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Review: Story of Seasons

Story of Seasons is the perfect game for gamers who like Harvest Moon. The game was released in the Bokujou Monogatari (Harvest Moon) franchise in Japan but was forced to drop that title in the West due to some licensing issues. That being said, Story of Seasons offers a lot of classic Harvest Moon gameplay but combines this with some great new gameplay additions. One thing’s for sure; you’ll have a lot to do on your virtual new farm!

A slow start

The moment you start the game, your story begins. The protagonist got bored with his/her life and searched for a new challenge. Thanks to a flyer, the protagonist decided to move to Oak Town to run a new farm. Running a farm isn’t easy however, so you’ll need to learn to ropes of the business. Lucky for you, Edna, a friendly grandma who treats you as her own grandchild, teaches you everything you need to know right from the start.

This means that once you’ve created your new character you’ll need to play the tutorial first. Creating a new character is very similar to older Harvest Moon games. You can pick a boy or a girl and change the important facial features such as eye color, expression and more. Once you’re satisfied with the design, you’ll need to name your character and start the adventure. It’s a shame that the tutorial that follows after this creation is a bit long.

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The seven-day tutorial will take you up to 40 minutes to complete. Edna serves as a walking tutorial and teaches you everything you need to know. From harvesting crops to taking care of your animals, it’s all explained to you during the first seven days. If you want to skip these tutorials, you’ll only be able to fish and catch insects during your first week in Oak Town. It might be a very slow start in the game but it’s recommended to listen carefully to Edna during these days, Story of Seasons has a lot of tasks you need to fulfill.

Run your farm 

Harvest Moon fans will be more than happy to learn that running your new farm happens very similar to the Harvest Moon games. You’ll need to water your seeds and harvest your crop at the right time in order to be able to sell your vegetables or fruits. A fun detail is that Nintendo worked close together with Marvelous to bring some original Nintendo crops in the game like the Super Mushroom, the Fire Flower, and the Super Star, each with a bonus for your farm.

Growing crops is also easier than before thanks to the 3X3 layout of your fields. You can grow up to nine fruits/vegetables on your field and you can all water them at once thanks to the new layout. This works incredibly well and saves you a lot of time. Instead of watering them one by one, you can simply water all nine of them at once.

 

Animal Crossing X Harvest Moon

 

Besides crops, you’ll also need to take care of your animals. Cows for example need food regularly or they won’t give you quality milk. Taking care of your animals and crops sounds exactly as any other Harvest Moon game but this one features a stamina bar that changes everything.

You can’t complete each task in one day since your character will be too exhausted to continue working. Just like in real life, tasks will demand energy. Cutting wood for example will cost more energy than watering your crops. This means you’ll carefully need to select the tasks you want to complete in a day before running out of stamina. It’s a small addition to the gameplay but it transforms the game in a more realistic farming simulator for sure!

Time to get married

Another important gameplay aspect of this Story of Seasons is finding the right partner to eventually get married together. Oak Town is filled with interesting bachelors and bachelorettes, all there as potential partner for life. By spending some time with them and handing over some cute gifts, some characters will show an interest in you. It’s completely up to you to decide who your man/wife will be but it’s a lot of fun to discover who has the best matching personality for your protagonist.

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Getting married also results in a bigger house, you’ll need to improve your old house and create extra rooms and bigger spaces to welcome your man or woman in your house. It’s a lot of fun to create the house of your dreams and it reminded us of Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. You can truly create the house of your dreams by easily dragging and dropping the items where you want them to have.

The international market

The third and final important gameplay aspect is the international market. Running a farm without selling your crops is impossible. The game is set around several different countries, all wanting to buy specific products. By deciding where you want to sell your products, you’ll gain extra money. It’s important to keep a close eye on this international market since prices can change every season. You’ll need to sell to various countries in order to make most profit.

Besides selling, you can also buy specific products such as new seeds from the countries. This system adds a new layer of depth to the gameplay and transform this ‘classic farming simulator’ to something completely new and fun to play.

Special events and cute presentation

Story of Seasons is packed with great content. Besides the three main ‘jobs’ of the game, you’re also able to attend in special events during each month. Sometimes you’re challenged to grow the biggest tomato for example, if you win the competition, you’ll gain a lot of extra cash to spend. In some special events you can even challenge other farmers to grow the best crops, the price? Taking over a piece of his/her land. Thanks to these special events, you’ll be able to really expand your business the following season.

Besides these competitive challenges, you’ll also discover more relaxing events. Birthdays or special Holidays are also celebrated for example. Running around and talking to some of the villagers during a special event always result in fun and cute conversations.

Last but not least, you’re also able to buy exotic animals such as elephants and monkeys. If you own enough of those animals, you can even start your own Safari Tour where characters from the other countries can visit your town and go on a local safari to see your animals in action.

B

All of these special events and extra modes are created in a very good-looking 3DS game. Story of Seasons has a typical cartoony look to it and the characters look like a combination of manga and popular children book drawings. This in combination with the soothing music transforms your time with the game to a very relaxing time. You’re never forced to do something, you can really play and enjoy the game at your own pace.

Conclusion

Story of Seasons really has a lot to offer and feels like a more modern and realistic Harvest Moon interpretation. It has everything fans of farming simulators want in a game and so much more. From growing your corps to selling it on the international market. Running your own farm is a lot of fun and getting to know the other villagers and eventually getting married is a fun extra goal in the game. If you like Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon, you’ll love this game for sure.

8/10

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.