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Farming in the future: robots & more

The Harvest Moon franchise is heading in a bold new direction. Innocent Life, the new PSP-exclusive addition to the series, is appropriately subtitled "A Futuristic Harvest Moon." In this newly-released title, players are taken to a world that both shares remarkable similarities to worlds seen in past Harvest Moon titles, and veers off into unfamiliar territory for the franchise. Strangely, the setting is not the biggest change for Innocent Life -- it's the main character.

You play a very humanoid robot child in Innocent Life. As is typical to the genre, you're unfamiliar with the workings of the human condition: you're void of basic human emotions and characteristics, such as love and humor. However, as your creator, Dr. Hope, explains, you will begin to learn more human attributes through increased interaction with the world and the people that inhabit it.

There's a particular Astro Boy aura to the execution of the story. All things considered, Innocent Life is quite an apt title: the main character seems hapless to the events of the world around him. Like Tesuka's robot wonder, it appears that he will ultimately have a huge burden to carry -- he will become responsible for saving his island town from destruction caused by humanity's ignorance to the spirits. (More on that later, though.)

As the protagonist continues to interact with others, and learns more of the joys in farming, his Human Status will develop. Like previous Harvest Moon games, he'll be able to develop friendships, and advance other miscellaneous abilities. For example, he'll have access to a kitchen where the weekly cooking show on TV can guide his minor experimentations with food. Other surprising tools will be available, many decidedly science fiction. However, as the main character and the player will discover, farming will mean going back to the basics oftentimes: plowing by hand may be the best way to solve any farming problem. Strangely, by going into the future, Innocent Life tries to teach the virtues of a simpler time.

Our week-long feature continues tomorrow. Stay tuned to PSP Fanboy as we continue exploring the world of Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon.

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