Story of Seasons, formerly known as Harvest Moon here in the west, are farming simulation-ish sort of games. I added the ish, because these games don’t realistically depict the act of farming, Instead they simplifies the act, which makes it a lot more fun, well fun is subjective to the individual playing the game, but I digress. Story Of Seasons: Trio of Towns is the newest game in this franchise, and I had quite an enjoyable time with this one, or should I say I’m “having” quite an enjoyable time with the game, because I am in fact still playing the game.
The day to day aspects of Trio of towns, somehow resonate with the Dopamine neurotransmitter in my brain to give me a feel good experience while playing the game. The last time I believe I had a similar feeling was when I played Harvest Moon: A wonderful Life on the GameCube. I have played other games in this franchise since then, but none of those give me this effect, and I’m not sure why.
So let’s try and understand this phenomenon together, shall we?
You begin your life in Trio of Towns as a young male or female character who’s family is moving to a new city. Your character; however, doesn’t want to join the family during this move. He/She wants to go off to the countryside and start a farm. Yup, I know, that sounds like a weird aspiration for a young character, but this is Story of Seasons, so let’s just go with it. Soon after the intro sequence, your character leaves their family, and is then given their own farm near a crossroad to 3 towns. Each of the towns have their own theme that is gushing with individual personality. One has a western theme, another emulates an island theme reminiscent of hawaii, while the final town replicates the look and atmosphere of a traditional Japanese country side town. As for the plot, its good. I can’t complain at all about it. It’s charming in the right kind of way and tutorials are well spaced apart to not become overwhelming.
Each town has their own mayor, stores, people, and strangely enough their own weather. What this means is that though you will trade between towns and see citizens from other towns visiting another, there will be moments where by you will leave one that is raining, and find that the others have a beautiful sunny day. This weather phenomenon includes your farm as well, and I know it sounds weird, but in my head I just imagine that every time my character leaves one area to go to another, that he’s jumping into a carriage and travels a bit before arriving there.
The unrealistic depiction of weather doesn’t actually bother me.
Given that the game has 4 months that each represent a different season, and that the farming aspects of the game are overly simplified, I don’t really have a problem with the unrealistic depiction of weather in the game.
Graphically, Story Of Seasons: Trio of Towns is a good looking 3DS game. It ran without any hiccups on my original standard sized 3DS. The use of the 3D effect is nicely done in this game, to the point that I’d say it’s the definitive way to play it if you have a new 3DS. On the older ones the 3D effect is reliant on you sitting still in the sweet spot. Which is something I didn’t always find to be comfortable. The character models are all of a chibi style that these games are known for, and there is quite some variety because of the aspect of the very different towns, I found myself liking the beach-side town the most, because that’s where my waifu is from, but I’m sure you’ll find your own place that fits your style. This style can then be used when modifying your farm. You can change the farm to have a look that matches any of the 3 towns, or you can mix and match aspects of each that you like, and make your own little unique paradise.
…Oh, and you don’t have to stop the customization with just your farm. Oh no. You can even change the look of your character in a lot of ways. When you start the game you get to choose your hair style and color, as well as your skin tone, but a bit further in the game you will be able to get haircuts to change the style/ color of your hair even more, and also buy new clothes. These changes are also not just for cosmetic appeal. They serve a purpose. Changing one’s hair or clothing can appeal to the characters you like, and affect your relationships with them. I really liked this feature a lot, because it allowed me to truly make my character into whoever I wanted…
… I also liked another feature, or should I say, exclusion of one. In some previous games in this franchise there have been mines to explore, and or monsters to fight. That’s not in this one. The mines we get in this game are basically just walls with a crack in them that you hit with a hammer, then gems fly out, that’s it, and I love it. What I love is the focus on aspects that fans like, and the exclusion or simplification of others. Which is something that this game excels at.This game always has some kind of activity that you can do on each day. You can pretty much abandon farming “for the most part”, and just be a fisherman or a part-time worker. It’s up to to you. For me, I did a mix of each to fund the improvement of my farm.
The music is also one of those things I think this game excels at. It’s nice and soothing, but changes based on location, time of day and other aspects of your surroundings. This has always been a staple of this franchise that I’ve loved, and I’m happy it remains to this day. Being able to wake in the morning and hear that rain falling outside is probably the most exciting thing ever. It means I don’t have to tend to my crops that day which is nice. As for the farming itself, I have mixed feelings about it. I like the different fertilizers, and the variety of fruit trees, flowers and vegetables that can be found in the game, but I’m not a fan of the 9 grid farming system. Call me old fashioned, but I liked the individual plot styled of A wonderful life. The 9 grid plots somehow bother me, and I know it should, but it does. The animals are all unique and interesting, with different personalities, and there are so much different kinds of animals to choose from, each of which is unlocked periodically as you play and complete certain requirements.
As an overall package Story Of Seasons: Trio of Towns is addictively fun….
…That being said it’s not a title without flaws. I wish it was, but that’s not the reality. I’ll start with one of the smaller flaws and work my way to the more substantial ones.
Getting around towns: It takes a fairly noticeable amount of time to get around in this game, and though you can cheat the system by using the part-time job system (love the part-time jobs by the way), it’s still not that convenient. Now as mentioned, this is not a big issue, at least not to me, but I can see how it will annoy some players.
No skill required: Everything task in the game just requires tapping or holding the A button. Picking crops? Tap A, brushing animal fur? Hold A, cutting wood? Tap A… The A button does everything in this game, and after a while it can begin to feel tedious.
The Ludus Monopoly: Now don’t get me wrong, Ludus isn’t the only culprit of this, but he’s the biggest contributor so i named it after him. When you need to upgrade anything, from a too to your house/ farm, you need to go to Ludus with material that you have to buy from other characters, or struggle to find then pay him to do the job. I had to buy dirt, then pay a dude to turn it into a plot to farm on… That’s Bullocks! shouldn’t I just dig till I got a plot? This sort of time wasting monopoly is also present in the clothes making industry in the game. It seems like it’s just there to waste time, and that annoyed me. Not enough to affect my enjoyment of the game, but enough for me to mention it in this review.
All in all, I had an exceptional time playing Story Of Seasons: Trio of Towns. It’s a game that I will probably be playing for many more months in the future, which I see as a testament to how fun the game is. Like any other game it does have it’s flaws, but those flaws don’t affect the overall enjoyment that this game has to offer. I will even go so far as to say that this is probably the most approachable game in this franchise for newcomers. It manages to ride that line of not being too difficult, while also being challenging enough to keep you engaged throughout your time with it.
The copy of Story Of Seasons: Trio of Towns used for this review was provided to us by XSEED Games.