Harvest Moon: Hero of Leaf Valley (牧場物語シュガー村と皆の願い Bokujō Monogatari: Sugar Mura to Minna no Negai, lit. "Ranch Story: Sugar Village and Everyone's Wish") is a 2009 installment in the Harvest Moon (now known as the Story of Seasons) franchise for the PSP. The game is essentially a remake of Save the Homeland, taking the plot, style and format of the original and greatly expanding them: marriage is reintroduced to the game, mining as added and plays out as a puzzle minigame, new characters are added including the Funland executives themselves, and there are more ways to save the village. The town's size has been condensed to fit the PSP's memory, making getting around the town much faster, and the loading times are short. However the controls have also been criticized, particularly in close quarters; the game is bad at prioritizing animals, objects on the ground, doors, etc. when using your action commands. Get used to trying to pick up an egg and instead picking up a chicken or walking out of the coop.
The Player Character (named whatever you like) arrives in Leaf Valley after his grandfather Gus's passing. While initially there to collect Gus's possessions from his rundown farm, the player runs into the Harvest Goddess and the Harvest Sprites, who are surprised to find that he can see them. They tell him that the Funland Company plan to tear down the town and turn it into an amusement park, and they task him with fixing up the farm and saving the town with the help of the townsfolk.
Later the player meets the executives of Funland: an ersatz-Team Rocket trio of Alice, the cocky Tsundere CEO; Charles, the egotistical Bishōnen Jerkass; and Renton, the rodent-looking Nice Guy. They give the player the chance to gather 50,000G in two years to buy back Leaf Valley's land deed. It is up to the player to stop Funland by collect all of the money, or to work with the villagers to turn the village into either a tourist spot or a nature reserve. However the Funland trio aren't going to sit idly by and will hamper your progress with... self-destructing robots.
The game has Multiple Endings depending on whether you have the money at the end of the second year or not (if you don't, you will need at least three of either the Tourist Spot or Nature Preserve events), and whether you stop some, all or none of Funland's robots. You can then proceed into a Playable Epilogue from Year 3-on, or you can go back to Year 1 and attempt to complete any of the villager's stories you missed.
This game provides examples of:
- All Love Is Unrequited: Despite rival events being viewable in the Playable Epilogue (as long as the bachelorettes don't have more than a blue heart), the player is the only character who can fall in love and get married. Particular cases include:
- Lyla has an unrequited crush on Parsley, which gets dashed when she finds out he has a girlfriend in another town. Louis in turn has unrequited feelings for Lyla.
- Kurt has feelings for Dia, which only ever manifest as him knowing what she's doing when you help her with growing the Golden Potatoes.
- Bob/Gwen and Joe/Katie are the only couples who imply a possible relationship directly to the player. The women in both pairs angrily nix the idea.
- All-Natural Gem Polish: Mining gives you pre-cut precious stones.
- The Antagonist: The trio of Alice, Charles and Renton make this one of the few Harvest Moon games with clear, identified antagonists. Charles builds robots to attempt to scare off the inhabitants of Leaf Valley so that they can build their amusement park with no resistance, and the player can try to stop them in special events/minigames. His robotic racehorses in particular are built to stop the player's efforts to bring tourism to the town through the horse races.
- Babies Ever After: Averted. While marriage was reinstated for this remake, couples will never have children.
- Bishōnen: Parsley, Joe, Kurt, Louis, and the Player Character are all pretty men, with Funland's Charles sitting atop the beauty chart. He knows it, too.
- Boring, but Practical: Dia's Golden Potatoes arc boils down their appeal to this trope: they don't taste very good, but they can be grown in harsh climates and are very nutritious.
- Canon Foreigner: Funland Co.'s Alice, Charles, Renton, and their mining employee Rudolph are new to Hero of Leaf Valley, whereas the Funland Co. were a faceless, looming threat in Save the Homeland. Ponta is also new to Leaf Valley, being a Crossover character from River King.
- Character Development:
- Part of Dia's story is helping her find her own inner potential. She begins the game locked up in her manor reading books all day, and all she knows about anything came from encyclopedias. Befriending her encourages her to get out and enjoy the town, as well as to take up growing the Golden Potatoes entirely on her own.
- Alice has no empathy for the townsfolk at the beginning of the game. As you disrupt her company's plans to scare everyone away with robots, she becomes increasingly frustrated with the player. However she begins to develop odd feelings for him after he saves her team twice, ultimately coming around to understanding what the hero sees in Leaf Valley that's worth saving. The player can convince her in Fall Year 2 to talk with her company's stockholders to stop the town demolition. If you complete all of the mecha events and have the 50,000G at the end of the year, she succeeds in convincing them and personally gives back the land deed. She then becomes a kinder, more laid-back marriage candidate.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Chester only thinks of the Harvest Goddess and "spreading her love". He would happily swipe anything related to her, he passes out when he thinks he broke a painting of her, he has many stories of the Goddess's great deeds which are probably all false. Nothing he does can be predicted.
- Community-Threatening Construction: The valley is under threat of being turned into a Funland amusement park. The player has the option of buying the valley outright if you save up 50,000G by the end of the second year. The other methods of saving the valley are all about making it either a tourist destination or a nature preserve by doing three or more story-lines under one of those paths to succeed in saving the valley.
- Crossover: Ponta the Tanuki is a character from Harvest Moon's sister series, Legend of The River King.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Harvest Goddess serves as this to the town, with Chester acting as priest, Aurelia as a nun, and the two spreading the goddess's love.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Helping out Funland when their mechs get them into trouble causes Alice to warm up to the player.
- Excuse Plot: A rare aversion in the franchise. The story of saving the town from Funland is not merely there to explain why you're in Leaf Valley starting a farm, but instead it intertwines with everyone's actions as you befriend them and supplements their Character Development. The game also has one of the more conclusive endings in the franchise, wrapping up everything you've done after the second year.
- Eyes Always Shut: Rudolph, which adds to his grumpy disposition.
- Fishing for Sole: The game has fishable boots, bottles and fish skeletons in the waterways. Unlike most Harvest Moons however, the player immediately disposes of the trash after catching it. Using fish bait prevents the player from catching trash in the fishing spot for the whole day.
- Fishing Minigame: One of the main ways of making cash is by catching and selling fish. The minigame is a timing puzzle where the fish is surrounded by a ring, and as the fish tries to escape it sends out waves that hit the ring and require the player to hit the button in time with the waves.
- Gonk: Renton is a squat, balding man with the whiskers and buck teeth of a rodent. He also happens to be the Nice Guy in the Funland trio.
- Good Shepherd: Played With in Chester's case. He's a kind priest eager to "spread the Harvest Goddess's love" to everyone, but he's got a few screws loose. The Playable Epilogue after his story arc implies that he's ripping off tourists with his overpriced Harvest Goddess trinkets.
- Guilt-Based Gaming: Bob and Gwen will take care of your sick livestock, horse, and your dog respectively for the first two occurrences. The first time, they give you a friendly warning to take care of them better. The second time, however, they hit you in the face, calling you out on letting it happen again due to bad care-taking/negligence and telling you that it's the last time they are willing to care of your animals for you.
- HeelFace Turn: Saving Funland when they get themselves into danger causes Alice to have a change of heart about the town and the player in Year 2. If the player saves up the 50,000G by New Year's Eve, she convinces her company's shareholders to sell the Leaf Valley deed back to the townsfolk.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The Player Character is named whatever the player chooses.
- Heroic Mime: The player character only reacts to events with gestures and facial expressions. Dialogue for him exists solely in multiple choice boxes.
- Hidden Depths: Chester is the Harvest Goddess-obsessed priest, and everything you do with him is related to that. If you complete his story of renovating the Goddess painting, he starts selling trinkets dedicated to her in Year 3 that are exorbitantly priced and implied by Aurelia to be a complete scam.
- Jerkass: Charles has a big ego, talks down to everyone, and never warms up to the player like Alice does.
- Lighter and Softer: Save the Homeland had a drab, bleak feel and look. Hero of Leaf Valley in contrast has much brighter colors and a more upbeat tone.
- Limited Wardrobe: Every character except the player wears the exact same clothes every day. The player can change outfits by taking a bath (once it's purchased), but you're only given three different-colored versions of the same outfit, with a fourth unlockable in Year 3 by completing Gina's Harvest Goddess dress.
- Loads and Loads of Loading: Averted. While every area has to be loaded in, loading screens last mere seconds.
- Megane: Louis and Renton. The former works his glasses' appeal while the latter looks like a rat.
- Meganekko: Gina and Martha.
- Multiple Endings: At the end of Year 2, the player earns a different ending depending on what they accomplished. Note that Alice only stays in Leaf Valley in the Best Ending but leaves in every other ending.
- Bad Ending: Failed to collect 50,000G or finish three of the Nature Preserve or Tourist Spot events. The player has to start over from Year 1.
- Nature Preserve: Failed to collect the money but finished at least three Nature Preserve events.
- Tourist Spot/Aid: Failed to collect the money but finished at least three Tourist Spot/Aid events.
- Normal Ending: Collected 50,000G but did not succeed at all of the mecha events. This includes choosing not to help the Funland trio when they get themselves into trouble.
- Best Ending: Collected 50,000G, succeeded at all of the mecha events and helped Funland when they were in trouble. Alice stays in Leaf Valley, and this unlocks her as a romanceable bachelorette for Year 3.
- Parental Bonus: If you win an expert festival while married to Katie, this dialogue occurs:Congratulations on coming out victorious.
What? You want a tangible reward for your behavior?
Hm, that's true. I've observed how hard you've worked, after all.
Fine. What would you like?
...WHAT?! Th-That's... No, uh... Well, I...
Yeah, I got it. No need to elaborate. I'll take it under advisement.
- Playable Epilogue: The main story ends on New Year's Eve of Year 2, and depending on the ending the player earned, they can continue into Year 3 to play entirely for their own leisure. Marriage, many items, and some farm upgrades are only available in Year 3-on.
- Progressively Prettier: Louis is much more handsome and less ragged-looking in this game than Save the Homeland.
- Relationship Values: Players can increase the friendship values with villagers every day by talking to them (+1 point) and giving them gifts (+1-3 points depending on how much they like the gift). Befriending the villagers to a certain level is required for each event in their quests to play out. The bachelorettes also show different colored hearts in their text boxes to show your relationship level with them; this value is the same for all of the other villagers, but the player has to check their journal for the amount of hearts the villagers have in order to see it. The most friendship points the player needs to see all events with any character is equivalent to three hearts, but you'll need all five in order to marry a bachelorette.
- Running Gag: Many of Charles' robots and inventions have self-destruct mechanisms. The robot mole, tree and horse all explode after you've beaten them in the in-game events. Alice mentions after you've begun to defrost her that one of Funland's roller coasters had to be shut down because Charles put a self-destruct into it. She also brags to the player after a snowstorm about how nice the heating system in their headquarters is, and the player seems to ask her if the heater also has a self-destruct. She denies it, but is noticeably wondering so herself.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Joe is cheerful and extroverted while Kurt is cold and introverted. They both however share loves of fishing and their work as carpenters.
- Title Drop: When you complete the horse races three seasons in a row and win the Triple Crown, Bob declares you and your horse "the heroes of Leaf Valley".
- Tsundere: Alice is mocking and angry at the player throughout the first year-and-a-half of the game, but if you choose to help her team out in the times their evil plot blows up in their faces, she defrosts fast in the second Fall and unlocks as a marriage candidate for Year 3 if you get the best ending. When you give her a birthday present she goes so far as to use some classic tsundere lines.Alice: "Well, I guess I'll take it from you. I-It's not like I'm happy about it or anything!"
- Video Game Remake: Of Save the Homeland, one of the most maligned games in the series, from the ground up, significantly expanding it and addressing most of its major flaws.