Rune Factory Frontier arrived today, and I got to spend my first game week in Raguna's new digs in the town of Trampoli. Immediately, I noticed how absolutely beautiful the whole thing was. Winding paths go everywhere in town, from area to area; I got a little lost more than a few times before I figured out the town's layout. It's a great feeling.

Frontier controls with either a Classic Controller or a Remote/Nunchuk combo. If you choose the latter, you'll be able to optionally shake the Remote for tool or weapon use; shaking the Nunchuk is amusingly mapped only to "knock on door"—something that doesn't seem to have an equivalent with the Classic Controller, but I don't know that it's important, as knocking on doors isn't getting me anywhere until I become better friends with the townsfolk anyway. There isn't any awkward forced motion-control that I've seen, which is good; but there aren't any pointer controls for menus either, which is rather annoying. Apart from that, the Nunchuk combo feels the best to me, if only because I can set my hands apart.

Things seem to be progressing faster than I recall from previous Rune Factory entries. Money's easier to come by (weeds are worth 10 gold now!) and I'd only been in town days before I was able to buy all the weapons—which I have used in a couple rooms of the first dungeon, and they seem to handle somewhere in-between Rune Factory's occasionally-awkward control and Rune Factory 2's massively improved combat schemes.

For tools, I've only got my hands on the cheap hoe, watering can, and hammer thus far. Targeting them is troublesome without the precision of a d-pad (you must use analog sticks for movement), but I expect it to be less of an issue when I'm able to charge them. I don't yet know when or from where my next tools and upgrades will be coming (and in particular, I don't yet have the tool to deal with the ubiquitous floating Runeys), but I have discovered a new purpose for the hammer: removing fruit from trees. Just whack the ground, or if you're feeling particularly arbor-abusive, the tree itself.

There've been little bits of story thus far which I'll let new players discover for themselves, but I've already run into several of the eligible girls from the original Rune Factory, and more are promised. I'm looking forward to getting deeper into the game, though I've also got Avalon Code and Marble Saga Kororinpa to tackle as well—so I might just have to wait a bit to get much further. Thus far, I'm quite happy to be getting into this new adventure.