Run, Nevile!

Dear Grandpa,

I've witnessed the first birth of an animal on my farm when one of Nancy's eggs hatched into a chick. The baby is so cute but so fragile... when I see her, I can't help but think I have to protect her. And I have to protect her home, and the home of everyone here.

I've been making better friends with Bob by working on his farm and caring for Nevile. Even Gwen is becoming a bit less rough around me, I think. But she does get upset easily. Do you remember her very well? How old was she the last time you saw her? It's kind of weird to think about those kinds of things.

Farm life is getting harder day by day, as each bit of progress I do seems to compound my responsibilities. But it's rewarding work. Even though you're not here, it feels like I'm able to be with you again by living at the farm and taking care of everything. It not only brings back the memories of visiting as a kid, but there's something new and exciting about it, too...

And with all of this, I think I'm starting to get an idea of how we can save the valley...

Love you,

Thaao


Hey everyone. Yup, we got to experience the ~miracle of life~ on the farm, hahaha.

Save the Homeland Screenshot: Egg in the incubator

You can put eggs in the "incubator," which is just a little box in the corner of the coop, and left there for a while, they will hatch into baby chicks. This is the only way to get baby chicks in the game; chickens you buy from Bob are already fully grown. This is great because you can get a new chicken without having to spend any money, only using one egg. Of course, you have to wait many days for the egg to hatch, then many days for the chick to grow up into an adult chicken, and the cost of all the eggs you could sell for all those days if you would have just bought the chicken from Bob is much more than the cost of a chicken, so you're actually losing money if you think of it that way... but it's fun to watch them grow up from babies and not have to run all the way out to Bob's place just to buy more chickens. But if you have all the money at once, you can buy multiple chickens and start selling the eggs to make up for the cost right away.

Save the Homeland Screenshot: New chicken naming

After the egg has been left in the incubator for a few days, the next time you enter the coop, a screen will appear asking you to enter a name. It doesn't tell you why, so if you're not expecting this, it can be a little confusing. This is the name of your new chick, though. We named our second chick Tifa also per Kittie's suggestion. Please leave more name suggestions for cows and chickens because I don't think I'm going to try to stream this anymore because trying to manage streaming, watching the chat, and taking screenshots and thinking about what I want to write about all at once is too much. I've already missed out on many screenshots because of this hahaha. But just leave names in the comments of these entries and I'll use them~

Save the Homeland Screenshot: Baby chick

Here's what the baby chick looks like. It's so cute! Even though in the end it just makes your income progress a little slower to raise your own chicks, I wouldn't want to miss out on getting to see them... they're so tiny and adorable...

Chicks require pretty much the same attention as adult chickens, but of course, the babies will not lay their own eggs. After a few days, the chick will become fully grown . It goes pretty fast in this game. Then they'll start laying eggs.

The other "benefit" to having animals born on your farm is that they will be born with affection for you already. I don't know the exact mechanics because they're not specified in the game or anything, but I'm assuming that a new animal born on the farm has half of the affection points the parent had, while an animal bought from Bob of course starts with no affection for you at all. Even still, it's not profitable to have animals be born on the farm. It's just fun.

Save the Homeland Screenshot: Baby chick outside

We leave the baby chick outside with its mama. Look how cute it issssssss

Save the Homeland Screenshot: Falling over due to fatigue

I remember talking about the stamina and fatigue system earlier, but I don't think I got to show a screencap of what happens when you run out of stamina. You kind of fall over on one knee in exhaustion whenever you press the action button, and of course, you don't get to do your action. You can eat items you are holding (if it is edible) to try to regain stamina or fatigue. Each edible item affects each differently. I don't remember if there are any "bad" items to eat in this game, but in most of the games in the series, there are some items that will actually lower your stamina or fatigue, some giving a payoff raising the other, and some just hurting you all over.

This game is pretty forgiving, though, and I don't remember any bad items to eat, except maybe the flopperoos (which I'll talk about much later).

Save the Homeland Screenshot: Talking to Nevile at the farm

The next major thing we're going to focus on is raising Nevile's affection level. We actually raised it to one "heart" (the major units of affection that are shown in the status menu) already, because that's the point at which you're able to ride him.

Raising affection is pretty easy. Talk to the horse once a day and it will get some affection points. You can also brush the horse which gives it even more points, but you'll have to buy a brush from the tool shop that Louis runs in town if you want to do that. If you leave the horse outside when the weather is good, you'll get a tiny boost in points, too. Get enough points and you get a heart, which shows that your horse trusts you more, and usually unlocks something new, such as new cutscenes or the ability to ride, whatever. With the cutscene we got last time, we're now able to ride Nevile, though he'll only trot slowly, so this isn't really useful in any way. But it is cute, at least!

Save the Homeland Screenshot: Asking the Goddess to increase horse affection

If you remember early in the game, the Harvest Sprites taught us that we could toss items into the Harvest Goddess's pond as offerings if we wanted to talk to her. If we give her an offering during the day when it's not raining, she'll appear and ask us what we would like. Any other time, she will get mad. We get a menu that allows us to pick Stamina, Fatigue, Girl, Dog, or Horse. Choosing Stamina or Fatigue will try to improve your current status. Girl will try to boost the affection level of Gwen, Lyla, Gina, Katie, or Dia. Dog or Horse will try to boost the affection level of the respective animal.

There's a chance for failure; the whole thing is just random. The Goddess will tell you if she succeeds or not and then bid you farewell for the day. I don't really know how much this affects things over all, but it can't hurt to keep trying it.

Save the Homeland Screenshot: Crops on the farm

Our crops are coming in regularly now. I can't remember if I mentioned this, but corn, tomatoes, and breadfruit all continue to produce fruit indefinitely, while potatoes must be replanted every time you harvest. So once we have a lot of the first three planted, we just have to take care of them and we get a steady flow of crops. It's possible to sell them, and having lots of crops can be a great source of income early in the game, but we're keeping ours to give out as gifts or to save for later. My general "strategy" in this particular game is to save items until the need for money actually arises, and then sell just enough to get what is needed. While you can always sell an item for money, you can't always exchange money for every item, so I'd rather have the item in case I need it later. Not that we'll really need most of this stuff, but... it makes me feel better to hoard it all like this.

Save the Homeland Screenshot: Gossiping with Gwen

The crops make generally good gifts overall; most people seem to love any of them. The Goddess likes them, too. Along with increasing our bond with Nevile, though, we're also working on increasing our friendship with Gwen and Bob. Gwen is starting to get a little friendlier -- she gossips about Kurt and Joe (the woodcutter's apprentices) and stuff now, and gets excited when we give her vegetables.

Save the Homeland Screenshot: Another horse cutscene

After getting Nevile's affection up to two hearts, we wake up to yet another cutscene. The beginning is the same -- we brush him a bit and then we look at each other, then hop on. Now Neville seems to gallop instead of his slow trot when we ride!

Save the Homeland Screenshot: Showing Bob we can ride

Bob just happens by again, and we show off how we can get Nevile to run while we're riding now. Bob is of course happy with our progress, and has another favor to ask. Now he wants us to train Nevile so we can enter him in the big horse race coming up. He wants one of his horses to win the race because the winner of the race gets to host the race the next year, and Bob wants his farm to host.

Save the Homeland Screenshot: Gwen and Bob challenging each other to a horse race

Of course, Gwen stomps in again, and seems upset. She says she wants to be the one to win the race, even though she didn't do very good in the last race, and she wants to use one of her horses. Bob seems annoyed that she wants to interfere, but he challenges her to see who can raise the better race horse, us or Gwen. She accepts the challenge and storms off.

Save the Homeland Screenshot: Finding Gwen and Bob behind the farm shop

A few days later, when visiting Bob's farm, we run into he and Gwen having a conversation on the side of the shop building. Like any respectable neighbor, we hide behind the other side of the building and eavesdrop on them.

Save the Homeland Screenshot: Gwen compaining about Toy

Gwen is still trying to convince Bob that we're not a good choice for the horse race, calling us a wimp, and scolding him for trusting outsiders. Bob doesn't seem to be convinced by her griping at all, though, and still wants us to raise Nevile for the race. Gwen huffs off, and we manage to get away with listening in with no one noticing us.

Save the Homeland Screenshot: Cutting grass

And with that, we're nearing the end of the Spring, which means we're at least one fourth of the way done with the game. The game ends at the end of Winter, unless you obtain one of the Happy Endings before that time. It's possible to finish well before Winter, even finishing before Autumn, as long as you can find a way to save the homeland quickly.

Our daily routine usually consists of waking up and taking care of the animals (collecting eggs and brushing and talking to Nevile), heading to the Goddess's pond and giving her an offering, asking her to increase our bond with Nevile, stopping by the carpenter's place on the way back to chat with Gwen and give her some fresh veggies, then heading up to Bob's place to give him some presents and talk to him, too. We've stopped doing the part-time work because we have enough work of our own at this point, and the only thing we're really required to get from the whole part-timing thing is the ability to take care of one of Bob's horses. After visiting, we stop by Lyla's shop on the way back to buy seeds if needed, then get home and take care of the crops, harvesting any that have grown fruit, and watering everything. If the TV weather report says it will rain, we put the animals inside, and then spend the rest of our remaining stamina cutting grass if needed or digging in the soil to get some random minerals.

While cutting the grass, we did find an interesting item, which I sadly did not screencap as I forgot to be looking out for it and it goes very fast -- a Power Berry! You may have noticed on the status screen that there was a listing for Power Berries above the fishing record, with one little berry icon under it. Power Berries are a permanent boost to your maximum stamina, and you can click on the icons on the status screen to see where you found the berries you have. They are hidden throughout the game, and one of them is hidden in your pasture randomly, and you have to find it by cutting the grass. The others are not as easy to come across.

Save the Homeland Screenshot: Talking to Ronald

And before we end the entry and get into the Summer, I want to introduce one more of our neighbors, who I don't think is really critical to any of the endings' plots (which is very sad). This is our closest neighbor, who runs the supermarket and his own little farm just outside of our own land.

Ronald artwork by Marucome

This is Ronald. You can probably already guess why I love him, hahaha. Our next-door neighbor is a cute baldy mustache guy. He's too adorable! He's generally well-spirited, and I really wish he was worked into the story more. I think everyone else in the game works into one of the stories at some point. Ronald is the only one who really gets left out. There's not much to him, but I can't help but love the guy. Even with his loud shirt and funny apron.

So, that's it for this entry! Next time, we'll be going into the Summer!