A while back I reviewed Return to PoPoLoCrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale, a crossover between the PoPoLoCrois and Story of Seasons series. Before that I had never played any of the games in the Harvest Moon series or the previous Story of Seasons. When I got the opportunity to check out Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns for the 3DS, I figured I’d give it a shot. Raise some animals, harvest some crops, what can go wrong? Thankfully the game does what it can to keep you on the right track to a successful life as a farme. With the Bokujo Monogatari series hitting its twentieth anniversary in the US, let’s dive into Story of Seasons: A Trio of Towns.
When you first start up a new game you have a bit of customization you can do with your character. You can choose either a male or female and can change a couple of things such as your eye color and facial expression. The game then begins with you watching a few memories unfold from your early childhood before coming to present times and a family meeting. Your father has announced that the family has to move again due to his job. As you’ve just become an adult you figure this is the perfect time to announce that you want to become a farmer. While your father initially rejects the notion and you two get into a little spat, he eventually gives in and sends you to Westown to meet with his little brother Frank who’ll get you up and running. With that said, you take the trip and begin your life anew as a farmer in Westown.
Story of Sesons: Trio of Towns has two difficulty settings; one is for veteran farmers who have experience with the series, while the other is for those new to the series and makes things a little easier such as lowering prices in the shops by a decent amount and having various tasks consume less stamina. Furthermore, regardless of which setting you choose the game will definitely make sure you get off on the right foot. At any point during the day before 12:00 (the game uses twenty-four hour time) you can speak to Frank to get information on anything you’ve already learned including the basics of raising crops. As the days progress someone will occasionally come by and teach you some more about working on the farm or how to perform a new task. When it comes to raising crops, each crop you plant will tell you how long it takes to raise it and, in some cases, how long you can keep harvesting it. Simply put, this game does whatever it can to make sure you know what you’re doing.
Once you master raising and selling crops to get you some income, you can begin buying different types of seeds to raise different crops or plants, as well as purchasing livestock to harvest items such as milk and eggs. While eager farmers will want to do everything they can and not waste any time, you’ll want to be careful not to overdo things and exhaust yourself. Each farming action you take uses up some stamina and if you happen to run out, you’ll collapse and wake up the next day. Stamina can be refreshed by eating food, either some that you make or purchase, or by going to bed for the day. If you happen to run out of stamina, you’ll collapse and the day will automatically end. Probably not the best idea if you still have some stuff to do, so if you’re running low on stamina you might want to head over to the restaurant in town to refresh yourself.
Raising and selling crops isn’t the only way to make money. In the main part of town you’ll find a part-time job service that will let you do some side jobs for the town residents to make a little extra money. Some jobs are as easy as pulling weeds or harvesting someone’s crops, while others have you delivering packages and shipping various amounts of goods to the town. Each job completed will earn you a paycheck the next day (some will pay you right away) and will usually give you a bit of a bonus as well. You won’t get rich off of these but it’s a nice way to supplement the income you get from selling crops.
As you may have guessed by the subtitle of the game, there are a total of three towns to visit but only Westown is available by default. At a couple different intervals in the game you’ll gain access to the other towns, each with their own unique style. While Westown has more of a Wild West setting, Lulukoko looks like an island paradise while Tsuyukusa has a far-eastern motif. This gives you access to more things to buy, more part-time jobs to take on, and other things like adding on to your house and improving the look and functionality of your farm. In fact, the game actually has achievements that can keep track of what you’ve done so far and will show you just how much there really is to do in the game, from winning festivals to courtship and having kids. Each town also has a town rank that will increase when you do things for that town such as part time jobs and shipping various items that you harvest. Progressing far enough in the game will open up the online features of the game which lets you meet up and trade items with other farmers either locally or via wifi.
Aside from farming, another goal is to make friends and acquaintances with the various residents in the towns. Your house will have a calendar with the birthdays of various residents as well as special events such as Harvest Festivals where you can enter the crops you’ve harvested into a contest. You can also give the residents gifts to help increase your friendship with them. While I haven’t found a way to check your friendship status with someone through the menus unless I’m just missing something, hitting L near someone will have them say something and usually give off some sort of indication as to whether or not you need to increase your friendship with them. As stated earlier you can even enter into relationships with certain NPCs. Sadly I haven’t quite found the right girl for me yet, but I’m working on it.
Story of Seasons: A Trio of Towns was a fun experience for me as a newcomer to the series (well, the games that are full-on farming sims that is) and I definitely recommend it for casual players and series veterans alike. At first the game started off rather slowly (once I got past the intro story that took several minutes to sit through) as I basically prepared some dirt for harvesting crops, planted some seeds, watered them, went to bed, and repeated for a few days until Uncle Frank had some more words of wisdom to impart on me. After a week or two had gone by I had no shortage of things to do or crops to raise, so it does pick up rather quickly. Between raising crops and livestock to improving friendships amongst the three towns, there’s no shortage of things to do and I had fun doing every single one of them.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.