09/04/2021

๐Ÿฎ Story Of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town | Review | Nintendo Switch | 7/10 | "Take Over a Knackered Farm and Hoe it Back to Glory" ๐Ÿฎ @XSEEDGames #StoryofSeasonsPioneersofOliveTown

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The newest entry in the game series that began as Harvest Moon back in 1996, Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town sees your character take over a knackered farm and hoe it back to glory.

Whilst I personally preferred this over Animal Crossing: New Horizons due to its pure single-player focus as well as it being slightly more ‘quest’ oriented, some time-consuming grinds and limitations hold the game back from really being the cream of the crop.

After choosing the name and gender of your character, you’ll be introduced to the mayor who gives you the basic tools you’ll be needing to get your farm back up and running.

After some exploring, it became clear that there was a lot more to the farm than met the eye and I’d either need some serious cash or materials to unlock it all.

After checking around the town, meeting the other folk and planting and watering some potatoes, I sorted out a coop and bought a chicken called Nigel – named after the protagonist of Landstalker, natch – and was ultimately left requiring 15 lumber to fix a dodgy bridge and expand the farm.

As much as I was enjoying the visuals, presentation, cute factor and music, I couldn’t work out how to get the lumber for this bridge. I checked out the carpenter, general store and toolmaker as well as pottering around on my farm and eventually realised I had to make a lumber machine from within an in-game pause menu, which created one lumber from logs of wood every minute or so and this is where the game felt a bit at odds with the quick-punch charms of the other sections such as the mining and farming. 

What it boils down to is that you feel you may as well build a load of lumber and ore machines on your farm and grind out the materials you need which sort of takes the fun away from the more casual aspects. Having a load of identical machines pumping out things like a factory on this quaint, rural farm seems odd and a bit….well..mechanical.

Aside from this, the usual aspects of cooking, managing stamina, upgrading tools and exploring are all standard fare. I do enjoy the chatter between the citizens of Olive Town and the focus on improving it to make it a getaway from city life as you sell produce made on your ever-expanding farm but those artificial grind points really feel like fun blockers.

The quest-based upgrades and bulletin-board side quests available from the town hall kept me engaged and made the game feel pacey but the use of slow-burn machines to create vital components and items really jarred with me.

The level of customisation is quite light, as well. Whilst you can upgrade your tent into a more robust, larger home and change clothing and furniture, it feels quite restrictive in terms of what you can do and where things can be placed which is a shame as I know that a sense of full customisation is a huge draw for people in this particular genre.

"Right, I’m off to milk Alisdair, Alan

and Cecil."

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