I’ve had a quirky relationship with the game series, Story Of Seasons, in general. An inner conflict started last year with me reviewing Doraemon: Story Of Seasons and now continues into 2020. XSEED Games and MARVELOUS! studios’ recently released their latest farm simulator in Story Of Seasons: Friends Of Mineral Town (SoS: FoMT). The inner conflict is that I know what I’m getting myself into with a Story Of Seasons game but I’m still compelled into playing and reviewing them. So the question is does SoS: FoMT surprise me or did I get the type of game I expected? Welcome to our Nintendo Switch review of Story Of Seasons: Friends Of Mineral Town!
SoS: FoMT is actually a remake of a well known Gameboy Advance (GBA) game from the Harvest Moon game series, entitled Harvest Moon: Friends Of Mineral Town for both the PC and Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, I never played that series, or really had a Gameboy Advance since I was a parent and focused my free time on console games. I left the GBAs for my kids so they wouldn’t bother me on my console, sorry but I digress.
Based on my previous experiences with Story Of Seasons my expectations for this game included minimally some farming, raising of animals, making friends, harvesting, mining, etc. And those expectations were met to the fullest. To make sure I wasn’t imagining this gameplay our own Ed Orr’s SoS: FoMT preview seemed to back up my interpretations.
One of the strongest attributes of SoS: FoMT is its simplistic open-world gameplay nature. Upon first playing this game, this technique bothered me a bit and I’ll explain why later on.
You start out with a basic character creator that lets you choose from among two male and two female villager types, each with three skin tone choices. You also get to choose to start the game in an “easy mode”. This mode supposedly helps to build friendships and earn money faster and includes things like a pre-planted farm. It’s probably a good choice for young players with a shorter attention span. Believe me, this might be something to consider, talking from experience as I’ll discuss later on. I opted to take the “normal” route.
Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One
The story is pretty straight-forward, basic and stereo-typical, of late, for these farm simulators. “Mineral Town” is a picturesque town surrounded by lush forests and clear waters. When your character was young, you spent a summer there on your grandfather’s farm. You now head back to Mineral Town after your grandfather’s passing. As you might expect, the fields have gone unattended. The crops and cattle are no more; only rocks and weeds remain. In honor of your grandfather, you make a vow to restore the old farm back to its former glory.
Let’s Get To It!
After the short story opening and some minor introductions and greetings, you’re for the most part, on your own. And this is the simplistic, open-world nature that threw me for a loop initially. Here’s your farm, your tools, okay good luck. The game plays out on calendar and day cycles. The day cycles are really quick. You know you have to pull weeds, sell them, buy seeds, hoe, plant, water, and repeat.
Sometimes trying to do all this within the quick day cycle clock was challenging, especially if you’re an explorer type. Aerial view maps of the town and your farm help when you need to figure out where to go. You’ll need to keep track of which days, and times, which services are open, e.g. the forge, general store, etc. Things like tools will go up in level as you use them but then you need to figure out how to get the blacksmith to upgrade them. Then there’s also the chore of figuring out how to expand your small tool bin and inventory space.
You’ll also have to manage your stamina and fatigue factors. Some of this can be recovered by foods you cook, and in some cases, find e.g. grapes. Thankfully this stamina/fatigue stat shows up nicely on screen in a strawberry-hearts style reminiscent of the classic Nintendo Link games.
Meet The People
Early on there is a lot of walking around trying to meet and talk to people which in some cases opens up new conversations and events. All while that day clock runs down. Don’t get me wrong you don’t need to do everything between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. but it just seems to be the farmer thing to do.
Life simulation components include Mineral Town is the home to over twelve eligible bachelors and bachelorettes who are single and ready to cohabitate. Whether your avatar is male or female, you’re free to date, marry, and raise a child with any of them. Note, that I did not try same-sex dating and marriage so I can’t speak to whether that is in the game or not. Relationships are built through conversation, gifts, festivals, and special events.
Help Ease The Burden
There are “special friends” you can find and friend that will help ease the daily burden of caring for your farm. See our Ed Orr’s starting tips guide here if, like me when I started, needed a little inspiration. If you can’t remember how to accomplish a task there are books within your cabin that act as tutorials as well as a TV for current events, both welcome additions.
The game played really well for me in undocked mode. I had no trouble reading text, using joy-cons, etc. Given its “quick” day cycles the game seems to be well suited for on-the-go gaming!
- Harvest Moon games series
- Story Of Seasons games
This review was accomplished using a Switch code provided by PR.