Rune Factory 4 is a life-simulation/role-playing game, in which players take on the role of the prince or princess of a realm, farm a patch of land and fulfil various requests for the villagers. Relationships with the villagers, whether friendly or romantic, form an important part of the story, with you eventually being able to marry and start a family with the eligible bachelor/bachelorette of your choice. Outside of the town lie various story-related dungeons filled with enemies, which you can take on in simple button-mashy battles - the difficulty of which can be changed should you struggle.
Farming and shipping out your crops is an important way of making money, and requires some amount of dedication and organisation - you'll need to plant seeds, paying attention to the corresponding seasons they can be grown in, water them for several in-game days, then harvest them, shipping them out (by lobbing them in the shipping box) in exchange for gold. This money can then be used to purchase better equipment, more seeds and presents for the other townsfolk. The inhabitants may also ask you for favours from time to time, which usually require you to defeat certain monsters, grow certain crops or craft/cook them a specific item - managing these is also an integral part of moving the game's story forward.
Because of this, Rune Factory 4 is a very text-heavy game, with a lot of essential reading - so you'll need to be a pretty confident reader to cope. If you're the sort of person who prefers their games to be slower paced and more story-driven however, Rune Factory 4 should go down well, and has tons of stuff to do and discover to boot. Plus, with no such thing as a game over and no time limits to contend with, there's no pressure whatsoever. Unlike games like Animal Crossing, Rune Factory 4 doesn't take place in real time, so there's no need to get up at the crack of dawn to water your turnips - instead, a second or so of playing is equivalent to roughly a minute of in game time, making a 15 hour day, for example, last roughly 15 minutes; or an entire month, about 7.5 hours
Rune Factory 4 is a relatively safe game in terms of content. Battles, in which players hack and bash fantastical enemies, such as giant sheep, goblins and skeletal dinosaurs, with swords, hammers and magic spells, are fairly tame affairs. The game itself mentions how you're not actually killing the enemies, as defeated foes simply return to the 'Forest of Beginnings' they came from, turning into a blue ball of light and flying off screen when defeated. At times dialogue can be semi-suggestive, with characters suggesting a 'skimpy, slinky, revealing' swimsuit, or offering to join your character in bed (when you attempt to sleep in their bed), while occasional words like 'b**tard' appear in the dialogue. While you can form relationships with the characters, get married and have children, it appears in the game as an entirely platonic and innocent relationship, with no sex, nudity or anything untoward.
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