Harvest Moon… sorry, Story of Seasons is back on 3DS. This relaxing farming sim follows the life of an avid young farmer proving himself to his father while making a bunch of friends on the sidelines.
Is Story of Seasons: Trio of Town fruitful enough to be Best of Show, or is it better to just use as fertiliser? Find out in our review after the break!
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns
Nintendo 3DS Family Systems
Developed by Marvelous Entertainment
Published by Nintendo
Released: 13th October 2017
Review copy provided by Nintendo
Screenshots courtesy of Nintendo
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns follows the life of a young lad/lass (essentially you) who wishes to move out from his parents and become a farmer. The young farmer’s father isn’t too happy about it and doubt his ability, so the story essentially revolves around you trying to prove your father wrong… though, aside from a few references throughout the game, it’s something which is quickly put onto the back-burner. I do not mind this however, as it isn’t such a pressing matter, it gives you time to enjoy your farmer life.
After a forty minute, non-skippable intro (and you thought Skyward Sword was bad), you finally get to start your life in the dirt as a farmer. You start off with a few plots of soil, a barn, and a coop. Unfortunately nothing is stocked, so you’ll have to go to town to purchase some livestock to raise and seeds to sow.
As the title suggests, there are three towns to choose from: the great frontier of Westown, the oriental suburb of Tsuyukusa, and the tropical beaches of Lulukoko. At the beginning of the game, the roads to Lulukoko and Tsuyukusa are blocked so you only have Westown to explore first. Don’t worry though, as the game progresses, the other towns will become accessible.
Each town has a range of shops you can peruse at your pleasure. These range from general stores with seeds and other useful gubbins, flower shops for flowers seeds, and animal shops to purchase livestock and pets, to a DIY store to build your farm up, and restaurants to feast on some godly delights.
Other than having a little farmer shopping spree, one can also enjoy partake in several part-time job to earn a wee bit of pocket money. These range from chopping wood and watering crops, to pulling weeds and shipping crops. There are even lakes and rivers where you can do a spot of fishing. There’s plenty to do in the trio of towns!
Of course, you won’t become a great farmer by just casting a line out. Once you have gotten your supplies, head back to your farm to raise some crops and livestock using the tools provided. Be warned however, each action you do, such as watering, hoeing, milking etc. will slowly diminish your stamina. Don’t worry if you faint however, you’ll just wake up in the clinic the next day with half the amount of stamina you’d usually start with. If you are a particularly hard worker, it may be worth having a bite to eat, who knows, you may get a special bonus from certain meals, such as being able to move faster. Don’t forget to ship what you harvest for an income that’s healthier than your five a day!
It wouldn’t be the farming life if there weren’t any festivals to judge your crops and prized livestock. From time to time, special events, known as festivals, will take place to judge your chosen harvest or livestock. They will be judged on stats like colour and size for crops, and coat and affection for livestock. You can use a range of fertiliser on specific crops to help boost their stats, and simply taking good care of your animals will increase their wellbeing. Best of all, if you win a festival, not only will you get a nifty blue ribbon, but you will also be able to sell that specific type of crop or produce for more than usual.
One neat feature to encourage you to perform jobs and to socialise with residents is the Town Link Rank. Whenever you perform actions such as completing part-time jobs in that town, participating in festivals, purchasing products in that town, and shipping your crops to that town, your Town Link Rank level will increase. Think of it as your EXP for that town.
When you have gained enough ‘EXP’ the link rank will become locked and you will have to perform specific jobs. These may start off by simply completing more part-time jobs and shipping crops to the town, but these may become more difficult. For example, one of the jobs is to collect more lumber to fix the Westown bridge. Once you complete these jobs, your rank will officially increase, which unlocks tons of new items to purchase in the shops.
If you get a bit lonely in your eFarm, why not socialise with some of the local residents? The more you speak to residents and bear them with gifts, the better friends you will all be, isn’t that nice? Who knows, maybe you will end up finding true love and get married (in the game). Don’t worry about me though, I’m just still a bit salty that there is no true same-sex marriage…yet.
Speaking of getting lonely, you can also make friendly with the local goddess, Dessie, who will offer to take you to an uninhabited island with up to three other friends to chill out with. Go fishing together, swap items, or even have a little chat… assuming you don’t have devious intentions while using it of course!
The way that features unlock is pretty nice, they tend to unlock every few game days, meaning that when you start getting bored of what’s on offer, something new with pop up. The only annoying thing about it is the fact that there are several unnecessarily long tutorials on things which are pretty self explanatory. It would be much better off if there was an option to skip these and just be able to refer back to your bookshelf if you need help.
Trio of Towns a pretty relaxing game to play. There aren’t really any underlying pressures, similar to Anima Crossing, so you can pretty much do anything you want in your own time. You do not get penalised for forgetting to complete jobs, other than a little telling off, and there’s nothing which can negatively affect your relationships or Town Link Rank. Some of the jobs may sound a bit repetitive, but as you make progress and do a bunch of different things every game day, this is barely noticeable, and can be quite therapeutic.
The visuals on the game are quite nice too. The chibi art style really fits in well with the game, and the 3D effect just make it pop out a bit more. It’s nothing breathtaking, but it’s still a pleasure for the eyes, aside from the odd stutter or two of the frame rate.
Overall, Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is a really cute and relaxing farming simulator. There is enough variety of things to do to stop it from becoming boring and repetitive too quickly. There are also some neat features in place to motivate you to do a range of things rather than to just stick with one thing. My only downside is the fact that there are some unnecessarily long tutorials which cannot be skipped which may make it difficult for some players to want to actually play the game. Additionally, there’s no same-sex marriage (though this hasn’t changed my verdict of the title)
If you are looking for a relaxing farming sim with lots of variety, or are a fan of previous Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons games, then I’d fully recommend Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns.
Final Rating – 4 out of 5
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is out now, exclusively for Nintendo 3DS Family Systems!