Everyone loves a peaceful farm simulator, from Animal Crossing to Harvest Moon, and beyond. The newest in this calming genre is Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town. The game has only been out for two weeks but has already garnered a lot of attention online.
The game is part of the fan favorite Harvest Moon series, known as Bokujo Monogatari in Japan. The first Harvest Moon game, created by Yasuhiro Wada, came out back in 1996 and was one of the first of many popular life simulation games. It has made a legacy of itself and has created multiple spin-offs, such as the Rune Factory series. It has now evolved into the Story of Seasons series.
I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Rune Factory 5, so the release of Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town snuck up on me. I was pleasantly surprised with the announcement of this game and decided to check it out and write a review of it while I wait for the RPG Rune Factory 5 game to release next month.
Also, since the game is pretty new, it’s sometimes hard to get answers to questions online, so I decided I’d also give some helpful tips to any prospective players as well.
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is a farm life simulation game as well as an RPG. You start out as a city girl/boy coming to claim the farm your late grandfather left behind. You fix it up while mingling with the people of Olive Town. You play through the different seasons while farming, fixing up your house, building barns, mining, and so much more. You will also grow closer to the people of the town and even fall in love, get married, and have kids. There is also a new divorce option as well.
The game is a single-player game for the Nintendo Switch and has been released by Marvelous/XSEED. It has a lot of similar elements with the other Story of Seasons games, but it also has some new adventure elements to it as well.
One of the fun new aspects of this game is that little forest sprites are sometimes found scurrying around your farm. When you reach a certain point in the game (pretty early on), you will have the opportunity to go to their special forest sprite garden. You will also be able to transport to other magical locations as well. These little sprites also help you by giving you resources. This is also where you can release any farm animals you decide to if needed.
There are ten romance options for your character (five male and five female). You can romance whichever character you want, regardless of gender. The romance options are as follows:
You will want to improve your relationship with each person you want to try to romance. You should technically improve your relationship, both platonic and romantic, with everyone in town, but you don’t have to. In order to get married, however, you will need to work to obtain your romantic connection (lol).
You can improve your relationship with people by talking with them and giving them gifts. Each person has his or her own preference for gifts, and if you give them one of their preferences, your relationship will develop a little more quickly. You can only give them one gift a day.
Each time a heart fills up for one of your friendships or romantic interests, you will be given a cut scene involving you and that person. These are especially fun when choosing which romance interest you want to pursue.
You need to reach six hearts in order to confess your love to your romantic interest. You will need to buy a “confession pendant” at the general store and then give it to them. Once you reach ten hearts, you can give them a “blue feather” and get married. You just have to be sure to have a log house. Log houses also allow you to have one pet as well; if you want two pets you’ll need to build a bigger house.
Tips on resources and crafting
There is so much that goes into this game, but some of the most important information to have before starting out is that you have a set number of hearts that shows your energy level. Sometimes you’ll pass out even before those hearts have all depleted when you’re working, so you’ll need to be mindful of when your character says he/she is tired. You will need to eat or rest (taking a bath helps somewhat as well, I believe).
In order to produce lumber, iron/silver ingots, and many other resources, you will need to create “makers”. Makers are little machines that you can craft in your inventory and then place on your farm. You put things into them and create new things after a few minutes. For instance, you can put eggs from your chickens into a mayonnaise maker and get mayonnaise to sell, make food with, or even give us a gift (if you feel so inclined).
You will need lumber for a lot of things, so make sure you chop down different types of trees for either “regular logs” or “solid logs” so you can make “lumber” and “solid lumber”. If you are unsure what resources you’ll need to make things, you can check the crafting tab in your inventory. Some things require glass or refined coal, and these things can only be crafted in your crafting tab.
Be sure to mine. Your mines also go down pretty much indefinitely. If you smash all the rocks in your mine, each level will have another ladder to travel down. If you can’t find what you need on one level, you’ll likely find one on another. Or perhaps in a different mine.
Just some quick tips about animals:
Only one kind of animal can go in each barn. Chickens can go in chicken coops, and other animals such as cows and sheep, can go in livestock barns. However, you can’t put two different types of livestock in the same barn. You need a different barn for each animal.
You also need a special kind of barn to be able to breed your animals. You have to unlock the proper skill for this and also have the necessary tools to create it. Be sure to always pet your animals and keep them fed.
Even without breeding, you’ll still get eggs from your chickens.
Be sure to utilize what you get from your animals as much as possible. If you make mayonnaise makers, yogurt makers, butter makers, etc., you will be able to make a lot of money each day. So, save those eggs, that milk, that wool, etc. You can make them into something else and sell them (by sending them away in the box on your farm) for a lot more. (Sometimes I just sell the wool as is though because it takes longer to make things with it.)
How it stacks up with other games in the genre
I personally like Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons games more than Animal Crossing because you can control the rate at which your days/weeks/months go by and have romance options. I have also found it easier to progress through the story and obtain goals in these games rather than Animal Crossing. Part of that is probably due to the fact that these games aren’t in real-time, but Animal Crossing is.
To be clear, I enjoy both Animal Crossing and Story of Seasons. I love the charm and the peaceful settings in both games, as well as all the other parts of Animal Crossing that make that game fun. I’m just more of a Story of Seasons/Rune Factory fan because you can proceed at your own pace, have romance options, and do more RPG-style events. For instance, Rune Factory 4 has a main quest and side quests for fun fantasy fighting as well. You can even go on quests to fight monsters with your love interest.
I also like the chibi anime art style in these games as well. I especially loved the option for creating a family in it as well.
I really enjoy playing this game. I like the variety of things to do and being able to set my own pace of the days and seasons. I always find the events each season to be something to look forward to, and I really liked being able to romance the different characters and see the fun cut scenes.
Something I didn’t like about the cut scenes was that each bachelor/bachelorette has his/her own theme. So, whenever you are having a cut scene with that person, their theme plays. You wouldn’t think this would be an issue, but sometimes their theme didn’t align with the moment and made for an awkward mood. For instance, Ralph has a very adventurous-sounding theme, so it killed the date vibe when my character was drinking soda with him at his table while epic music played in the background.
Also, I wished the romance parts could have been a little more romantic. I understand that your character isn’t necessarily romancing every candidate even when you reach the cut scenes of those bachelors/bachelorettes, but I would have liked the scenes to get a little more romantic each time. And I think it would have been good for the characters to start acting a little warmer to each other during day-to-day encounters if their hearts have gone up.
Overall, I was happy with the romance aspect of the game and found it really fun. I liked reaching the cut scenes and deciding which characters to romance. I thought it was a fun touch and gave me something to do on top of my farming, mining, and other activities.
Also, the art in this game is adorable. I mean, look at these cows:
I highly recommend playing this game if you enjoy life/farming simulation games. You don’t just farm and hang out. You can talk to people around town, fill their requests, mine, build new facilitates and raise new animals, go fishing, adventure to fantastical lands with the forest sprites, cook food, and even visit real people’s farms around the world (much like in Animal Crossing).
I really liked the social aspect of the game, but I found myself having fun making the “makers” and creating all sorts of things, such as dairy products, thread, wool, and more. There is a lot for everyone, and with so much to do, there is a lot of fun to be had. And if you want the days to speed by in the game, you can just keep putting your character to sleep (just be sure to tend to your farm and animals if you choose to speed things up this way).
So, if you are looking for a fun, relaxing, low-stress game to add to your gaming collection, pick up Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town and start your own adventure now.
Have you played Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town? What did you like about it? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter.