The first game in the Rune Factory series, released on the Nintendo DS. It was developed by Neverland Co and published by Marvelous AQL. The game was intended to be a single Spin-Off game that commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Harvest Moon series. It was later released in North America by Natsume on August 14, 2007. Rune Factory was a hit with gamers and critics, which resulted in Marvelous AQL deciding to continue the series independently from Harvest Moon.
The story begins with a young, amnesiac man named Raguna collapsing in front of a home on the outskirts of a village called Kardia. The homeowner named Mist finds Raguna and attempts to help him... by giving him a hoe and a watering can. Eventually, she does manage to actually help him and allows Raguna to live on an unused area of land nearby (with compensation).
This game provides examples of:
- And Your Reward Is Parenthood: If you get married, your wife will eventually have a baby. The child doesn't get any special introduction; they're largely just an additional character portrait that pops up when you talk to her.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Magic (except for Heal) is essentially worthless, because every spell has a fixed RP cost and you have a fixed RP cap, and RP restoration is a pain to come by.
- Big Bad: Ethelberd is the ruler of the Sechs Empire who aims to Take Over the World by controlling the Divine Earth Dragon Terrable.
- Critical Annoyance: Only in caves, because only there can you get a Game Over. The beeping increases in frequency as your HP decreases.
- Disk One Nuke: It's perfectly possible to make the Heaven Asunder, one of the best swords in the game, well before the first Winter makes available the rest of the game's caves, and with them, the ingredients for the other, much harder to make, weapons and tools.
- Evil Empire: The Sechs Empire, naturally. The climax of the game is a desperate effort to stop their attempted invasion.
- Gaia's Vengeance: The ending, as the dragon god Terrable's Big Damn Heroes moment. The invading Sechs army are ultimately defeated by...farm crops?
- Game-Breaking Bug: Camping in Misty Bloom on the last day of winter has a chance of crashing the game and corrupting your save file. Of course, if that doesn't happen, and you didn't bring the Teleport magic, your game is now Unwinnable by Design, so you're kinda screwed either way.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: Raguna cultivates the soil of each dungeon to proceed to the next one just as the Sechs Empire wants him to so they can use the Rune Factories to summon Terrable
- Karma Houdini: Ethelberd, invasion attempt thwarted by Terrable, just leaves and sees no real consequences. It won't be until three games later that any real comeuppance is delivered.
- Magic Is Rare, Health Is Cheap: Almost no restoration items recover RP. This is one of the Early Installment Weirdness factors making the RP system practically nonexistent.
- Multiple Endings: The credits will roll after each of two specific events: Clearing the main story and after Raguna's wife gives birth to their child.
- Oblivious to Love: Mist is utterly blind to Zavier's crush on her. Probably.
- Official Couple: While you can choose any bachelorette you like in gameplay, animated cutscenes make it pretty obvious that Mist is the canon Love Interest.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: The script is absolutely riddled with spelling errors, most memorably a misspelling of 'swordsman' as 'sowrdsman' in the very last scene of the game.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Ivan turns out to be a member of the royal family. Raguna is hinted but not confirmed to be one as well.
- Sequence Breaking: Going fishing day 1 and selling your catch in the bar lets you buy the small kitchen from Ivan immediately, instead of having to wait til Summer. This isn't that helpful long-run, since the game eventually makes you clear Misty Bloom (only accessible during Winter) as part of the plot, but it lets you buy the lower-tier kitchen tools immediately on Spring 19 instead of having to listen to Ivan nag you about not having a kitchen yet.
- Unwinnable by Design: If you were foolish enough to camp in Misty Bloom on the last day of winter without bringing Teleport magic (and the Game-Breaking Bug "luckily" didn't happen), you'd be stuck there.
- Unwitting Pawn: From the time Raguna stumbles up to Mist's house to the point the final boss is summoned he is single handedly supplying the enemy with all the energy they need to summon said boss.
- Useless Useful Spell: All of it, except Heal and the two Warp Whistles, due to the unpolished RP system.
- Warp Whistle: Escape, which brings you from a dungeon to its entrance, and Teleport, which brings you from anywhere outside to your house.