Your Guide to the 3DS Life Sim Onslaught

Your Guide to the 3DS Life Sim Onslaught

From Harvest Moon to Fantasy Life, doing digital chores has never been more addictive.

Thanks to the massive popularity of last year's Animal Crossing: New Leaf, life sims are en vogue on the 3DS: Over the next few months, the system will see three unique games that turn the mundanity of everyday existence into an addictive exercise in repetition.

Since these games can be massive timesinks, it'll be nearly impossible to experience the full extent of all three—unless you plan to quit your job, drop out of school, and become a social recluse. But even if you intend to do exactly this, check out the following rundown of three notable games from this genre coming soon to your 3DS. It might not save your life, but it will save you dozens of misspent hours.

Fantasy Life

Release Date: October 24, 2014

Level-5 might be known for their portable RPGs, but this new one is particularly ambitious. While it may resemble Animal Crossing on a superficial level, Fantasy Life eschews the focus on collection—though there's still plenty of stuff to hoard—and instead offers a meaty RPG with a job system that includes 12 distinct classes (or "Lives," in the game's lingo). Though you can't farm crop one, Fantasy Life's mashup of life sim and RPG provides the same type of experience as the Harvest Moon spin-off, Rune Factory, but with more of a focus on MMO-style questing, crafting, and resource-gathering. If you have a craving for this kind of fix in an extremely accessible (and portable!) format, Fantasy Life provides just that—and if you still aren't convinced, those of us at USgamer who've been playing the game can't get enough of it.

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Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley

Release Date: November 4, 2014

Though Harvest Moon popularized life sims on consoles—back when the idea stood as a complete oddity—it's been a highly uneven series, with each game not necessarily building off of the last. That hasn't stopped me from playing them all, even though 2013's Rune Factory 4 surprised me with how much it sanded down its parent series' rough edges for an extremely playable experience. If you haven't kept up with Harvest Moon, The Lost Valley offers the most welcome change to date: All of your actions are now contextual, so as long as you have the proper tool for the job, there's no need to dig around in your rucksack to equip it before going to work. The Lost Valley also receives some major inspiration from Minecraft, as it lets you sculpt the (very blocky) landscape as you see fit, adding a whole new dimension to this longstanding farm sim. With any luck, these changes will make Harvest Moon feel more modern than it's been with the past few iterations.

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Story of Seasons

Release Date: Late 2014

Don't be confused: Story of Seasons is a Harvest Moon game—in fact, it's developed by Marvelous, who formerly worked on games in the series before publisher Natsume recently took over. In fact, it's even known by the Harvest Moon name in Japan (Bokujo Monogatari, or "Farm Story"), so you might have some idea as to what you should expect. Where The Lost Valley seeks to reinvent the Harvest Moon formula, Story of Seasons feels very traditional, but that's not necessarily a bad thing—there's a reason Natsume's series has persisted for almost 20 years. If you have vague memories—or debilitating nostalgia—for classic Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons just might be your best bet, since it doesn't tamper much with the essential qualities of the series. If you'd like to know how Story of Seasons differs from past Harvest Moon installments, this reliable fan site has plenty of details.

Related Stories on USgamer:

Story of Seasons' Yoshifumi Hashimoto on Building a Better Farm Sim

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