Story of Seasons
Switch version tested
Review code provided
Story of Seasons started out in the Western world as Harvest Moon until developer Marvelous decided to move away from former publisher Natsume, who retained the Harvest Moon brand name. After the split the series was renamed Story of Seasons though the main conception of farming remained intact along with things such as raising animals, making friends with your neighbours and attempting to romance certain characters.
This is a remake of two Game Boy Advance Harvest Moon games combined into one, Friends of Mineral Town and More Friends of Mineral Town. I’ve played quite a few of the older games at this point, I started off on the Game Boy iterations so I was quite looking forward to getting my hands on Friends of Mineral Town when I discovered it was on the way. I’m about midway through summer of the 1st year at this point and ready to offer some opinions about what I’ve experienced so far.
First off graphically it’s not stunning, it’s functional and lets you see what’s going on for the most part. There are some nice touches such as the cherry blossoms blowing in the wind and such, it’s definitely cute in terms of the character and animal design. Although sometimes it’s not always easy to tell what’s a part of the scenery and what’s something that you can pick up. I think charming would be the best way to describe the aesthetic.
The music is largely inoffensive but nothing spectacular, which given the fact that you have to listen to it a fair bit isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it never gets annoying which is a definite plus. Sound effects are generic and do what they need to do and that’s literally it. I will say it does sound better through headphones though.
There are a few niggles gameplay-wise like how sometimes the farming can be a little fiddly and imprecise, or that when you increase your bag size the contents displayed in the bottom right of the screen take up more room which can be a little off-putting. Gathering rock and wood early on can be a bit of a ball ache until you start upgrading your tools, and if you hand over a tool to be upgraded the day before the shop is closed then you have to do without the tool until the shop re-opens which is a bit annoying.
I was initially going to moan about the lack of a tutorial just to give you an overview of the basics but there’s a manual available from the main menu. It’s actually pretty handy for walking you through some of the basics and there’s usually a pop up explaining how new items work so you have a vague idea of what you’re doing. The difficulty option at the start is a nice touch too, it essentially gives you a leg up in terms of money and makes friendships easier to earn
What’s nice about the game is that because each day ticks through at a pretty brisk pace it’s good for a quick blast here and there, which is pretty much perfect for the Switch, or you can obviously sit and play it in bigger chunks if you like. As you go through the game you can unlock things to do by raising your animals the right way or by making friends with people, there’s plenty to do if you can find the right balance between farming and socialising, which I’ve struggled with a little so far as I’ve opted for making as much money as I can early doors.
There seems like there’s a few different animals to unlock too as on the title screen there are capybaras and penguins amongst the usual farm animals, the inclusion of rabbits and alpacas is really great to see. There’s also the ability to make friends with the harvest sprites which will then allow you to ask them for help with jobs on your farm thus saving you time. It allows you to shift focus onto other jobs so there are ways of mitigating the whole time management side, which is good.
Overall STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of Mineral Town is a fun game with some flaws that, while a little annoying at times, don’t impact the enjoyment to be had. The chilled-out nature means it’s great for just unwinding with. I also appreciate the fact it hasn’t overcomplicated things like some games in the series have and it’s not overwhelming either, which is handy as I never know where to start when that’s the case. I’d definitely recommend it though obviously appreciate this sort of game isn’t going to be for everyone.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 10/07/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Lifestyle, Simu
Download link: eShop