Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns Review

story 1 - title

Game Title: Story of Seasons ~ Trio of Towns
Developer: Marvelous, XSEED Games
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Game Type: 3DS
Download: 5,441 Blocks
NA Availability: Retail | Digital Download
EU Availability: Retail | Digital Download

If you’ve been living under a rock for a long time, or just don’t play farming simulators often, the Harvest Moon series has been renamed and branched off on its own, now known as “Story of Seasons”.  If you’ve watched my website, you’re probably not very exposed to it, as I’ve only reviewed one game in the series and it was really more of a spin-off mix of Story of Seasons and Popolocrois from the PSP.  That was Return to Popolocrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale.

Thanks to XSEED Games, I’ve been offered a chance to dive into a mainline Story of Seasons game to play a Harvest Moon experience for the first time since the age of the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation.  A game that’s been vastly praised for its initial release and already has tons of guides online for players, here’s my review of Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns!

Story

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Trio of Towns stars a young boy (or girl, depending on your gender preference) who wants to grow up to be a great farmer.  After being shown a flashback of you visiting a farm when you were small, we come to the present, where you propose to your parents that you want to move to a faraway town and raise your own farm.  After having a heated discussion with your father saying you don’t have what it takes, you set off to try anyways.

Across the game, Trio of Towns has you starting up a small farm and slowly gaining reputation in three separate towns.  It doesn’t have an extravagant story to it, but it’s like you’d expect.  The story is about raising a farm and helping and getting to know everyone in each of the three towns as you provide them with crops.

The great thing about Trio of Towns is how charming each town is, and how different they are.  As the towns are progressively introduced to you, they all have different types of industry levels, different backgrounds, and all around have completely different character than the other two towns do.  Harvest Moon is known for being very cute and colorful, but Trio of Towns is just one of those games where as you get to know any character, you can’t help but just offer a warm smile.

Gameplay

story 3 - farming]

Story of Seasons isn’t easy to define as one genre.  It’s a farming simulator, but it’s also got dating simulation elements, a variety of different types of mini-games, and a very task-oriented job system that reminds me heavily of the Atelier series.  I guess you could call it a Farming Adventure game without a lot of exploration/adventuring.

As you start the game, you’re given a tour of your first town, a brief tutorial on how to farm and harvest crops, and the various things you can do in the nearby town.  From then, you are on your own to farm and sell your crops, interact with characters in the town, do jobs, and a lot of other things that slowly unlock and present themselves to you.

Farming is the big thing, of course, but you can’t do a lot of farming at first.  You have a Stamina Gauge and doing any farming uses up stamina.  You’ve got a nice little 9×9 square for farming, but just tilling and planting seeds that amount of space will use up most of your stamina gauge, requiring you to eat food or sleep before you can continue.  When you get bigger farms, you get better stamina, but it still is a pretty hard process between what you can do before your stamina gauge needs to recharge.

story 5 - jobz

That’s where everything else you can do comes in.  Each town has jobs you can perform during certain times of the day.  You may be delivering packages for the General Store or helping the Florist chop up some wood for their next shop project.  There are a lot of different jobs you can do, which will net you money to help you purchase seeds and other farming equipment/materials to help you do better with the game.

Now, I mentioned “during certain times of the day” on purpose.  The game has a clock where days and seasons pass by.  You can’t just wake up in the middle of the night and do a job for the florist.  You have to go there when the store is actually open, giving this a bit of a life sim feel.

Aside from that are more optional things, like presenting gifts to NPCs.  Story of Seasons is known for allowing you to become close to someone and marry them.  There are 4 different potential male husbands for girls and woman brides for the boys.  There is a Gift system built into the game, where each potential lover has items they love and your task is to acquire and give them what they love.  After all, receiving something you love is clearly the key to someone’s heart, right?  (It’s never that easy in the real world).

Story 4 - Festival Romance

So basically, you have a lot you can do.  Farming.  Jobs.  Buying and Selling.  Managing Livestock.  Giving Gifts to start dating and then marrying your chosen lover.  And that’s only the tip of the iceberg cause once you’ve been doing that for several hours, more towns become available and your options soar even higher with different mini-games, like fishing and more.  There’s just so much for you to do that sometimes you worry you can do too much on the side with trying to balance it and farming.

There’s also Multiplayer Features to dive into as well.  A couple hours into the game, you unlock a feature that is very similar to Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s Town Visitation feature.  It will allow you to visit other players’ farms and them to visit yours.  It’s a fun little addition for those of you who have multiple 3DS units in the house.

Across everything here, you’re going to be busy.  Realistically speaking, you could still be learning and getting tutorials for new features after playing for over 15 hours.  And you can easily play for 15 more before the game comes to a close.  For not being an RPG, this game can take a very long time to play through.

Controls

Controlling the game is pretty easy.  The only real forced touch interaction for the touch screen is changing the map when you want to change from your Town Map to your World Map that shows all 3 different towns.  Other than that, the touch screen is rarely used.

You move around with the Circle Pad and the D-Pad is used for navigating menus.  The L trigger doesn’t really do anything but the R button is to quickly open the tool menu when you need to swap tools for a specific farming task.  While moving about, the B button is used to jump for platforms and the X button brings up your menus, for saving, quest information, and tools/items.  A is used for interacting with NPCs or confirming options in menus.

Overall, pretty easy control scheme and the game does a great job of explaining how everything works.

Presentation

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Visually, it is acceptable for the 3DS.  There are a fair number of jagged edges, but only noticeable if you looks reallllllly close to the screen.  For a normal player and not a review writer, it’s hardly noticeable at all.  The game is otherwise very colorful and there’s plenty of detail in the characters.  Jaggies or not, it adds to the charm.

The only issue I have with the game is that certain areas have no background music.  Some of these areas are when you are experiencing certain kinds of weather, like rain.  But there are other areas where there just isn’t background music and you only hear sound effects of walking, running, and using tools.

Performance is very good.  Load Times are nice and short and the frame-rate is steady for the entire experience.  No complaints from this writer.

Summary

Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is a very charming game that has farming, dating, marriage, and a lot more.  With only one fault of music-less areas, fans of the series should definitely check it out and gamers who love cute and charming games that don’t mind a little farming and multitasking should check it out as well.  It may be a farming and life sim, but it has near-endless amounts of content to go through. 

9/10

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