Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns Review - Farmin' Ain't Easy
Having followed the Harvest Moon series since its inception, it’s been difficult for me to accept the new name Story of Seasons as the new face of the series going forward. But I was able to put my ideas of what the series should be behind me back in 2014 with the debut of Story of Seasons, and it was an excellent game. But it should be remembered that both Harvest Moon as an identity and Story of Seasons are inherently two different things now, what with Natsume owning the rights to the Harvest Moon name and continuing to publish new games. XSeed Games has published a new Story of Seasons title, Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns, and it’s a fantastic follow-up to its already content-rich predecessor. If you’re willing to put in the time, you’ll be rewarded with a deep farming adventure that’s got a little something for everyone.
But I’m A Farmer, Dad!
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns kicks off with your character realizing that it’s time for you to strike out on your own and realize your dream of becoming a farmer. Your father isn’t all about the idea, essentially pooh-poohing your hopes and dreams because he doesn’t think you’re actually capable of being a farmer. You’ve got to prove him wrong by leaving your parents’ home and setting out to Westown, where your uncle Frank is waiting to help you become the best darn farmer you can be.
Like a young whippersnapper being taught a craft by an experienced older colleague, you're introduced to the game mechanics and story quite slowly. Some might even say too slowly, since there's a massive amount of dialogue and plot development to wade through before you can even get started with the game in earnest. You'll be waiting about an hour before you can get through the introductory sequences, which may turn some players off. It's not an ideal game to get started on before bed or on a short commute, but once you're able to put the time in and get through, you'll be rewarded with a cavalcade of interesting and layered farming systems.
Living In A Farmer's Paradise
New this time around are several new mechanics that come attached to long and detailed tutorials. If you're noticing a theme here, that's nothing new. You'll have to do a whole lot of reading if you want to get anything done. But once you learn two important mechanics, you'll be good to go. Both farming and keeping friendly with the villagers you meet are the bread and butter of Trio of Towns, so the better you are at those things, the better you'll like the game as a whole.
By interacting with townsfolk and completing important tasks having to do with your farm and the other towns, you'll eventually shoot to raise your Town Link Rank for each town. Things are a little harder this time around because you're not only worrying about your own farm, but other towns' agricultural exploits as well. The game is broken up into activities that you'll complete in each "day" in-game that includes you working around the farm, picking up supplies from in town, hanging out with the locals, and working toward the goal of creating a farm that's self-sufficient and productive.
It's very much a game of time management, much like the older Harvest Moon titles. You'll need to watch out for your stamina meter as you perform certain tasks, which is an important part of the game. If you're not diligent when it comes to watching your stamina, your character will collapse and you'll have lost an entire day's work. When game time passes very quickly and shopkeepers as well as other vendors operate on a set schedule, this can very quickly become an issue. That's why you've got to stay on top of your game.
That's not all you'll have to worry about, though. You can go fishing, mine for resources, or even take on part time jobs that will end up getting you extra cash and improving your relationships with those around you. They aren't terribly complicated, but they're useful when you need more money or need to improve your relationship with the villagers. It can also act as a way to break up the monotony from time to time that you might eventually start feeling.
It wouldn't be a very harmonious life as a farmer if you didn't also get to interact with others, though. Each town has its own list of bachelors and bachelorettes you can choose from if you're looking for a partner to eventually marry. You can also adopt a pet to follow you around the farm. Both kinds of relationships need a special type of nurturing, and you'll need to talk to people, give gifts, and interact often to improve your rank. It's a welcome addition to the rest of what you're able to do in-game, especially when it comes to getting to know the characters your own can spend his or her life with.
A Story for the Seasons
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is an excellent addition to the already sprawling and exciting Story of Seasons franchise. Even though there's just one game for Story of Seasons proper, it's still part of the venerable Harvest Moon series, and there's so much to do in the game it may be off-putting and overwhelming at first. But the sheer breadth of things to do, interactions with other characters, unlockables, and attention to detail make Trio of Towns one farm simulator that's absolutely worth your time. Just make sure you've got the time to devote to it, especially since the first few hours of the game require the most reading and attention of all. If you can give it the TLC it requires, then you'll be rewarded with the best farming game since, well, the last Story of Seasons!