Love and adventure down on the farm.

Originally released for the Nintendo DS in 2009, Rune Factory 3 is back for the Switch with more to offer. In this interactive life simulation game, you play as a young adventurer, Micah, who finds himself in a small town with no memory of who he is or how he got there. Shara, the mayor’s daughter, takes him in, gives him a home, and teaches him the way of life in their village.

Throughout Rune Factory 3 Special, you interact with the villagers, grow crops, fight monsters, explore the lands surrounding you, and much more. However, the key element is the story it tells, and the secrets Micah must keep, such as the fact that he’s part monster. In a town where monsters are feared and hated, it is up to Michah to restore the friendship and peace these two once had in the past.

The first thing Shara helps you with is identifying the different things in your home. She shows you how to use your storage, save your game, check the calendar, and sleep. She also shows you the town’s farm, which is now your responsibility. She teaches you how to clean it up, how to collect the materials that spawn there, how to keep or sell them, and how to store lumber. She also teaches you how to use farming tools, and even how to fight. This segment is the main tutorial for the game, and is really helpful.

She also shows you how to interact with people and gives some tips on how to raise your friendship level with them. This is important, considering you can eventually marry one of the bachelorettes. She also shows you how to help villagers with tasks and earn money.

Earning money is important as it helps you upgrade your tools and armor, which inevitably allows you to grow stronger, fight tougher monsters, explore more dangerous lands, and gather better loot and materials.

You can use these loot and materials as gifts for villagers, or you can sell them for money, which then continues the cycle.

Rune Factory 3 Special is all about upgrading yourself, your town, and your relationships to thrive. You have many different skills you can upgrade simply by using them. Sleeping every night allows you to skill up in that. You can skill up in fighting, and also fishing, cooking, farming, and even walking. It can be challenging at times, very slow at other times, or absolutely chaotic. But it’s never boring. Even on days where you may not have a whole lot to do, interacting with villagers is always fun. They each have their own personalities and traits that make them unique.

Although everything listed before are key elements of the game, the main goal is to reunite the people of Sharance (the town in which you now reside) with the monsters of Univir. Doing this takes time and requires building your relationships and trust with both parties greatly, but it’s worth the time as it creates some special moments and fun playthroughs.

The graphics of Rune Factory 3 Special are very pretty with lots of different settings and characters to look at and explore. It combines a 3D and 2D style which is very interesting. There’s a good variety of weather and biomes to check out, so the game never feels old. It even has smooth animations and fun music which allows the game to be very enjoyable.

The controls are fairly simple, too. This is nice, since there’s a lot to cover in the game. In addition to the helpful tutorial at the beginning, there are more later on as you learn more things, especially combat moves. You move around with the L-stick, and interact with objects and use tools with A and B. You can access your inventory, map, and other things with buttons such as the plus button or the D-pad. These are all explained early on, and a page in the settings menu shows the button mapping, as well, in case you ever forget.

Rune Factory 3 Special is an extremely hands-on and fun game that features a little bit of everything. Following Michah on his journey of self-discovery is touching and eventful, and really allows you to immerse yourself in the game. While it’s not the most unique game out right now, it makes for a fun throwback for fans of the DS game and a worthwhile adventure for those experiencing it for the first time.