This is one of those titles that sticks to a philosophy of not fixing what ain't broken, because for some reason people will keep buying them. The Tale Of Two Towns is the nineteenth Harvest Moon game since the series launched way back in 1996 and this time, while much remains the same, there's at least one big decision you'll have to make that shakes things up substantially.
This 3DS game begins with your little farmer chap turning up at a new island (you get to name it) and encountering the leaders of two different towns, Konohana and Bluebell. These have had a bit of a falling out and the reason will chill you to the bone. They disagree on farming techniques.
Your first big decision is whether to move to Konohana or Bluebell, the outcome determining what you'll spend the first half of the game doing.
More Farm Than Good
Bluebell is a western-type farm with thatched cottages and the like. They focus on livestock and you'll be expected to take care of the animals.
Happier animals make better produce, which means you earn more ba-ba-bling at market that can then used to buy new animals and equipment. It's pretty much that circle of life thing Elton John used to bleat on about, only without lions.
Choose to set up in Konohana, though and you won't find an animal anywhere. Instead, this Asian-style arable farm has fields as far as the eye can see, and it'll be up to you to take care of them, being sure to plant seeds, water the plants and harvest them at the right time.
The general aim is to take part in various festivals and use your skills to win the competitions there, while ultimately bringing both towns together and getting them to kiss and make up, at which point you'll be able to work on both animals and fields at the same time.
Locking away half the gameplay until much later on is a very bold move for a Harvest Moon game, but from what we've played so far, the story really helps to keep things interesting. We'll find out soon if it works out in the long run.