So here’s the thing, fine readers: I’ve never played a Story of Seasons game. What’s even more surprising is I haven’t played a farming simulator since the original Harvest Moon on SNES. So this review will be from the perspective of a newcomer to the series. If you’re also new to the franchise and feel intimidated by the large list of games that came before then this might just be the review you need to take that first step into the farming fandom.
Story of Season: Trio of Towns begins by picking your character’s gender and name. Additionally, there’s a small amount of facial expressions to choose from to give the character some personality. After the character creation, the story opens with your father letting the family know that you’ll all have to move because he got a new job. However, you want to stay put; Instead, you admit to your family that you want to become a farmer.
Even though your mom and sister are sad to see you go, they both support you since this has evidently been your dream from when you were younger. However, your dad only allows you to go through with your plans to prove that you can’t achieve your goals. In the end, they allow you to stay with your uncle who is already living the farmer lifestyle.
I’m sure a lot of gamers can relate to following their dreams even though their parents don’t understand. I really enjoyed this premise and held in the back of my mind that I was going to prove my in game father wrong and be the best damn farmer in the world.
Once you get settled in, your uncle sets you up with a small plot of land and you’re given free range to do what you want. The game doesn’t really set a pace for the player in the beginning or give them a goal to reach besides getting used to the controls. I don’t know if this was intentional, but it gave me enough time to learn the lay of the land without giving me a time limit.
During the first week of working on a farm, I had the chance to meet all the people of West Town and get to know them. I must admit that I spent the most time with the flower store owner, Lisette. Each person in town has their own personality and daily duties, whether it’s tending to a shop or delivering mail.
There’s also part time jobs that helped me get to learn everyone’s name. By doing tasks like delivering items or letters, I was able to quickly learn their routines in case I ever needed to find them. However, some of these jobs are obvious time wasters such as “pull ten weeds”. This is something I thought the person requesting could have easily done on their own.
Something truly great that Trio of Towns offers gamers like me, who are so used to heartbreaking stories or action packed mechanics, is that the game gave me a chance to slow down and relax while focusing on a schedule of daily activities. Every morning when my character woke up, I was greeted by smiling faces and my own tasks to complete before the day was over.
As the game progresses you are allowed to visit new towns with a new items and villagers to meet. There’s the seaside Lulucoco Town which offers great spots for fishing access to exotic fruit and there’s the traditional Asian inspired Tsuyukusa Village which offers rice and other grains to purchase.
This game is interesting because each town is culturally different. The NPC’s are constantly referencing things that are unique to their culture which would have made it challenging to localize. However, XSEED’s localization staff truly shows they are unmatched when it comes to these large text games.
Trio of Towns starts of fairly easy and steadily gets more difficult. I feel like the challenge in the game is getting the items required to purchase farm and tool upgrades. For example: Wood isn’t the easiest to come by and it’s definitely not very cheap, so I had to grow and chop down trees. This wouldn’t be so difficult if chopping trees using a standard axe didn’t drain your stamina at an alarming pace. However, there’s something satisfying about purchasing a sweet new upgrade to your farm that you worked hard to get.
I wont touch on story events, but there are days where certain scenes take place which sometimes introduce new items or events to attend. Although, my birthday passed in the game and no one threw me a surprise party which made me sad.
One of the biggest offerings in terms of major events is the chance to find romance. I was lucky enough to find my true love within the first hour of playing the game, but some may want to wait till other towns open up. Additionally, you can get your own pets which range from different breeds of cats, dogs, and other animals. There’s love for all here!
During every season there is a Harvest Festival where you’re allowed to submit your crops to be judged. Depending on the quality of the submission some pretty cool prizes are given out. After time, these become more difficult when the judges pay attention to other traits. Sadly, I was only able to compete in the beginner competitions, but one day i’ll be a legend, I’m sure.
Being new to the farming genre, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I’ve heard of people sinking 300+ hours into the other games in the series, but I never understood it, that is till now. After spending more than 3o hours in my own game, Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns serves as a great way to relax after a long day or before bed.
The game removes the stress of time limits and boss battles and instead presents itself as an easy going simulator that can be played at the pace of the player. I am happy to say that Trio of Towns is a game that I plan to continue to return to over time and become the best farmer I can be.