Harvest Moon: Back To Nature was the first title of the Harvest Moon series to be released on the Playstation. Though many Harvest Moon games have been released since then, including Magical Melody, A Wonderful Life, and Harvest Moon: DS, Back To Nature is still considered a fan favorite.
The game is rated "E" by the ESRB, and is further rated as depicting use of alcohol.
Though many of the characters are taken from Harvest Moon 64, they have somewhat different personalities, families, and occupations. Then there are some new characters who did not appear in HM64, such as Pastor Carter and the Doctor.
Unlike any other Harvest Moon games that takes place in Mineral Town, it applies more 3D graphics and many features that can't be found in Friends and More Friends of Mineral Town.
As typical of many of the Harvest Moon titles, you come to inherit a farm after your grandfather's passing. However, in this game, it has been decided by the residents of Mineral Town that you can only inherit the farm if you restore it to its former glory and fit in with the townfolk within three years.
The Mayor of Mineral Town asks you to enter a name, a date of birth (you can choose any date you wish), and to name your dog and your farm. On your farm, you're allotted a sizeable amount of land for planting crops, flowers, and/or grass. In addition, you have a coop for the chickens, a barn for cows and sheep, a horse stable, a fish pond, and an apple tree, aside from your tiny farmhouse.
It is your goal to work the land and care for livestock, just as in any other Harvest Moon game. At first, you are given a hoe, a sickle, a hammer, and an axe in order to clear up and work the debris-cluttered land. Later on, you can upgrade your tools and obtain more in order to do more tasks.
Aside from farming, you are also expected to interact with the townsfolk and make a family. Talk to them, give them gifts they like (especially on their birthdays), and learn more about them with the myriad of events you can come across during the course of the game.
Growing crops is the main gameplay in Harvest Moon series, you can grow different type of crops. Each season offers a different variety of crops/flowers you can grow. In order to get grow crops/flowers, you can purchase crops' seeds at Jeff's Supermarket, or flower's seeds at Won's Market. To plant crops/flowers, till the land with hoe, plant your crops, and water them with the watering can. Some crops/flowers take longer to grow than others, they all fetch a different price and some are renewable.
For each season, there is also a secret crop that can be unlocked after shipping a hundred of each of that season's crops. After building a hothouse, you can grow any plant you want at any time of the year.
Aside from growing crops and flowers, grass (all year except winter) can be grown to use as fodder (when cut with sickle) or as a pasture for cows and sheeps.
During winter, you cannot grow anything unless you have a hothouse. If you do have a hothouse, you can grow any crop you'd like there, but remember that you have only enough room for four 3x3 plots.
Orange Fruit Cup's are the only crop that cannot be grown outside of the hothouse.
Aside from planting crops, raising livestock is another important factor in Harvest Moon. Harvest Moon Back to Nature offers the most livestock for players to raise around the time, it is also the debut of raising fishes and bees.
Chickens can be bought from the Poultry Farm. Each are priced at 1500g. A chicken produces an egg every day as long as it's in a good mood and isn't sick. Chickens can take part in the Chicken Sumo Festivals.
Cows are bought at Yodel Ranch for the price of 6000g. Initially Cows that are purchased will not produce milk for a while until they become settled in. The Player may also enter his Cow in the Cow Festival.
Sheep can be bought at Yodel Ranch for the price of 4000g. A Sheep cannot be sheered until it reaches full adulthood. Sheep produce wool every 7 days. The Player may enter his sheep in the Sheep Festival.
The Watering pond on your farm serves a dual purpose as a breeding pool. To raise a fish, simply catch a fish and throw it in the pond (which is the same pond you use to refill your watering can). Fish eat fish food (bought in Supermarket) and only by feeding them will they multiply. You may then sell them for profit or use them in cooking recipes.
- Honey Bees
Honey Bees can only be acquired by planting flowers on your field. When the flowers bloom a nest will appear on the apple tree the next day (the tree that's between your house and the watering hole). Honey Bees produce one(1) honey every day.
Pets play a bigger role in this game compare to the past Harvest Moon game. The player starts off with their dog as a puppy, which could then grow into an adult dog. A dog helps defend livestock against stray dogs and herd animals to go back into the barn (if bell is rung). An event in the game allows the player dog to mate with Hana (Barney’s dog) and produce 2 puppies, where you would then search for an owner for one for the new born pup (Stu, Harris or Gotz).
The next pet is a horse; it starts off as a pony, which couldn’t be ridden. Like your dog, the horse doesn’t need to be fed. However, it is required to brush it every day or Barney would take it away at the end of the year. A pony can be acquired by planting a 6x4(24 squares of grass) field of grass or visiting Yodel Ranch on day 2. A horse can be ridden around the farm; it carries a saddle (which acts like a bin). Your horse can enter the Horse festival.
Fishing can be done with a rod; a rod can be acquired by fisherman Greg. To fish, the player hold down the 'Square' button, when an exclamation mark appears, release the button to fish the fish up.
This game introduces "Fish King", allowing players to collect. Sea kings are difficult to catch and special requirements are needed, ranging from offering a fish as a tribute to fishing in a particular area.
Harvest Moon: Back To Nature features over forty characters with whom the player can interact. Out of them, five young ladies are elligible marriage partners, while five young men will be your rivals for their affection.
In order to woo a girl, you must give her gifts that she likes. Her heart level, represented by the heart underneath the portrait you see of her while she's speaking, ranges from Black (Acquiantances) to Red (Love). As you get to know the girls more, you will get to see several events in which you have to answer questions she might ask you. Answer them correctly, and she'll come to like you even more. Also, give her gifts she likes. Each girl has different tastes, but jewelry, though expensive, makes a great gift as well.
- Ann - She works at the Inn along with her father. Once Cliff comes to town, she ends up doing her best to befriend him. Give her spa-boiled eggs.
- Elli - She's the nurse at the local clinic, and she has an upbeat, kind personality. A few years ago, her parents died, and she's been raising her little brother and caring for her grandmother ever since. Right from the start of the game, she has a crush on her boss, the Doctor. As far as gifts go, she loves receiving all sorts of flowers.
- Karen - She lives with her parents, Jeff and Sasha, behind the Supermarket. Rick has been her childhood friend since they were little kids. Her hobbies include dancing, singing, and hanging out at the bar and drinking. She has expensive tastes such as wine, sashimi, and truffles.
- Mary - Runs the town library, even though it's rare that she gets visitors. However, Gray has come to enjoy reading at the library, something Mary's happy for. Though she is shy and soft-spoken, she'll open up to you with interesting things to say. She enjoys writing, and some of her favorite gifts to receive are poisonous mushrooms and bamboo shoots.
- Popuri - She's a childish yet perky girl. She often quarrels with her older brother Rick about her responsiblities around the Poultry Farm and her interest in Kai. She enjoys sweets and flowers.
Wooing a girl is not exactly easy. Every girl has another guy who's interested in them as well. If you don't marry any one of the girls, one of these guys will marry her instead.
- Cliff - A young vagrant who's recently found himself in Mineral Town. He usually stays in one place for a while until he runs out of money, and then heads to the next place. However, you can get him a job at the Winery, thus getting him to stay in town. His love interest is Ann.
- Doctor - The serious young man running the Clinic. He's very much absorbed with his work, though he tries to do his best for everyone in town. However, he often feels that not many people like him. Pastor Carter is one of his only friends. Even though Elli has taken an interest in him, it takes him quite a while to notice this.
- Rick - Interestingly enough, Rick is the only one of your rivals who is native to Mineral Town. Along with his mother, he tends chickens at the Poultry Farm. He is an extremely high strung but hard-working young man who is faced with the responsiblity of being the man of the house in his father's absence. Often, he has conflicts with his younger sister, Popuri, though he tries his best to be a good older brother to her. He feels she should not be dating Kai. His love interest is Karen.
- Gray - As a former city dweller, Gray initially does not take to the idea of living in the "boondocks". After meeting Mary, he looks at things a bit more optimistically, though he still struggles with his grandfather, the blacksmith Saibara. He is his grandfather's apprentice, though he complains that his grandfather never praises him for anything he does.
- Kai - He knows how to charm the ladies, yet he always seems to rub men the wrong way. Every summer, he visits Mineral Town and runs a snack stand (The Seaside Lounge). The rest of the year, he goes down south since he's not a fan of cold weather. He often faces off against Rick, who in turn can't stand him. After a while, he will take up an interest in Rick's younger sister, Popuri.
- Anna - Lives with her daughter Mary and her husband, Basil. Though she often seems a bit haughty and snobbish at first, she turns out to be nicer than expected. Her husband is very much into botany, and while she can't understand his obsession, she joins him on his nature hikes regardless.
- Basil - As the town's botanist, he has written many books that his daughter Mary keeps in her library. He seems to have a one-track mind during conversation (according to his wife), and loves talking about plants. On Mondays, he takes his wife and daughter on nature hikes in Mother's Hill, and the only thing that can stop him is the wrath of nature (i.e inclement weather).
- Barley - A friendly older man who runs the Yodel Ranch, where he specializes in raising and selling cows and sheep. His daughter, Joanna, returned to town several years previously and left him with her daughter, May, who he's been raising ever since.
- Carter - The rather eccentric, but kind-hearted pastor. He often contemplates what he could be doing with his life. Also, he looks out for many other people, often bringing up his concerns for the children in town and the homeless people in the town where he used to live.
- Doug - The proprietor of the Inn. Since he's such a hard worker, he never takes a day off unless it's Fall 5th, the anniversary of his wife's death. Though he's raised his daughter Ann to be a bit of a tomboy, he wants to see her get married soon.
- Duke - Runs the Aja Winery along with his wife, Manna, with whom he frequently quarrels. He seems to have a drinking problem, and can often be found at the Inn's bar at night.
- Ellen - Grandmother of Elli and Stu, and former midwife. Now, she mostly stays at home since she can't walk very well. According to Elli, she gets lonely from time-to-time, but thankfully Sasha and Mayor Thomas visit her regularly.
- Gotz - A rugged woodsman who lives alone on the outskirts of town. He'll do carpentry work for you around the farm. Later on in the game, you learn that he at one point had a family of his own, but that they died in blizzard.
- Greg - A rather old fisherman who spends his weekends at the beach, fishing. It's hard to find him otherwise. He seems to mostly keep to himself.
- Harris - The constable and Mayor's son. He patrols the town, often mentioning that since the town is so safe, there isn't much for him to do.
- Jeff - The meek man who runs the Supermarket along with his daughter Karen and his wife Sasha. Since he is often very kind and submissive, he allows people to convince him that they'll charge food bills to their tabs and pay later. Unfortunately, they seem not to pay too often, something that causes Jeff constant grief.
- Kano - The town's photographer, who never discloses much about himself. He lives with Thomas and Harris.
- Lillia - She runs Chicken Lil's with her son (Rick) and her daughter (Popuri), though she's mysteriously ill. Her husband left a long time ago in order to find a cure for her sickness, but in his absence she finds she would rather have him at home. Her children's constant bickering proves to sometimes annoy her.
- Louis - Raises bees and lives with Gotz.
- Manna - Manna is known around town as a notorious gossip. She will often speak on incessantly about everyone in town. Along with her husband, Duke, she runs the Aja Winery, which is named after her daughter. At times, she worries about her daughter, who ran away from Mineral Town years ago.
- May - Barley's granddaughter, who's been living in Mineral Town ever since her mother left her there. She eventually makes friends with Stu.
- Saibara - The often grumpy blacksmith in town. He seems to be rather hard on Gray, though he seems to like that he hangs out with Mary. Go to him if you want your tools upgraded.
- Sasha - Jeff's wife and Karen's mother. She picks up the slack with the outstanding tabs at the Supermarket, since Jeff is often too meek to stand up for himself. She visits Ellen on Tuesdays.
- Stu - Elli's little brother. Since his older sister works long hours and his grandmother doesn't have the energy to keep up with him, he's often restless and lonely. Eventually, Carter takes on him and May and watches them at the church in the afternoons.
- Thomas - The Mayor of Mineral Town.
- Won - A crooked salesman who can sometimes cut you a good deal. He can be found at the Inn at 1PM
- Zack - He picks up your shipped crops every day (except on holidays) at 5PM. Soon, he begins mentioning that he's in love with a married woman, who turns out to be Lillia.
- Gourmet - This man only appears during the cooking contest. He will judge all the dishes brought to the contest, including yours if you entered your dish in the contest.
- Gauguin - Gauguin is a cat belonging to Karen.
- Hana - Hana is Barney's and May's pet dog. An event would occur where it would mate with the player's dog and produces 2 puppies.
- Harvest Goddess - Harvest Goddess is the goddess of Mineral Town. She is located in the waterfall, when a player offers a enough offering, she would grant players several wishes.
- Kappa - Kappa can only be interacted 3 times. Kappa is found in Mother's Lake by throwing cucumber at a certain time. When 3 cucumber is thrown, Kappa rewards the player with a powerberry.
- Solitary Cedar Tree - Solidary Cedar Tree only interacts with the player's once. It is located in the mountain. When the attempt to chop it down, it would beg not to, if the player doesn't, it would reward a power berry. However, if a player attempt to chop down the tree again, the cedar tree would immediately cause the player to faint.
- Grandpa - Grandpa is only seen in the beginning of the game. He was noted to have a great farm and raised many livestock (through images). However, when he died his farm was neglected.
- Son - The son is the player's son.
- Harvest Sprites - The Harvest Sprites live in a hut behind the Church. They host tea party in spring and if they're friends with the player, they would help the player out in the farm.
- Aja - Manna's and Duke's daughter and Harris' love interest. However, she left Mineral Town and due to this, Duke became a heavy drinker and Manna being lonesome.
- Rod- Lillia's husband is friend with the mayor and Basil. However, when Lillia fell sick, he left Mineral Town to search for a medicine and was never heard of again. He left before the game starts.
- May's Mother (Johanna) - May's mother had a bad reputation of being an uncaring mother who only cared about her own career, so upon leaving, she decided to have her father, Barley, take care of May. She left before the game starts.
- Gotz's Family - Gotz have a wife and a daughter, they were known to live happily together. However, one day a storm hit Mineral Town and Gotz's Wife and Daughter were killed when they were in the mountain. This leads to Gotz's depression.
Throughout the year, there are a variety of festivals you can attend. Some festivals involve competition, while others are meant to be celebrated with a date. Others don't fall into either category.
- Spring 1st- New Year's Day (Note: Since you move to town on this day, you will not attend this festival during your first year.)
- Spring 8th- Goddess Festival
- Spring 14th- Spring Thanksgiving
- Spring 18th- Horse Race
- Spring 22nd- Cooking Festival
- Summer 1st- Opening Day
- Summer 7th- Chicken Festival
- Summer 12th- Tomato Festival
- Summer 20th- Cow Festival
- Summer 24th- Fireworks Festival
- Fall 3rd- Music Festival
- Fall 9th- Harvest Festival
- Fall 13th- Moon Viewing
- Fall 21st- Sheep Festival
- Winter 10th- Dog Race
- Winter 14th- Winter Thanksgiving
- Winter 24th- Starry Night Festival
- Winter 30th- New Year's Eve
Besides restoring your farm to its former glory, you should get married sometime during the game as well. Out of the five young ladies in town, you can eventually find one you want to marry. In order to get married, you have to expand your home twice, raise her heart level to red, and purchase a Blue Feather (either from Jeff's shop or from Won at a ridiculous price). Then you can propose, and if you're lucky, you'll be married after a week.
After about a season of marriage, your wife will mention that she's not feeling well. Take her to clinic. Once you're there, you'll find out that she is pregnant. After another two seasons, your son will be born. However, the son will stop growing when it starts to walk.
- Main article: Power Berry (BTN)
Power Berries made a return in this game, Power Berries are scattered around Mineral Town and each one is found differently (some easy and some more difficult). A Power Berry increases the player's stamina. To see the locations of the Power Berries, visit the page on this wiki.
Cooking and Recipes
Cooking made its debut in Harvest Moon Back to Nature. Unlike Harvest Moon 64, where the players are allowed to collect recipes, this game allows the player to collect and cook those recipes. The cooked food could be used as a gift or entering the Cooking festival. To cook, a player must have the required ingredients and cooking utensil (which can be bought via TV shopping).
These are the following shops available in the game:
- Gotz' Construction
- Poultry Farm
- Yodel Ranch
- Won's Shop
- TV Shopping
Harvest Moon Back to Nature and its girl version Harvest Moon: Back To Nature For Girl are ported in PSP as one. It should be noted it is a direct port and not a remake, no additional feature is added, except for minor change in controls.
- This is one of the few Harvest Moon game to allow players to give more than 1 gift per day to increase the NPC's friend points and love points.
- Many characters are from Harvest Moon 64, however, Doctor, Pastor Carter and Won (not counting the Harvest Sprites) are the only unique characters
- Jeff and Harris are not bachelors in this game.
- Rick is a bachelor in this game.
- Interestingly, the farm was once known to be a great farm, where many chickens was shown (flashback). However, when the player acquires the farm, none of the barn is upgraded.
- The Red Mail Box located between the Super Market and Hospital serves no purpose and acts as a decoration. However, unlike other decoration in the game, the Red Mail Box can be interacted with the text "mother and father?” It is unknown what its purpose is, but it is believed it was planned for an event.
- In the girl version, the text says "Where is this place?"
- Through hacking, an unused "mail" sprite is seen. This may reinforce that the Red Mail Box, originally have a role in the game.
- This is the only game to feature something closest to divorce.
- Zack's house is the only house in the whole game that can't be entered.
- Around the time this game was released, a famous rumor occurred where if all the bachelorettes are married, a girl named Elizabeth would move into town.