Ah, Harvest Moon — also known as Story of Seasons depending on when and where you ask. It’s the quintessential farming simulator, one that’s remained a top-tier Nintendo staple since the SNES. At its best, all the worries of life melt away as you cultivate crops, grow friendships, and steadily turn the chaos of farm life into order one day’s worth of energy at a time. And at its worst… it’s still pretty good. Here, we’ve curated a list of the Harvest Moon games ranked from best to worst.

As a part of Nintendo’s core catalog, new Harvest Moon experiences roll out regularly. New consoles mean new games in the series. Even Sony can’t resist its charm — with the Playstation, Playstation 2, and PSP all receiving their own slices of Harvest Moon goodness. With all this moon to harvest, what’s a gamer to do? Where should you start?

If you’re a newcomer, we want to help you find the best entry point to start your new life on the farm. If you’re a longtime veteran, allow us to share which ones we found the most engaging — and perhaps most worth a replay.

Harvest Moon Games Ranked from Worst to Best

Before we begin, let’s address the elephant in the room: this will be the only place in the list you see Rune Factory or Stardew Valley mentioned. This is a list of all Harvest Moon games ranked — not a list of farming/slice-of-life simulators. While those are great games and certainly worthy of honorable mentions, they’ll be left for other reviews to cover. 

10. Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life

Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life
  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Platforms: GameCube, PS2
  • Release Date: September 12, 2003

One of the handfuls of Harvest Moon games launched on a Sony console, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, sought to fulfill that “wonderful life” promise. It’s one of the only games in the series where the child you have with your sweetheart can grow up to become an adult, taking the endgame beyond what was possible in previous titles. 

A Wonderful Life

Hybrid crops keep the farming loop interesting by encouraging experimentation, and farm fields of varying fertility force the player to make some unique decisions about what to plant and when. 

9. Harvest Moon: Light of Hope

Harvest Moon: Light of Hope
  • Developer: Tabot
  • Platforms: PC, Switch, PS4, Mobile
  • Release Date: November 14, 2017

While Harvest Moon: Light of Hope may look like a cheap mobile knockoff, don’t be fooled. What it lacks in aesthetic character it makes up for with solid gameplay and exciting events.

Participate in the Dog Racing Festival to showcase what your favorite pet can do. Grow crops, gather materials, fish, and mine to your heart’s content — all your favorite mechanics are featured here, offering plenty of ways to unlock that sweet, sweet flow. And with a PC version and two-player mode, you can now play Harvest Moon anytime and anywhere, with any friend you like. 

8. Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns

Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns
  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Platforms: 3DS
  • Release Date: June 23, 2016

Like The Tale of Two Towns that came before, Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns puts players on a farm amid three unique and visually distinct towns. If two towns are good, three have to be great, right? 

And that’s pretty much the case here. The art direction is crisp and robust, giving Trio of Towns a visual flavor that’s only rivaled by a handful of other games in the series. You can bring your pets with you around town as well, and part-time jobs give you plenty to do once you’ve tended to your crops and livestock for the day.

7. Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning

Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning
  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Platforms: 3DS
  • Release Date: February 23, 2012

While the 3DS had a previous Harvest Moon title in the form of a port of The Tale of Two TownsHarvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning was the first full-fledged entry built from the ground up for 3DS. And the 3D mode pays dividends for those seeking full immersion in their idyllic farming life.

A New Beginning

A New Beginning also offered a robust multiplayer component — not a first for the series, but a first to make it fun and potentially profitable for players to play together.

6. Harvest Moon DS

Harvest Moon DS
  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Platforms: DS
  • Release Date: March 17, 2005

The first DS-flavored version of Harvest Moon stuck close to the tried-and-true, avoiding the risk of alienating fans. While Harvest Moon DS is a solid entry in the series, don’t expect to find anything new here — aside from making full use of the two-screen design.

If you love Harvest Moon, the DS version offers more of your favorite thing. Unlike previous games, you have the freedom to make use of fields all across the playable area. And unlockable content can be earned by inserting your Friends of Mineral Town or More Friends of Mineral Town game(s) into the GBA slot of a classic DS, thus offering longtime fans a little reward for their loyalty. 

5. Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns

Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns
  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Platforms: DS, 3DS
  • Release Date: July 8, 2010

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. But fortunately for fans, Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns was one of the top games in the series. 

The storyline involving the titular two towns takes this game to the next level, offering more worldbuilding and visual flavor in town design than players were used to. Likewise, the dating system with eligible bachelors and bachelorettes elevated the romance minigame to new heights. While the restrictions on what you can grow and do in each town may frustrate completionists, The Tale of Two Towns is a story well worth taking the time to hear. 

4. Story of Seasons

Story of Seasons
  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Platforms: 3DS
  • Release Date: 27 February 2014

Story of Seasons is the actual name of the series, with Harvest Moon simply being one title within it. But that was lost in translation during localization, so now English-speaking players know Story of Seasons as a title within the Harvest Moon series, bringing it full circle.

Story of Seasons

Story of Seasons offers a wealth of gameplay for fans of crafting, giving you hours of gameplay that doesn’t involve a watering can or shovel. Customization was top tier here, and a redesign of the market system meant you actually had to do the legwork to find buyers for your goods — and beware of supply and demand! 

3. Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town

Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Platforms: PC, Switch
  • Release Date: October 17, 2019

The game so nice, they made it thriceStory of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is the Switch-based remake of the original Friends of Mineral Town, and it’s still an incredible experience nearly two decades later. 

Friends of Mineral Town

The Switch upgrade overhauls the visuals, of course, bestowing the game with a new and charming chibi art style. The best friend system keeps interactions with the townsfolk interesting even into the endgame. And customization in the form of costumes and multiple characters per gender corrects the original title’s lack of options. 

2. Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town & More Friends of Mineral Town

Friends of Mineral Town
  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Platforms: GBA
  • Release Date: April 18, 2003

These two games, together a contender for the top spot (before losing out just slightly to Magical Melody), fit together like a pair of mainline Pokémon entriesFriends of Mineral Town offers you a boy’s perspective on rural life, while More Friends of Mineral Town lets you play as a girl. But the core gameplay between the two is the same. 

They offer an incredible sense of flow throughout, with simple yet satisfying gameplay that keeps you coming back for more. While the endgame suffers a bit compared to other titles in the series, it will be dozens of hours before you see all there is to see here.

1. Harvest Moon: Magical Melody

Harvest Moon: Magical Melody
  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Platforms: GameCube, Wii
  • Release Date: November 10, 2005

Harvest Moon: Magical Melody is the best Harvest Moon game, full stop. While most Harvest Moon titles are simply a bundle of slight modifications on the core gameplay loops and themes, Magical Melody took full advantage of the GameCube’s cutting-edge hardware. As a result, the experience was transcendent for Harvest Moon fans. 

Magical Melody

The world was larger than ever before, and it rewarded players for exploring with epic item drops and loot. Cooking and fishing were a joy instead of a chore, and customization for your farm and home were robust enough to give Animal Crossing a run for its money. Cap it all off with a solid storyline leaning on music as the means to freeing the harvest goddess, and you’ve got a recipe for the best Harvest Moon has to offer. 

Harvest Moon Deep Cuts

So you made it to the deep cuts! Perhaps you’ve had your fill of the mainstream entries in the series. Or perhaps you’re just a fan of the obscure and retro. If you aren’t put off by pixelated graphics and unrefined mechanics, the farming fun continues into the back catalog. 

  1. Harvest Moon 64 (1999, N64)
  2. Harvest Moon: Hero of Leaf Valley (2010, PSP)
  3. Harvest Moon: Animal Parade (2008, Wii)
  4. Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar (2008, DS)
  5. Harvest Moon DS: Sunshine Islands (2008, DS)
  6. Harvest Moon DS Cute (2005, DS)
  7. Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility (2007, Wii)
  8. Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness (2007, DS)
  9. Harvest Moon: Boy and Girl (2005, PSP)
  10. Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life (2004, GC)
  11. Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland (2001, PS2/PS3)
  12. Harvest Moon 3 GBC (2000, GBC)
  13. Harvest Moon 2 GBC (1999, GBC)
  14. Harvest Moon GB (1997, GB)
  15. Harvest Moon (1996, SNES)
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