The Girly Geek’s guide to Sunshine Islands

A few weeks ago, I told you guys all about my wonderful adventures discovering Harvest Moon. Since then, I’ve had people asking me which game I’d recommend for beginners.

I’ll give you two guesses which one it was. (Hint: It’s eponymous.)

I picked Sunshine Islands because it’s not too tricky, and it’s not too easy. I thought it was juuuuust right.

That said, though, there’s still lots to know about the game. I won’t ruin it for you, but if you do decide to try it out, here are one gamer’s thoughts on the matter.

1. Be friends with Taro.

He’s grumpy, he’s old, and he looks a little like a sentient onion, but Taro has some serious layers.

Some Harvest Moon games give you a radio so you can check the next day’s weather as often as you like, but in this game (and in Island of Happiness, for that matter), you will need to rely on Taro and his creaky old joints to tell you if it’ll rain or shine the next day.

He’ll also only tell you once, the first time you speak to him for the day. I honestly can’t even count how many times I’ve messed that up. So be ready to pay attention!

2. Have 2 feeders for every animal.

This one took me three playthroughs and some pretty blatant hints from my dad to figure out.

Some of the games will let you keep on keeping on in bad weather, although the struggle will definitely be real. Sunshine Islands does not. It will confine you to your little house and leave your animals to fend for themselves.

If this happens, and you have 12 chickens and 12 feeders, it means that your chickens will not get fed on the storm day. And that will get you some nice stressy chickens.

The thing is, animals aren’t where the money is at in this game, so you won’t put yourself behind by opting for six chickens and 12 feeders. Plus, that means no more stressy chickens!

3. Build the greenhouse.

One of the fun features about Sunshine Islands is that time stops when you’re indoors. Super handy for all those times you have to chase your chickens around the coop, and also super handy if you build the greenhouse because you want to grow more than a lonely little plot of eggplants.

You can control the quality of your crops, prevent them from suffering a painful squishy death at the hands of rogue, hurricane-thrown rocks, and tend your entire field in 5 minutes or less.

You can also keep growing things in the winter, which is helpful for making lots of money for Gannon’s ridiculously overpriced renovations. You’ll need it because he’s too scary to haggle.

4. Raise Mushroom Island.

You get a pet pig if you raise Mushroom Island. Need I say more?

5. Don't worry about the Harvest Sprites.

These little dudes were introduced in Islands of Happiness, where I’m not entirely certain they had a purpose. In this game, supposedly, befriending them can help you by giving you things like discounts in the store, but let’s be real here for a second.

Most of them have ridiculously expensive tastes. For example, one of them only likes rare ores, and if you just shipped the ores, you’d make enough money that you wouldn’t need them to discount the stores anyway.

Besides, by the time you make friends with them, you’ll be far enough along in the game that it won’t even matter.

6. Keep track.

The whole point of the game is to track down sun stones, which you can use to unlock new islands (and new characters like marriage candidates, oo la la). You’ll find them by doing all kinds of different activities, including things as simple as raiding bushes, because decades under the sea wouldn’t have dislodged them.

Game logic.

Anyway, take it from someone who learned the charms of it years ago. It’s best to keep track using a handy-dandy list.

Like this one right here! How about that?

Now you have my best advice for taking on my favourite Harvest Moon game ever. I hope it really grows on you!

Yeah, I went there.

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