By now, most Harvest Moon fans are aware of what happened to their beloved series. For dozens of years, the Bokujo Monogatari series was brought to English-speaking gamers under the “Harvest Moon” brand. That changed as XSEED Games started handling the release stateside under the new name of Story of Seasons. It was initially a scary time for lovers of the series, but when Story of Seasons arrived on 3DS in 2014, fans of the series realized everything would be fine. Now it’s almost time for Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns to arrive on store shelves (and on the Nintendo eShop).
Regardless of whether you got on board with Harvest Moon years ago or only once it arrived as Story of Seasons, you’re already decently aware of how the game will proceed. At the start, players are introduced to a family with a child who desperately wants to become a farmer. As such, they finally make good on their dream and move to Westown. This wild west-themed locale is wondrously rural and leaves lots of space for your very first farm. The townsfolk are welcoming with an ever-present willingness to chat and offer advice. Over the first few days and weeks, you’ll get accustomed to this new pace of life.
At the start you’re given the option of skipping past a lot of tutorials if you’ve played farming sims before. However, newbies are also welcome! By opting into tutorials you will receive a great deal of handholding early on to explain the many systems at play in Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns. After a while, navigating the interface, knowing which tools to use, and how to tend to animals becomes second nature. Of course, not everything is about you and your farm. There’s also the matter of goings on throughout the towns. There are in fact a “trio” of towns which become accessible as you continue to play. Jumping into these other locations offers greater access to exclusive crops, special flowers, fish, and a bevy of new people to interact with.
Just like any other Bokujo Monogatari game, you just so happen to be the person who can aid the town in all manner of ways. The most mundane aspect of this comes in the form of doing chores for everyone. Chores include brushing livestock, pulling weeds, or ferrying packages between folks because they’re too lazy to do it themselves. Sometimes things get weird, such as when you offer yourself as a test subject to an oddball doctor. Other times, you’ll wander right into humorous story bits. Really, it’s the regular sprinkling of storytelling and characterization which always bring these games to life. Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is no slouch in this department.
In fact, it really feels like the storytelling and localization has improved from the first Story of Seasons. It would have been easy to write off the three towns in stereotypical fashion but that isn’t the case. This means the pool of available bachelors and bachelorettes is an intriguing bunch as well. The one disappointment with this release is that the series is still not ready to tackle same sex relationships. In either case, the best way to woo your dream date is simply to interact with them and give them presents. There’s little which has changed about the aspect of finding romance in the series.
Anyone with a taste for multiplayer will be excited by Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns’ multiplayer mode. It offers players the ability to play locally, online with strangers, or online with people from their 3DS friends list. Once in the special area, you’ll then be able to gift items to each other or even use an item changer. Supposedly, utilizing the item changer here might just offer up rarer items than what you can grab the main single player game.
Anyone who loves Harvest Moon and/or the first Story of Seasons should absolutely pick up Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns if they weren’t already planning on it when it launches on February 28. Just like the first game, it appears this one will provide dozens of hours of gameplay as you work on your farm, interact with everyone from the three towns and eventually marry the man or woman of your farmer dreams. Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns will help remind gamers just how special the Bokujo Monogatari series remains and that it is impossible to replicate how charming and relaxing it truly is.