It could be straightforward to match Little Dragons Cafe to the primary Harvest Moon. However Yasuhiro Wada, who directed each, insists what’s coming to Nintendo Swap and PlayStation four is not like something we’ve performed.
“Many video games are based mostly off the battles and the fight and the journey, and that’s nice,” Wada instructed me throughout a Sport Builders Convention meetup, the place I bought to take a look at his upcoming undertaking, a dragon-and-restaurant administration sim that carefully resembles its farming forebear. “However I imagine that there aren’t many video games that go into the personalities of the characters and go deeper into [them].
“In that sense, I imagine it is a sport that doesn’t exist,” Wada mentioned.
It’s arduous to gauge whether or not that’s fairly the case, since my time with Little Dragons Cafe was transient. Right here’s what I picked up on from the demo: Gamers select between a boy or a woman, who’re twin siblings, and whose mom reveals them the ropes of operating the household cafe. That features fetching elements present in a tiny yard, enjoying a breezy rhythm sport to cook dinner the dishes after which serving them to prospects, Diner Sprint-style.
The twins even have a pleasant, tiny pet dragon for some motive. It’s a cutie.
On the floor, Little Dragons Cafe feels like a hodgepodge of acquainted gameplay kinds, which make for an attention-grabbing mixture. (A rhythm sport is just not one thing I’d ever anticipated to search out in a life sim, however it was a pleasant shock.) Wada guarantees a storyline with an entire ending too, straddling simulation and fantasy journey sport.
That’s a core distinction from Harvest Moon (now generally known as Story of Seasons within the West), because the director tells it.
“Within the case of Harvest Moon, it began as a harvesting, farming sport,” mentioned Wada, who labored on the primary sport till he departed Marvelous Interactive in 2010. “And from that I constructed upon that component and began constructing upon it from there, and that was how the sport was made.
“Little Dragons Cafe is a bit completely different, in that I made the characters and world first after which constructed from there,” he mentioned.
These characters nonetheless have the identical cute smiles and massive heads because the Harvest Moon casts, which had been designed by the identical artist. The sport can also be combat-free and rather more centered on kindling friendships and sustaining the household enterprise, one other similarity. The charming breeziness makes Little Dragons Cafe really feel a bit like a novelty within the fantasy style it leans into, however after 20 years of Harvest Moon video games, I couldn’t see how this sport innovates past that franchise.
However I like Wada’s strongest case for why Little Dragons Cafe isn’t the Harvest Moon-like it appears to be: Everybody within the sport is “a loser” — his phrases, and one thing he spoke passionately about.
“All of the characters that seem on this sport are only a bunch of losers and a no-good bunch of dorks,” he mentioned, laughing. “We’re all human — there are some good components and dangerous components about us. What the participant feels from enjoying this sport is, once they see this bunch of losers, what they’ll suppose is, ‘I’m higher than these guys.’”
I can’t recall fairly feeling that method in regards to the hard-working, good-hearted people from the Harvest Moon franchise. (You would argue that the general public in Wii cult traditional Little King’s Story, for which Wada was government producer, match the “loser” invoice, however that’s an edge case.) Within the context of those breezy life sims, the place the purpose appears to be extra to calm down with townspeople as an alternative of stress about boastful villains, hanging with “dorks” is definitely distinctive.
It’s nonetheless arduous to say if Little Dragons Cafe is a twist on a well-known formulation or one thing else, one thing that’s not so spinoff of the Wada catalog. We’ll see for positive on Aug. 24.