Rune Factory Frontier is a simulation and role-playing video game developed by Neverland Co. and published by Marvelous Entertainment in Japan, Marvelous Entertainment USA and Xseed Games in North America, and Rising Star Games in Europe for the Wii video game console.
On July 11, 2008, Marvelous Entertainment USA and Xseed Games announced that they were both bringing Rune Factory Frontier to North America, with a date of March 17, 2009. This is the first game in the Rune Factory series not to be brought to North America by Natsume.
The player can grow a farm. There are 4 distinct seasons, 3 of which you can grow different types of crops. Examples include: Strawberries and turnips in the spring, tomatoes and pineapples in the summer, and yams in the fall. There are many other crops, and you can grow flowers, which can all be sold for gold (the game's currency.) Farming is only half of the game. The other half is dungeon crawling. There are four very different dungeons, three of which represent the four different seasons (the third dungeon represents both autumn and winter). In these dungeons, crops of that dungeon's seasonal affiliation can be grown. The fourth dungeon, Whale Island, is omni-seasonal, and all crops can be grown there at any time.
Another feature is the concept of Runey distribution. Runeys come in four different variations: water, rock, tree and grass. Runeys represent the ecosystem of Trampoli; when Runeys are in perfect harmony, the area that they occupy reaches a state of Prosperity, and crops in that area will grow much faster than normal. However, should even one area of Trampoli become devoid of Runeys, the ecosystem suffers, and crops grow much slower than normal. Runeys can be re-distributed from area to area using a tool called the Harvester. Every nine ripe crops in the field in front of the character's house also spawns one Runey daily.
Also standard to games related to Harvest Moon is the social system and marriage system. In Rune Factory Frontier, there are a total of 13 marriageable women, as well as many other townspeople whom Raguna can socialize with. The social system involves speaking with the townspeople as well as giving them gifts, which may increase, decrease, or make their affection stay the same. As the player, you must find out what each townperson likes and dislikes and give them gifts accordingly. Additionally, you may gain affection by participating in and winning festival competitions, or doing something arbitrary that increases only a certain person's affection, such as simply maintaining your farm.
Frontier begins with Raguna searching for a missing girl, Mist, who has moved to a new town because someone is calling to her in her dreams. Raguna moves into the town as well, living in the house next to her with a field. Then Raguna finds out that the whale island in the sky is in danger of falling on the town. Somehow Mist and another girl named Iris's fates are tied with the whale's.
The game was announced during an interview between Cubed³ and Yasuhiro Wada, the creator of Harvest Moon, on June 6, 2007. A year later, the game was fully revealed on June 4, 2008 in the Japanese magazine Famitsu.
Here is a game review of Rune Factory Frontier:
What is Rune Factory?
Rune Factory is a role-playing video game series developed by Neverland Co., Ltd. for the Nintendo DS, Wii and the PlayStation 3 video game consoles and a spin-off of the Harvest Moon video game series It is described by Yoshifumi Hashimoto, producer of the Harvest Moon series, as "Harvest Moon where you wield a sword."
The gameplay of the Rune Factory series is similar to that of Harvest Moon. For every 10 seconds, ten in-game minutes pass. The player can grow crops, using upgradeable farm equipment. However, the Harvest Moon game mechanic of purchasing animals has been replaced by defeating and befriending monsters in dungeons. If a monster is tamed, they help the player in battle or provide sellable goods. The game's combat is in the Action role-playing game style.
Like most Harvest Moon games, the player is given a limited amount of stamina, in the form of "Rune Points". Since Rune Factory also includes combat, the player is given hit points as well. Rune Points are necessary to cast most magic spells, while the player can use weapons with no RP by sacrificing HP. The player can replenish RP by using Runes created by fully-grown crops or potions, while HP can be restored using medicine or healing spells. The town bathhouse restores both HP and RP. If the player runs out of HP while working on their farm, they will collapse and be rescued, however, in Rune Factory and Rune Factory 2, dying outside the town causes game over. In Rune Factory Frontier and Rune Factory 3, you will not die while fighting in the caves or ruins.
Crops can be planted in different areas to sell for gold; other activities include mining for metal and minerals, fishing, or collecting food such as milk and eggs from befriended monsters. The player can then spend money and material to buy a variety of upgrades for their house, weapons, and tools.
In addition to their open-ended gameplay, the games possess a linear storyline, which can be furthered by exploring dungeons and defeating certain monsters.
So there you go, this is a great Harvest Moon spin off. If you thought that Harvest Moon was getting boring because it was always the same thing, try any of the Rune Factory games to grow a farm in an awesome new way!!!!
Coming soon: RUNE FACTORY OCEANS!!!! It will be released in Japan on February 24, 2011, so pray so that it comes to this side of the world!!!!