In this, the first Harvest Moon entry for the DS, you must build and maintain a farm, tending livestock, and growing all manner of crops. The Harvest Goddess has been turned to stone and banished! Restore her to "Forget-Me-Not-Valley" by locating all 101 Harvest Sprites. Marry one of 14 potential brides, including those from "A Wonderful Life Special Edition", a mermaid and more. (Five of these brides will visit town when you insert your "Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town" or "More Friends of Mineral Town" into the GBA slot of your DS.)
Upgrade your farm buildings to support new functions, such as adding a kitchen for use in cooking, or for holding livestock. Open up the local mine, and harvest ore useful for upgrading your farm tools. Win big at the local casino, playing any of four games!
General gameplay takes place on the upper screen, while the lower touch screen is used to access your inventory, status screens, and save. Brush your livestock and even milk cattle using the stylus.
The function to send mineral town girls from the GameBoy Advance game Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town into Harvest Moon DS to marry was removed in the European version because of technical difficulties and bugs. The poker and black jack mini games were also removed.