From someone who wanted to try their hand at the Harvest Moon series for a long time now, Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town seemed like a title that I would be interested in. With my only farming sim experience coming from Stardew Valley I wasn’t going into the franchise completely clueless. While the art style and the characters are extremely cute and appealing to the eye the gameplay struggles to keep up the pace as I found myself on an unusually tedious and long grind to make progress on my farm.
Starting, you create your farmer with only 4 characters to choose from and the only customization is being able to change your skin color. After that, you head over to your grandfather’s farm which you inherit from him, and you quickly learn the ins and outs of everyday farm life and how to grow/sell crops and produce. One of the things that I liked is that the game does hold your hand for a bit and walks you through the day-to-day process of running the farm and socializing with other characters so you don’t end up wasting a day and not being productive.
The biggest gripe that I have is that it takes forever to make a dent in the income that you receive when you sell your crops. There are certain upgrades you can add to your farm and tools which make your daily haul bigger but it takes a while to even do so. In the meantime, you’re stuck making minuscule profits. For example, if you upgrade your hoe you can till more of the land at once and if you upgrade your watering can it holds more water and allows you to water more crops at a time. The other way to make money is by going into the mines which act as dungeon floors full of different rocks and you essentially play Russian Roulette on whether you’re gonna get good gems or not. The bad thing about this is that mining does a number on your stamina and to move from floor to floor you have to use your hoe to find the ladder which as I said, uses your stamina. There have been multiple times where I wasted a day in the mines by running out of stamina so fast, to counter this you must stack up on recovery items. Fishing doesn’t take up too much stamina but just like mining, it’s pretty much based on luck whether you catch anything worth money. The whole process of fishing is dull and you will get bored of waiting for an exclamation point and pressing the “A Button”. You can own animals on your farm which also provide a good sum of income but they are extremely expensive and unless you have a good flow of income you’ll find yourself constantly going broke after you purchase one.
The saving grace for Friends of Mineral Town is the characters that you meet and interact with as all of them have very cute character designs and they are all uniquely different from each other. Characters such as Marie, the town’s librarian, and Gray, the apprentice blacksmith all have their own stories to tell and are just so charming and appealing to me to where I made it my goal to talk to them daily. There is also a romance system where you have to fill up a resident heart meter if you want them to like you. Since each character is unique from the other, each romanceable character has different likes and desires and it’s up to you to figure out what they like. It’s also worth noting that you can also marry a resident and even have children with them which I thought was a wholesome and sweet touch. As you go through the years different events will take place throughout the town such as cooking competitions, chicken fights, horse races, and more. The disappointing factor at hand is that you can be excluded from these events if you don’t have enough upgrades to your gear or your farm which causes you to wait until the event comes back around.
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town isn’t just what I thought it would be as I do love little simulation games. The gameplay itself just feels super repetitive and I feel that I gain little to nothing for my efforts. The sad thing is I can’t even find myself enjoying the grind it takes to make the money to get upgrades to be involved in certain town events. The characters alone are the saving grace for me but they alone can’t force me to stay in Mineral Town for too long.Become a Patron!
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox Series X/S. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.