Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons games give players idyllic lives on the farm. You can raise animals, make friends, and even get married and have kids.
Like any other game that has a romance element, the fans of these games have definite likes and dislikes–and we thought we would give the top dogs their due for Valentine’s Day.
(Note: In Japan, all Harvest Moon games made prior to 2013 are actually from the same series as Story of Seasons. The games have just been rebranded for US and PAL release following a company split, and later Harvest Moon games are HM in name only. These later HM games that only carry the name will not be considered.)
Harvest Moon (1996, SNES)
View this post on Instagram
🌱Harvest Moon 4-Koma🌱 Here’s a mini manga I made because I was feeling nostalgic and missing Harvest Moon~ I’ve always thought that the blue feathers were such a cute way to propose 💙 such fun practice to draw facial expressions ^_^ I added a bonus so look till the end ;) . . . #manga #mangaart #mangaka #mangadrawing #mangaartist #harvestmoon #harvestmoongame #bluefeather #pokurimio #doodle #quicksketch #animestyle #animeartist #animeart #4komamanga #4koma #minimanga
Ellen: Ellen is a tomboyish bachelorette that is also kindhearted and loves animals. In fact, she gives you your dog in this game! (She also bakes you cakes!) She’s even-tempered and an easy character to woo for a first-time player.
She appears in a few of the later Harvest Moon games, though you can’t always marry her, unfortunately. It is thought that the elderly Ellen character in later games is one and the same as this potential ladylove, though that would mean your player character didn’t make it to old age.
Harvest Moon 64 (1999, Nintendo 64)
(Note: Many of the bachelorettes from this game would be recycled for many entries to come, so if you don’t see your favorites here, keep on scrolling!)
Elli: Remember Ellen from the above entry? This is her granddaughter. She has a similarly sweet disposition, liked and disliked items, and penchant for baking. She cares for her grandmother Ellen, but should the player trigger a cutscene where Ellen dies can make it a little more difficult to woo the saddened girl.
Maria: Maria is a shy, bookish girl with a big heart. As you woo her and she starts opening up to you more, it’s not hard to see why she remains popular with fans. She has probably changed the least over the course of the series, keeping her positions at towns’ local libraries and discussing the natural world.
Honorable Mentions: All of the potential wives will help you with farm chores in this game after marriage, so they all deserve some recognition!
Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town (2003, GameBoy Advance)
Karen: Karen can be a little wild, but by this game, she had calmed down a bit. Okay, she still drinks a lot (when you’re married and she informs you that she’s found out she’s pregnant, she says that she thought it was a hangover at first)! Still, she is more lively than the other girls, has some of the funniest cutscenes in the game, and has a serious side that grounds her. I always thought she was the prettiest bachelorette as well! She is also relatively easy to woo.
Ann: Ann tends to be upbeat and optimistic, but sometimes falls into funks and can get embarrassed easily. She can be tough to woo because her father runs the inn she and your rival for her hand live in. She has a winning smile!
Honorable Mentions: I’ve always thought Sasha was great, but she’s always just a plain old NPC.
Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town (2003, GameBoy Advance)
Doctor: The Doctor starts off a little shy and sometimes standoffish, so it is wonderful to see him slowly open up to your player. Once you’re officially an item, he tells you how happy he is and how much he appreciates you constantly. His early heart events are some of the funniest in the game, and although you lose some affection points with him, it is kind of fun to torment him with unhealthy food items (which he hates), just for his reactions.
Cliff: Unless if you were lucky enough to have access to Japanese video games and their consoles, this was the first time you could play as a girl and marry Cliff. He can be a worrier and gets down on himself often, but he’s a hard worker and is just trying to find his place in life. He moves to Mineral Town by chance, and before you can even start wooing him, you have the opportunity to befriend him by helping him find work in town. If not, he’ll be gone by the end of the first year and you’ll have lost out on the chance to marry a steadfast, thoughtful bachelor.
Honorable Mentions: Kappa isn’t exactly a stellar husband. But your pregnancy announcement cutscene with him is: Unlike the normal cutscenes where the Doctor gives you the news, Kappa appears in your home and says, “…You, pregnant.”
Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life (2003, GameCube)
Muffy: Although Muffy often got written off in the game by other characters and in real life by fans when this game was first released, she has a quiet, supportive fandom on the Internet today. Upfront, she is carefree, but worries about living her life alone and worries about how others perceive her. She’s the kind of character you just want the best for.
Honorable Mentions: On the flip side, Nami seemed very popular when this game first came out, but not so much nowadays. But she is series creator Yasuhiro Wada’s favorite bachelorette out of any game in the series as of 2017.
Harvest Moon: Magical Melody (2005, GameCube)
Joe: Joe tends to be a favorite because he’s extremely friendly, though some fans wish he was a bit more romantic and had a more focused character. Like a few other significant others on this list, he probably has become a fan favorite because he is one of the easiest to court in this game. He’s also a recurring character in the series as a whole, and who doesn’t like a familiar face?
Harvest Moon: DS Cute (2005, Nintendo DS)
Skye: The self-proclaimed cool guy and ladies’ man is a lot of talk. He wants to seem tough and mysterious, but he seems to get embarrassed very easily and responds very warmly when you give him gifts and start courting him.
Although he cultivates the image of a mysterious thief, he gives it all up to marry your character. Romantic!
Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility (2007, Wii)
Luke: Luke was an immediate hit with fans because of his highly intense and energetic personality. It seemed as if people came for the memes, and then started to become affectionate for the impassioned go-getter over time. His personality may feel over-the-top, but he is difficult to truly dislike, even if he wouldn’t be your number pick.
Owen: As a big, strong guy who likes lifting weights in his spare time, you may think of Owen as a bit of a lunkhead. But in truth, he’s got a big heart and has an active inner life. He cares for his cousin and works hard for his employer, and he’s always got something nice to say–especially if you stop by when you’re riding your horse.
Kathy: Kathy has a very similar personality and interests as Owen. She’s very supportive of the player as their friendship grows, and she will admire the player’s hard work if given half a chance. She works hard too, so it is very satisfying when you start getting some time to yourself with her.
Honorable Mentions: Once you’ve gotten a few hearts with Phoebe, friendship or otherwise, she’ll quote Modest Mouse lyrics at you from time to time. You can’t knock good taste!
Harvest Moon: Animal Parade (2008, Wii)
Wizard: Although a bit of an enigmatic loner, he is another bachelor that wins you over as you grow close with him and he opens up more to you. Although you must be patient when courting him–you can’t even begin to court him by giving him gifts until you complete his piece of the game’s story for the green bell–many fans agree that it is worth it.
He certainly has inspired some amazing fanart online!
Harvest Moon: Hero of Leaf Valley (2009, PSP)
Lyla: Hero of Leaf Valley was essentially an updated version of Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland, which did not allow the player to marry. Lyla is upbeat and often daydreams about a fulfilling romance.
That’s where you come in! Lyla is a recurring character from other games but has only been a marriage option a few times, so a lot of fans were excited about the opportunity in this game. She resembles Lillia from the Mineral Town games, though poor health doesn’t damper Lyla’s spirit or abilities.
Honorable Mentions: The Harvest Goddess of this game, Marina, actually lives with you if you marry her in this game. This might be the only case of this to date! (It’s a low bar, I know.)
Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands (2009, DS)
Vaughn: A returning character, fans often describe him as a cool guy that’s secretly a dork. He seems antisocial and cold at first, but he loves animals and that can be a way in. He is also only on the island two days a week initially, but once you marry him he is only gone on Wednesdays for work.
If you pick your spouses based on how big the challenge courting them is, Vaughn would probably be a medium challenge–just hard enough, but nothing exhausting.
Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns (2010, DS)
Kana: Before we even get started, if you don’t like horses, this is not the bachelor for you. However, if you do, or at the very least you can respect a passionate man, Kana could be your ideal bachelor in The Tale of Two Towns.
It’s easy to suss out what he likes and doesn’t like–he doesn’t really play too many games on that account. You can also earn additional points with him by renting horses from him and buying items for horse husbandry. He’s dependable even as he’s a free spirit, and nice to your player from the get-go.
Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning (2012, 3DS)
Neil: Although Neil seems unfriendly, he is a little unsure about how to navigate social interactions and is just longing to bond with someone. If you can get past his initial prickliness, that person could be you! Like some other characters in other games with similar personalities, animals can be a way to break the ice. He loves them and is important to your farming life overall, as he runs the animal store in A New Beginning.
Allen: This character sometimes puts people off because he can be a little snarky and sometimes gets egotistical. However, this comes from being an acclaimed stylist–he is actually good at what he does. He is a traditionalist when it comes to dating and marriage, which can be appealing for some players and grating for others. The closer you become with him, the more styles you can unlock for your player, so even if you aren’t interested in wooing him, it is in your best interest to at least befriend him.
Story of Seasons (2014, 3DS)
Klaus: Talk about a complex character! The target market for the Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons games runs from about eight all the way to the middle-aged, so there’s usually many youngish potential spouses and one or two more mature characters for more mature players. Klaus was so, um, “mature” that some of his lines were censored for American and European releases–the implications were too explicit! He still comes off as a more adult bachelor, however, and the hints you get about his past even give him a more complicated, mature backstory than the others. He’s extremely popular with older fans of the game.
Raeger: Raeger is available from the start of the game and is pretty friendly from the get-go–if you respect his work time and are very careful about what gifts you give him. He can react very strongly if you mess around with him but is otherwise sweet. He is very open about his affection for you when you start dating and will tell you regularly how strong his feelings for you are.
Honorable Mentions: Giorgio is handsome, fashionable, and humorously over the top. Unfortunately, he has a fiancee who is off exploring the world, so he’s off the market.
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns (2016, 3DS)
Ford: As you can tell from this post, the most recent Story of Seasons game really threw fans for a loop. There were a lot of good choices of both bachelors and bachelorettes that all felt age-appropriate.
One such bachelor was the doctor Ford, who comes off as cold but quickly becomes enamored with your character when you start paying attention to him. Like Klaus, he is one of the more “mature” options in the game, and often has slightly more risque dialogue, as he struggles with feelings he has spent his past pushing away. His somewhat sad backstory has also earned him affection and explains much of his seemingly harsh side. Either way, once you two are officially together, he’s openly affectionate and never stops reminding you how much he loves you and your child. Dialogue that was cut in the localized versions reveals an even bigger heart.
Yuzuki: Yuzuki has an even more sad backstory. He moved in with his grandparents at a young age due to his poor health. He is happy with his life and has eked out a happy living making jewelry and enjoying sweets, even in light of the fact that his real parents kind of pretend he doesn’t exist at all. He rarely if ever expresses anger or annoyance at them, even when other characters do, and his saintlike behavior and mild, optimistic temperament feels soothing and a source of inspiration to fans who love him. Even fans who aren’t interested in him romantically think of him as a supportive friend!
Ludus: Ludus is another strong, stable go-getter. Like Yuzuki, he always makes you feel like you’ve got support and a friend in him, even if you end up marrying someone else. Even Ludus as a rival, or dealing with his rivals, is fun because he just has great cutscenes and great rapport with other characters. He’s often pretty humorous without meaning to be. Best of all, a patch fixed the glitches that came with marrying Ludus!
Lisette: As the first bachelorette you meet and an important source for seeds and crops, you see a lot of her, and it’s no surprise that many fans choose her early in their play files. She’s very sweet and grateful for your friendship (and more), and being a flower vendor, she has a very soft, gentle aesthetic. She’s a charmer without meaning to be, and is always endearing.
Komari: This bachelorette is almost the opposite from Lisette in some ways–it’s not that she’s not friendly or appreciative, but her energy level is off the charts comparatively! She’s high-energy and can be impertinent, but it’s always fun and she wishes no ill will on anyone. She’s like Karen, without all the partying! Plus, her dad is fun to hang out with too, even if the two butt heads at times.
Inari: Inari is good-hearted but sometimes naive, as they rarely interacted with humans before your character moved into the tri-town area. They are invisible to most of the ordinary humans in the area, like the other deities in the game. Their concern at acting correctly and being a good model for Witchie and the Harvest Goddess in-training is charming. Inari is one of the potential spouses whose gender changes depending on your player’s gender, so no matter which you’re playing as, you can marry them.
Honorable Mentions: A lot of players met Brad and Carrie and got their hopes up. Ironically, the two are married to each other. Shizu also attracted some interest, but she’s happily married (with two kids) as well. I also love Saffron’s design and strange pirate ensemble, but alas…
So, how did you feel about our featured bachelors and bachelorettes? Were there any that we missed? If you want to try to figure out your own tier rankings, you can try out these character sorters. Let us know how things turn out in the comments below!
And, of course, a special thanks to the Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons fans who shared their favorites and least favorites from the games they have played, and why.