Game: Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town
Genre: farming simulation
System: Nintendo Switch
Developers|Publishers: XSeed Games|Marvelous
Price: USD $49.99|AUD $ 79.95|CAD $ 62.99|UK £42.99|EU €49,99
Age Rating: US E10+| EU 12+
Release Date: July 10th 2020 (Europe), July 14th 2020 (America)
Many thanks to Decibel PR for providing us with the review code!
Receiving an official letter from the office of Mayor Thomas is kinda special. I mean, look at his logo with his very distinct high hat! Of course, it was sad that grandfather has passed away, but at the same time an exiting moment: his land was bequeathed to me! Fallen in disrepair, yes. And not an animal to be found. And I’d have to go it alone…but still, an exciting adventure waited for me! Let’s head to Mineral Town!
A newly polished game
Back in 2003 Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town came to the Nintendo GameBoy Advance and quickly became a fan favorite. Fast forward the time to 2020, and a remake of this game combined with its successor More Friends of Mineral Town comes to the Nintendo Switch.
Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town follows the story of both these older games and has updated it to the current gaming age. It brings new graphics, a choice to play as a boy or a girl and a choice between the older style avatar or the newer, chibi-fied cutesy farmers. The entire game has had a graphic overhaul, bringing it up to date to more recent farming games.
If you’ve followed my gaming exploits over the years, then you will know I’m very partial to good graphics in a game. My own first ever Harvest Moon game was Harvest Moon DS, simply because it was the only one available to me at the time. When Harvest Moon progressed over time I followed, never looking back. The better the graphics, the better the game. I can say I’m pretty thrilled at the style of the game: I love the cutesy graphics!
All the staples of a farming game are there
If you’re a fan of farming games you’ll know just what to expect: you start out with next to nothing, and you’re on your own. You can start tilling the land, but get some money first by selling your weeds and things you can However, Friends of Mineral Town does give you a choice to start your farming life with a little extra help by choosing easy mode. It gives you some turnip seeds and a bit of pocket money to get going.
Knowing what you can expect can help in your enjoyment of Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town: farming, mining, socializing, keeping animals & dating. This is a farming game pur sang: no questing, no fighting, no building, no exploring. Mineral Town isn’t big and there aren’t any other parts of the virtual world to explore. Your fun comes from making an efficient farm and earning gold as you go to upgrade your house, barns and chicken coop. As soon as you can, start collecting everything from wood to stone and make sure you have crops in your fridge to cook with.
Once you know what to expect, you will find that Friends of Mineral Town is good at the typical farming game elements. There are plenty festivals and things to discover that make the game interesting. The chatter of the villagers is mildly interesting and feels less hollow to me than is does in earlier games in the series.
Being a benevolent neighbour
Another important part of the game is romance, and building friendships with everyone in town. Friends of Mineral Town offers plenty of opportunities to get known as the social and benevolent neighbour that you want to portray. There are animal contests, a fetch competition with your beloved pet and cooking a big pot of stew together on the village square while you get to know everyone better.
It is what progresses the game, and it is what usually is my downfall in every Harvest Moon or Story of Seasons game. I tend to find fun in managing the farm, and with all that needs to be done, there isn’t much time left to catch all my neighbours during their available time slots.
Luckily, the Harvest Sprites are a great presence in Friends of Mineral Town: if you them gifts fitting to their own colour (for example honey for the yellow sprite) and in time they will be more than happy to help at the farm. they will tend the animals, harvest the crops or, most importantly, water the seeds. Not that they are very efficient, but you can’t complain about free help!
Once you have set your sights on a love interest, be it a boy or a girl, you can have extra fun in wooing them. Getting married, having children and just…living the virtual life.
Controls and comparisons
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town feels right at home on the Switch. The controls work well and the shortcuts used for you tools or items in your backpack do the job. Of course, as is usually the case in farming games, you have to get a bigger backpack ASAP, as well as a bigger cabinet, fridge etc.
Funnily enough, there was a time when a certain game developer was inspired by old Harvest Moon games to make a loving tribute to them in the form of Stardew Valley. Now, several years later, Stardew Valley has had such huge success that it seems to be setting the bar for many people comparing Friends of Mineral Town to it.
I’m not sure how the fans of Stardew Valley will view Friends of Mineral Town. While I thoroughly enjoyed Stardew Valley, I wished it wasn’t so retro in its graphics. This Story of Seasons game feels much less serious and punishing. No need to get all worked up from losing stamina before the day is out. There are no punishments, and there’s a hot spring nearby that will solve your problems, provided you have time enough.
Looking at earlier Story of Seasons games on the 3DS, I must confess I miss the crafting part that was so essential since Story of Seasons: A New Beginning. But, as I stated earlier, this is a farming simulation pur sang.
I am enjoying my time in Friends of Mineral Town. The game is charming, the characters feel real and who can resist those round cute chickens and cows? No doubt this game will bring many happy memories to gamers who started their gaming life playing this game on their GBA. If, like me, you have never played it before, you can expect a good farming sim on the Switch.
It doesn’t have the building aspect of earlier Story of Seasons games and if you are a Stardew Valley fan, you may find it too lighthearted.
But Friends of Mineral Town is a good Story of Seasons entry with heaps of nostalgia to boot. Already took the leap and own the game? Then we are building a set of guides here!
Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot