Story of Seasons: A Trio of Towns is the latest addition to the farming and life simulator series formerly known as Harvest Moon. Developed by Marvelous, Trio of Towns packs in all of the farming, animal rearing, and romancing game play that fans know and love, but mixes things up by allowing you to explore and socialize in three differently themed towns. With Story of Seasons about to celebrate its 20th anniversary in the west, now is a great time to find out what makes these games so addicting.
At its core, the story of Trio of Towns is about learning the ropes of farming as you strive to take yourself from humble beginnings to successful crop master. Your character dreams of owning their own farm, and naturally, when you confess this to your in-game parents, they don’t think you have what it takes. After some persuasion, your parents agree to let you strike out on your own with the help of your uncle, Frank, who happens to be a farmer and lives nearby. With the noble mission of proving your parents wrong, you begin your life on the farm, ready to make a name for yourself.
The visual style of Story of Seasons is cutesy, with chibi-like characters, bright colors, and nicely drawn character portraits for the game’s dialog. There are plenty of details in all of the environments you explore, and each one has its own unique look and feel to it. The music compliments the graphical style well, as there are plenty of bright and cheerful tracks to match the inviting atmosphere of the game.
As part of the life simulation genre, the game play is what you make of it, and there is plenty for you to do. The main focus, of course is on raising crops and animals so you can turn the products they produce into a profit. To do this, you’ll have a variety of tools at your disposal to work the land. Tools can be used by simply tapping or holding down the A button, and there is a handy quick tool select menu you can access by pressing the L button. The game does a great job of teaching new players all the basics, and veterans of the series will be right at home with the controls.
Once you get a handle on maintaining your farm, you’ll want to explore the surrounding areas near you, as gathering materials is integral to upgrading your farm. There are minerals to mine, lumber to chop, and ingredients to find and make use of. This is where the joy of the open-ended game play comes from, as it’s great fun to plan out what upgrades you want to make to your farm or equipment, and then make it your goal to collect all the necessary components.
All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy, however, and while working your farm is important, there are plenty of things for you to do to relax. From hunting for insects and fish, to cooking, to socializing with the townsfolk, each activity has its own merits. Cooking allows you to prepare meals that restore your stamina, and this in turn lets you do more work with your tools. Hunting bugs will net you some nice rewards, while fishing will give you cooking ingredients or product to sell. Socializing, however, is arguably the most important. Whether it’s speaking with someone or doing chores for them, all interactions with a certain town will increase your affinity ranking with them. Raising a town’s rank will give you access to new goods to purchase, so it’s important to the progression of the game. Just like all other entries in the series, you can even find the guy or girl of your dreams and court them before eventually starting a family.
As the title suggests, Trio of Towns features three separate towns for you to explore. You’ll visit a western town, a tropical fishing village, and an oriental-inspired city. Each area has its own schedule and goods to offer, so planning your visits to coincide with the shops opening is important. On the plus side, it also means there is always something interesting for you to do, no matter what the in-game time is at.
While Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns may start off slowly, the game really opens up and gives you a lot to do with the limited amount of time your character has for the work day. On top of raising your farm and gathering materials, there are festivals with contests to participate in, as well as decorations and buildings to customize your farm with. All of the activities you can choose to participate in can get surprisingly deep, and figuring out how to use items in order to get the best quality products from your farm to sell or use in contests is satisfying. For veterans of the series or gamers who enjoy games such as Animal Crossing, Trio of Towns has plenty to offer you and is a great game to relax with. If open-ended games aren’t your thing, however, you might want to look elsewhere.
Review: Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns (3DS)
Although it does take awhile for the game to pick up, the sheer amount of things to do more than makes up for it. For a relaxing game that lets you set your own goals, Trio of Towns satisfies.