Finally, mid December 2014, the last Rune Factory games was released in Europe. An event that came and went rather quietly, not much media attention was given to the eShop only release. Even NintendoLife only picked up on it one week before the release. A release that happened a 14 months after the U.S. release, and a year after developer Neverland had been forced to shut its doors, due to financial troubles that resulted in bankruptcy. Neverland was founded in 1993 and is best known for the long-running Lufia series, and of course by developing Marvelous ALQ’s Rune Factory series. Rune Factory 4 for the 3DS turned out to be the fastest-selling title in the Rune Factory franchise, successful enough to merit a 5th game. Due to the fact that Neverland ceased to exist, that of course is uncertain.
Did you like Fantasy Life? And have you never tried a Rune Factory game because you don’t like Harvest Moon? Then I’d urge you to take another good look at Rune Factory. I know it has elements that Harvest Moon is well known for. You have to plow your fields if you want to earn any money. With the money you can buy a forge to better your weapons, and a stove to make food to sustain you in battle. Yes, Rune Factory does have a dating element too, but you can spend a minimal amount of socializing if you don’t like doing that. I’m not one to go around town speaking to every character every day, but I make good progress nonetheless. And should it be necessary to marry one of the bachelors or bachelorettes to progress the storyline, then look upon it as another part of the quest, leveling up friendship as you would level up your attack or defense stats.
Today for some reason I remembered the huge fun I had playing Rune Factory Frontier on the Wii in 2009. (has it really been that long?) One of the Wii games that I played quite a lot, which is special. As you might already know I’m more of a handheld gamer. The game had such a magical quality, the perfect combination between farming, making items and cooking, using magic and dungeon crawling. For some reason I felt really immersed in another world, playing it, much like a good book can do.
Tell me, have you ever played a Rune Factory game? And what did you think, is it just a Harvest Moon spin-off or a very nice RPG in its own right?