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July 2019

Harvest Moon: Mad Dash

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Natsume
Release Date: Fall 2019

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


Switch/PS4 Preview - 'Harvest Moon: Mad Dash'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on June 20, 2019 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Go solo or take along a few friends in this fast-paced farming frenzy! Race to harvest crops, catch fish, or milk cows alongside another player.

Rather than the "normal" style of gameplay that comes to mind when you think of the Harvest Moon franchise, Mad Dash is an offshoot for the series that takes things in a simpler direction. The game supports up to four-player co-op and tasks the player farmers with arranging and growing crops in the goal of getting the highest possible score before time runs out. It's a quite simple premise that was also surprisingly fun.

In the first example level, the presenter and I had a very simple task: arrange the tomatoes and pumpkins in order to get the most points. Crops spawn as individual tiles, or occasionally as 1x2 tile groups. You can pick up tiles (or tile groups) and move them around, replanting them so that they are in larger clusters, such as 2x2 squares. Doing so makes the crop sparkle, which indicates it is ready for harvest, which harvests all crops in the tile group with the press of a button. This nets you both points and progress on your power bar. A filled power bar means that for a brief period, all crops coming in are automatically sparkling and ready for harvest, which is a massive benefit to your scoring potential.

In the next level, the complexity was changed. As my presenter partner took care of fishing, I took care of feeding hay to cows so they could produce milk. Arranging the tiles of hay made them piles of hay instead of making them sparkle, which made them attractive to the wandering cows. You can pick up the hay piles and bring them to the cows to avoid their slow walk over, and a fed cow produces milk to be gathered. Once the milk is gathered, the cow takes a brief nap, giving you time to tend to the rest of your herd. It's hectic but rewards intelligent play.

Another level we played had lava falling from above, and that only showed the briefest of warnings. Lava destroys crops, so to keep the crops in progress from getting destroyed, you must pick them up and move them to safety. However, after the lava has subsided in the final game, there's a period when crops can be planted there and gain a benefit. There are numerous level types that have their own hazards; the beach has falling coconuts, and the sky level has falling snow. In each case, the hazard has a flip side that, with careful play, can be leveraged to your advantage.

The levels are fast and frantic, and as you add friends to play co-op, the score needed to obtain three stars increases accordingly. Mad Dash is a fun take on the Harvest Moon franchise that lets you tackle each level very quickly, but it rewards careful play and working together with your co-op partners. The game will come out this fall on the PS4 and Switch.

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