keep you occupied for a long while. There’s constantly more things to do and you’ll always have the feeling that you making progress, which will keep you playing.
  5. Oct 22, 2013
    With Harvest Moon: A New Beginning Marvelous Entertainment hit the spot, potentially able to satisfy newcomers and fans of the historical series.
  6. Oct 18, 2013
    A New Beginning is a clear praise to the dawn of the series itself as well as a right return to the past with some enjoyable new additions. Longtime fans will find a more old school Harvest Moon while the newcomers will have the best portable episode, if they have the patience to go through the first tedious hours.
  7. Oct 17, 2013
    The new Harvest Moon installment brings a lot of fun and hours of entertainment with new ideas, new visuals and the same "farmer wannabe" gameplay.
  8. Oct 15, 2013
    This is one of those games you really need to try to find out how much fun you can have with it. No matter if you're a fan of the series or if you've never tried one, it's a game that has a lot to offer.
  9. Oct 7, 2013
    Another great game in the Harvest Moon series, but it’s a bit difficult for newcomers. Still, people who know the formula will pick it up easily and enjoy it instantly. The only aspect that may annoy you is the tutorial, which is way too long and too boring.
  10. 90
    Natsume's farming simulator has never been better and spending time in this lovely world is almost as relaxing as visiting the country side in real life.
  11. Oct 2, 2013
    Unfortunately this is more recycling than a new beginning. You have more options to influence the character and even the village, but the daily business is as bland as ever.
  12. Sep 24, 2013
    Eventually, you’ll have access to a ton of content and many hours of gameplay. A New Beginning is a good entry point for those new to the series, and certainly worth a look for fans – just be aware that the typically slow pace of the franchise is even slower here.
  13. The seeds of discontent yield one of the fullest Harvest Moon crops in recent years. Be sure to stick with it through the slow bits: you'll thank us for it.
  14. Sep 19, 2013
    Ironically the beginning is by far the worst part, but once you’ve got some headway this is the best Harvest Moon for several years and a fun alternative to Animal Crossing.
  15. May 20, 2013
    Harvest Moon: A New Beginning is a successful attempt to breathe new life into an ageing series.
  16. Dec 18, 2012
    Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning adheres to the qualities of its forebears, so this still isn't a game that would enjoy a mass audience. This'll be fine for series fans who will be more than pleased to see the game open up in other categories. The graphical overhaul and increased customization are plusses, as is the presence of an overall quest outside of farm maintenance. For fans, this is a perfect entry to pick up. For newcomers, this isn't a bad place to start, as you'll definitely feel like you've gotten your money's worth. If you can stand the first slow month, you'll be happy with what's in store.
  17. Nov 14, 2012
    With over sixty hours of content, five major renovation plans, and an addictive customization gimmick, Harvest Moon: A New Beginning shines like no other game in the franchise. While this is certainly a game made for existing fans of the franchise, there's room for newcomers to learn the ropes with the game's many tutorials. Harvest Moon: A New Beginning is a strong and memorable addition to the Harvest Moon family, and a game I know I'll be playing until the wee hours of the evening.
  18. Nov 12, 2012
    If you're willing to slog your way through the most tedious and drawn-out start to a game ever, you'll finally discover that Harvest Moon magic hidden underneath.
  19. Nov 11, 2012
    Harvest Moon 3D is a nice addition to the long-running franchise, and should please both existing fans and anyone else interested in virtual agriculture. Nov 2012, p.84]
  20. 80
    With just a bit of patience in getting through its tutorial month, players will find themselves settling into this Harvest Moon experience for a good, long time.
  21. Nov 2, 2012
    It starts off slow – too slow – but if you give it time and work with it, A New Beginning may become one of your favorite installments in this series so far.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 1 out of 11
  1. Nov 21, 2012
    Best handheld Harvest Moon since Friends of Mineral Town.

    This Harvest Moon is fantastic, they fixed almost every aspect that sucked in
    Tale of Two Towns. Freshness levels are gone, you can have multiple greenhouses, there's tons of livestock, an area that auto-waters after beating part of the game. Every feature has been streamlined and made less annoying, except for cutscenes. For example, no more clicking two buttons to put a item away, all items are automatically put into the rucksack. Tons of great characters, many of which are completely new. Framerate has been improved dramatically, and if you played Tale of Two Towns on 3DS, then you'll know the pain of bad Harvest Moon framerates.

    Pacing is good after the first month, many people will complain about the slow pacing, maybe they didn't make it past the first month. To a Harvest Moon veteran, one month will feel like nothing. This game becomes extremely fun as soon as you finish the tutorial.

    Crops can be watered twice a day, 10 hours between, this can be mildly annoying until you unlock the auto-water land area. They are about the same as Tale of Two Towns in mechanics, besides the removed freshness rating, crops will last forever in this game! You get your seedmaker pretty early compared to most Harvest Moon games, I got mine within the first year which makes fertilizing crops worth it. Crop festivals are held once a month one the 30th and have three levels of entry, beginning, intermediate and advance - making it possible to participate every single month if you please.

    Livestock are a little more simple than Tale of Two Towns, making them less annoying. Petting game has been removed. They have continued the treat system, you get eight different species of livestock and two types of chickens. Your barn and coop can both hold 10 livestock each.

    Pets have been made more useful early one, they will herd (at least) five animals from your barn or coop with zero hearts (you must assign work to them in game). Pets will continually unlock much like Tale of Two Towns, but now you can sell pets if you please, meaning you aren't stuck with certain styles of pets.

    You get three different areas as the game progresses, one implied to be a crop area (auto-water area), and one for animals (flat area) and one for your house and other buildings (first area you get). The auto water area allows you to have 11 4x2 crop spaces that will be watered by moving a boulder everyday. Beehives and mushroom logs are in this game, along with the "paddy" crop. Each building, field and other objects can be moved and customized to wherever you please.

    Your town has two plots of land, one of which is unlocked early in the game and three wilderness areas. You will decide where villager houses go, along with deciding what town decorations will be. Along with town building, you will also be able to unlock certain forest areas, gifts and blueprints with "Musical Stumps", which will be introduced to you early on during Spring of Year 1. Almost all villagers are completely new, except for Amir (I think he's in Grand Bazaar) and the Witch Princess. There are many benefits to befriending villagers and wild animals, including free blueprints, gifts and even a certain villager moving in if you befriend his wife, Hana.

    Love Interest:
    The bachelors and bachelorettes are equally wonderful and interesting in this game, you are allowed to save slots meaning you can make a boy and girl character if you wish. This game also allows cross dressing (although your character will not change sex), the first time appearing in the Harvest Moon US series along with customization. They've added a feature where you can "date" your love interest before proposing to them with a Blue Feather, which is nice because you can also break up with your love interest if you want.

    Each festival you win or participate in will give about 1000 friendship points with every villager, making festivals very much worth participating in. They are pretty easy to win (especially beginner class), meaning you'll enjoy participating in almost every festival (except the Gardening Festival).

    The repeated cutscenes. Which happen FOUR times a day if you have pets and Neil/Rod unlocked. There are two unskippable cutscenes that occur and the only way to avoid them is to hide inside a building or run off the map they occur on when they are suppose to happen. It's not a big deal but it does cause your schedule to adjust around it (unless you don't care about the cutscenes.

    You will most likely be able to beat the game before the end of Year 2, making the game not too dramatically long, but good for most Harvest Moon players. One year will zoom by pretty fast as soon as the tutorial ends for you because the gameplay is so much fun compared to most handheld Harvest Moons.
    Full Review »
  2. Jul 19, 2013
    As a long-time fan of the Harvest Moon Series (ever since I was gifted a copy of Harvest Moon N64 way back when, one of the (relatively) few copies shipped to the North American market) this game has been my favorite Harvest Moon since the N64 version and my favorite hand-held since Friends of Mineral Town.

    It has EVERYTHING I could ask for from a Harvest Moon game and then some. The start had me cringing, but if you stick with it past the first month the game goes absolutely bonkers in a snowball effect of things you can do. I absolutely LOVE the competition/festival system (you can win due to categories! IF you work very very hard). I also truly enjoy the fact that there are achievement awards for practically every major (and some quite wacky) action you take.

    Let me put it this way. The first two hours into the game I wanted to take a hammer to the cartridge and call the entire series quits. After the customization stuff actually came into play my mind was blown and this game has become one of my favorites on the DS and on any handheld system ever created. The game just gets better and better the more you play it. It is truly impressive. There is also an enormous sense of accomplishment every time you do anything significant.

    For anyone new to the Harvest Moon series, I'd say pick up this game and run with it. Don't surrender after the first couple of weeks because the pay-off is huge.

    For returning fans, this is the crystallization of 15 years worth of input and it finally gives a return as a true "New Beginning" for the series. Definitely pick up a copy for your collection, it is much much much better than Tale of Two towns.
    Full Review »
  3. Jan 11, 2013
    This is probably the best Harvest Moon I have played in a very long time. It brings back the memories I had of the original, which I missed in every subsequent release in the series. While the tutorials are a little in your face, cut scenes become a nuisance (I will seriously stand around waiting until ten minutes after 10am and 6pm on Neil's shop days before heading into the town area) and let's not really quibble over the waste of the touch screen, this installment is indeed a new beginning for the series. I had almost given up on reigniting the spark I felt for this series after Island of Happiness. The edit feature is a godsend for the series. The fact that I don't have to throw my crops into the collection bin, amazing. The art style is gorgeous and the 3D makes it pop. Honestly with most 3DS games, I end up playing with the feature turned off. Here, as with Ocarina, you really miss out on the quality of the graphics without it turned on. The depth of the gameplay, is terrific. You could spend your entire time just playing with the crops but there's so much more to do. As much as I want to punch that cowboy hobo mayor in the face every time he barges into my house, I really feel invested in his mission of revitalizing the town. There's more appeal for growing and expanding the town than I felt in Island of Happiness. Hunting down new blueprints, recipes, and music sheets is a terrific diversion. Sometimes though, the rewards from the Sprites for expanding the town are a bit underwhelming. The additional fact that they have to be unlocked in sequential order -- for instance I built the clinic before the cottage but I didn't get the clinic's music sheet unlocked until after I unlocked the sheet from the cottage -- is a tad annoying but not so much that it detracts from the game. Despite the slow start of the first month, you're constantly compelled to be doing something: foraging, fishing, flirting, building. This game is great. Full Review »