As a wanderer in a town called Kardia, you are discovered by a mysterious girl named "Mist". She, seeing potential in your skills, offers you a house to live in as long a you work and maintain the farmland.
As in other "Harvest Moon" titles, you grow and maintain crops, as well as improve your home with furniture and other items. Your stamina is limited, and every movement you make, whether it be digging, chopping or fighting with a sword depletes this.
A top-view game, Rune Factory incorporates farm-simulation with real-time battling. You can equip weapons and shields, as well as learn and wield magic. Unlike the games in this series previously, you do not care for regular farm animals. Instead, monsters that you capture from the various caverns become yours to use for either farming or fighting.
Again, staying true to the series' roots, it is possible to befriend and eventually marry potential girls in the town. Other features include the presence of variable weather conditions, a "yearly" calender with various set events and seasons, and many side-quests like fishing, and farming within the many caverns.