Author Topic: Before the Green Moon (Switch) Review  (Read 576 times)

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Offline allysoncygan

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Before the Green Moon (Switch) Review
« on: April 23, 2024, 08:00:00 AM »

I've got a ticket to the moon, I'll be leaving here any day soon

http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/review/66996/before-the-green-moon-switch-review

I grew up in the era when 3D games were just starting to figure out what they were. I cut my teeth in gaming on the Nintendo 64 and the GameCube, and throughout that experience a lot of the most memorable games featured a sense of discovery, of not knowing what would happen next. Exploring games such as Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life felt exciting because it felt like part of it was set in reality while another part felt surreal–a path with rushing wind that you could never explore, a shed that doesn’t seem to do anything, Harvest Sprites that are seemingly just there to discover and sometimes talk to. All of this felt like I never knew what would happen next. Before the Green Moon really reminded me of that feeling, in a low-poly kind of weird farming game that brought me back to my younger days of playing A Wonderful Life.

Before the Green Moon starts with your character, which you create, moving into a small community that lies in the shadow of a space elevator bringing people to the moon. Your character has a past with farming, so you are set up as a farmer with a small plot of land and home that feels familiar to anyone who has played any sort of farming game. Your goal is to work your farm and make enough money so that you can buy a ticket to the moon, an incredibly expensive feat. Much like other such games, you go through a cycle of tilling soil, planting seeds, watering plants, and harvesting them to sell.

The mechanics of Before the Green Moon are fairly simple, especially if you’ve played Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley. At the start of the game you are provided with a small number of seeds per day and you start off in the rainy season, which waters plants. This leaves you ample time to explore and meet the characters that also inhabit your small community. At the start of my time with Before the Green Moon, I often felt like I didn’t have much to do, which led to me wandering around the neighborhood, meeting people, finding my way around, and making discoveries. However, things gradually become more comprehensive. Initially, seeds are provided to you in small increments, but soon you can buy seeds from a local who sets up shop in your unused greenhouse. You also get a fishing pole. The rainy season ends, which means you have to not only water your plants but haul water up to your farm. Everything feels manual and tiring, which might be a shock to the system for people used to the level of automation you can do in Stardew Valley but feels like a more realistic farming experience. You tire quickly, and doing your daily chores can sometimes take up most of the day.

Through exploration, you find out things that go unexplained but, in its own way, feel like a discovery. You have an enclosure to keep chickens on your farm, but no chickens. It’s up to you to wander the local area, find chickens, and pick them up to bring them back. There are a number of little discoveries for how your farm and this world work that aren’t explained outright. This might be frustrating to some, but I found it to be rewarding, slowly learning how the world works.

There are a small number of characters that you can meet and speak to in your local area, and while they’re relatively simple I did grow attached to them, eventually learning more about and befriending them. There’s no friendship meter or anything like in other games, but instead you just have to speak with them regularly and keep up a friendship, which feels more realistic than a lot of social sims. I grew to really like these people, even if there were so few of them and they didn’t have much to say to you. The setting starts feeling like a community, which is reinforced every time the space elevator was about to leave town. For a day or two before the space elevator leaves, your town becomes flooded with people who fill the local mess hall and leave garbage all over. At a certain point I began to long for the time when people who just wanted to go to the space elevator would leave. But, then I realized, isn’t that who I was, too? Even as I picked up garbage around town (with no discernable in-game rewards, just because I wanted my little town to be nicer), I was still working towards going on the space elevator, wasn’t I?

Near the start of the game, the ticket price for going to the moon feels insurmountable. Each of the base crops you get gives you the tiniest fraction of what you need, and it feels good to work towards. However, as I got closer and closer to my goal, every bit I inched closer to the goal started to feel worse and worse. Did I really want to leave this little community? Or did I want to linger, ignoring my real purpose in being there? I was amazed at how just a short amount of time made me hesitate, wanting to know just a bit more about the other people in this town.

Before the Green Moon isn’t for everyone. I don’t even know if I’d say it’s for me. The in-game days are incredibly short and punctuated by time cards that tell you when afternoon and evening start every day, which can be annoying. Half the time I felt like I didn’t have enough to do, while the other half I felt like I had far too much to do, and a lot of that was repetitive. That being said, it feels like Before the Green Moon is a fresh take on the farming game genre, and one I am glad I took the time to discover.