Sorry in Advance for the Cow Puns
I’ve been a Story of Seasons (or Harvest Moon, if you will) fan for a long time. My first experience dates all the way back to the era of Harvest Moon 64, and, while I can honestly say that I didn’t understand everything back then, it was still enjoyable enough to cement me into the series fandom permanently. Unfortunately, despite being a fan of the series, I didn’t get to play every single game. Sure, I tried my best to, but life just has a way of ripping quality video game time away from you—and, wouldn’t you know it, Friends of Mineral Town for the Game Boy Advance was one of those missed experiences.
Fortunately, the folks over at Marvelous and XSEED Games decided to breathe new life into the old GBA game with Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town. And, while I know that not everything is the same now as it was back then, I can confidently say that nearly everything that I’ve experienced thus far has been nothing short of a great time. Also, I can wear a Cow Costume, which is pretty neat. Weird, but neat.
The Utter Joys of Farming
So, as I’ve already said, this is my first-ever experience with Friends of Mineral Town. But that’s not all; this is also my first-ever experience playing a Story of Seasons game on the PC! Really, that last one probably isn’t much of a shocker. I mean, what, there’s a Doremon spin-off and that Light of Hope game, and that’s it? I guess that doesn’t really matter, though; the point I’m trying to make is that this is a new experience for me. Now, I’ll be honest with you; PC is pretty much always my last choice, and I was worried that I wouldn’t like this game as much as I would have had I been able to snag a Switch copy. But, I might have actually been wrong about this one, because the PC version is kind of great. At least so far.
Farming is (almost) everything in Story of Seasons, so easy and comfortable mechanics and controls are key when it comes to examining this game. Is everything perfect? Admittedly, no; I feel like you run out of stamina really easily, and, while this isn’t technically a mechanic, your character’s footsteps are ungodly loud (especially during rainy days, when no music plays). Other than that, though, everything’s just peachy! Not only are farming controls easy to manipulate thanks to the multiple item wheels, but playing with a keyboard and mouse adds an additional layer of UI functionality—a feature which, while not necessary, makes daily farm choice easy-breezy. Admittedly, the farm life in this game has been kind of a slow start, at least for me, but everything that I’ve done so far (most of which has been done while dressed as a cow) has been comfortable and stress-free. For me, anyway. Ol’ Pete’s gotten pretty close to passing out a few times.
Inter-moo-ngling With the Locals
Technically speaking, you don’t have to dabble in the whole “relationship development” department at all if you don’t want to. However, seeing as how it comprises such a huge chunk of what the game has to offer, I’d probably tell you that you were weird if you didn’t give it a go. To that extent, Mineral Town itself is nice. No, it’s neither as advanced nor diverse as, say, Trio of Towns in terms of the amount of content that it has to offer, but I’m taking that with a major grain of salt (and I believe that everyone else should, too). Yes, there are some obvious additions made, but you’ve got to keep in mind that the original script that they were working with for this game was taken from a Game Boy Advance title made almost two decades ago. And, in that regard, I would say that it’s done quite well.
Despite the general cutesy-ness of it all, the citizens of Mineral Town are surprisingly deep. Among the pleasantries and how-do-you-dos are surprisingly deep bits of dialogues, and even story arcs, surrounding topics like questioning faith, marital woes, and alcoholism. And, while these certainly aren’t at the focal point of the game, the fact that they’re there at all is a testament to the fact that this game isn’t afraid to approach more dire topics in its own, unique way.
I’m far from being able to say that I’ve experienced everything that Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town has to offer, but I’m happy to say that what I have experienced is absolutely delightful. Sure, it might take some getting used to for die-hard fans of the original (yes, I’m well aware of the differences that exist between the two versions), but everything that it does I’ve been very taken with. So far, so good!