3DS
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Game Info:

Harvest December
Developed by: Talestune, Flyhigh Works
Published by: Circle Entertainment
Release Date: December 10, 2015
Available on: 3DS
Genre: Visual Novel
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: mature
Price: $11.99

Thank you Circle Entertainment for sending us this game to review!

As a fan of both anime and visual novels, Harvest December piqued my interest.  Instead of flashy visuals, solid voice acting, or player interaction, this title relies on the story alone to captivate its audience.  The artwork and background music are sparse and recycled often, but the story and likable characters made me overlook those minor details and enjoy this game as a whole.

The story is broken down into thirteen chapters that elapse over a year period as a high school student named Masaki moves from the city of Tokyo to the town of Tagami where it is rumored that their god roams the land in human form.  Not only does Masaki discover that the rumor is true, this attractive female god wants him to be her husband and he agrees.  The very next day in school a kimono-wearing (Masaki has a thing for women wearing kimonos) heiress takes notice of Masaki and asks him to be her boyfriend.  Attracted by her boldness, he accepts her offer as well.   It doesn’t take long for the two ladies to find out about each other and fight over Masaki.

Harvest December
Highlights:

Strong Points: Engaging story with likable characters and funny situations
Weak Points: The story changes narrators without much clarification at times 
Moral Warnings: Lots of language and blaspheming; violent acts are graphically described; many sexual encounters and situations but nothing really becomes of them; lots of references to other gods, shrines, rituals and divine powers

As time goes on, more female (and some male) students become infatuated with Masaki and this adds a lot of drama, stress, sexual situations, and physical abuse.  The beatings Masaki receives are usually at the hands of his girlfriend, Yuki.  As the Towada heiress, (the most powerful family in town) Yuki often gets what she wants and carries around a marriage certificate hoping for the chance to get it signed by Tagami’s most eligible bachelor.  Her family has a tradition of marrying and conceiving young.  She desperately wants to have a child though she’s not familiar with the process involved.  Thankfully Masaki is a gentleman and doesn’t take advantage of the many opportunities provided to him.  His classmates and townspeople think otherwise though.

Throughout the year the story switches perspectives from Masaki to sometimes his friends and their siblings.  Masaki has a habit of overthinking things and toying with peoples' feelings to get the best possible outcome he can devise.  For example, he would tell a pregnant woman to get an abortion just to see their reaction.  His over-analysis rubs off on his friends who go through identity crises along with Masaki to make sure they’re setting down with the right girl and for the right reason.  Masaki and his best friend, Kohei, want to follow their dreams and not be forced to live the dream of a significant other.  There are many lessons on life, love, sacrifice, and forgiveness.

Despite the redemptive qualities, there are many moral issues to take note of in this title.  Harvest December earns it Mature rating for the graphic depiction of violent events and strong language.  There are many battle scenes with bones being broken and limbs being nearly torn off.  Fortunately, the gory imagery is not shown and it’s up to the reader’s brain to supply the violent imagery.  Cussing and blaspheming is pretty commonplace and every word except for the F-bomb is used.  In place of the F-word are Xs in some cases.  

Harvest December
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 78%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 41%
Violence - 3.5/10
Language - 0/10
Sexual Content - 3.5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8.5/10

With some of the characters being gods and children of gods, there are a fair amount of religious references.  There’s a wedding scene that depicts the rituals and blessings given by the goddess Shiro.  The gods in this game vary in powers and have the ability to lose it depending on their actions and influence from their believers.  Many Biblical characters are referenced including Moses, Job, and Joseph.  Joseph was brought up as an example of a guy having to deal with the consequences of sex without experiencing it for himself.   

Most of the sexual situations are unintentional, funny, and awkward.  There are co-ed bathing scenes but usually one of the characters still has some clothes on of some sort.  Some accidental breast grabs provide a little humor and punishment beatings for Masaki.  There are also some peeping Tom and kissing scenes as well.  As detailed as the violent scenes were, I’m happy to say that there are no sexual encounters told in this story.  There was a scene with Kohei applying suntan lotion on a girl’s back and she flipped over for him to do the front side (despite his protesting) and the game said that the scene was censored for the reader’s protection.  

Even with the censoring Harvest December is not suitable for a younger audience and it definitely earns the Mature rating it was given.  If you don’t mind cussing and awkward sexual humor, Harvest December will entertain you for roughly twenty-one hours.

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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