Review: The days are just packed in Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns

Spring is coming. It’s the perfect time of year to begin planning what we’ll plan, sow and reap over the months to come. Which is to say, Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is arriving at the perfect time. Nintendo 3DS owners have a stretch ahead of them with few games in sight; something as substantial as this is much appreciated. After all, a standard Bokujou Monogatari installment is something you can play for weeks or months without pause. and Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns amps up the available activities and interactions.

As with many installments in this series, Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns begins with a young man or woman who loves the rustic lifestyle. However, their family is forced to constantly move due to their father’s job. This time, you resist. Instead, you head to visit your Uncle Frank, a farmer, and set up homestead outside the towns of Westown, Lulukoko and Tsuyukusa. You get your own small farm with a shanty, handful of fields and basic barn and chicken coop. It’s enough to establish yourself as you discover which specialty you want to pursue and connect with the people around you.

There’s a natural progression to Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns. You tend crops when you first wake up. This means tilling the soil, planting seeds, watering sprouts and harvesting fully grown crops and flowers. From there, you can head into your barns and coops to tend to livestock. This involves brushing, milking and talking to animals like buffalos and cows, brushing, sheering and comforting alpacas and sheep and picking up chickens and quails. With the most important tasks out of the way, you can set your own little routines. Different towns can be visited to frequent shops. It’s possible to take part-time jobs that involve making deliveries, shipping certain products and pressing the A button for about a minute for a few hundred dollars. You can talk to important people, ones with portraits, to form relationships. Depending on the town you’re in, you could even fish, gather or mine. Once evening sets in, you head home, probably save and go to bed so you can start it all over again in the morning.

Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is a huge game, one that could have been incredibly complex and technical, but Marvelous has gone out of its way to make it more manageable.

Let’s get this out of the way as soon as possible. Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is a huge game, one that could have been incredibly complex and technical, but Marvelous has gone out of its way to make it more manageable. Even in the first few in-game weeks, you could have a hoe, watering can, scythe, ax, hammer, fishing rod, pitchfork, milker and brush. Pressing the right trigger lets you easily equip what you need. There are fast travel options to get you quickly from town to town. There are part-time jobs, all of which take no more than two minutes, to provide additional funds. Mining is as simple as hammering at a designated point a few times. Upgrade requirements are clearly defined for tools and buildings. Animals’ traits and skills are clearly noted. Everything is right in front of you, accessible and understandable. It’s much appreciated, given the variety of crops and livestock and ability to have beekeeping boxes, fish hatcheries, mushroom logs, rice paddies and what are basically basement greenhouses.

The three towns themselves are a huge part of Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns’ experience. Of course, you probably gathered that from the title. Westown, Lulukoko and Tsuyukusa each have their own hallmarks, products and even weather systems. Despite being literal footsteps away from each other, they’re different and dynamic places. The game goes out of its way to show the influence you have over each one. Every interaction you have with a place, be it economical or personal, boosts your rank with that town. As you raise it by doing jobs, participating in community events, getting to know people and shipping products, you basically improve your standing in the community.

This Town Rank system is perhaps the most ingenious part of Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns. I’ll be honest here; I don’t play Harvest Moon games indefinitely. My goal isn’t to resurrect the goddess or restore the lands. I want to get the best house, find myself a man, build a family and have a full fleet of perfectly happy animals. Once I tick all those boxes, I’m done. The Town Rank system means you’re always unlocking more shops, events, crops, activities and things that make it worth coming back to the game. Since there are three towns, each with their own separate rank, it could probably take you months before you’re a beloved member of every community. But, you never feel like you have to go out of your way to work toward being everyone’s favorite person. It happens gradually and naturally.

Did I mention earlier that Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is huge? Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is huge. There are 40 people you might be able to interact with on a daily basis. From what I’ve seen, there are over 70 kinds of crops, each with golden and giant varieties if you manage to fertilize and care for them well enough to get giant or golden versions. When you pick a pet, you can choose from various breeds of cats, dogs and even capybaras; oh, and your Soul Pet can help you talk to other animals and pets. There are over 20 different sorts of farm animals, with the quail and buffalo making their debut. Of course, that’s if you aren’t counting the bees and fish you may raise. You can participate in animal, cooking, harvest and pet competitions. There are multiple house styles based on each town’s aesthetics, as well as farm circle buildings and decorations, to build. There is a lot to do.

Did I mention earlier that Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is huge? Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is huge.

It’s overwhelming. There is always something to do every minute of every day in Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns. There are always more crops to try growing, additional animals to raise, new farm circles that give you opportunities to try raising fish or bees. While these constant objectives mean you constantly have goals to work toward, there’s never really a chance to just sit back and relax. One of my favorite things to do in Bokujou Monogatari games is just be. I’ll zone out and go through an entire in-game week, following the same routine. It’s relaxing. I didn’t feel like I could relax with this installment, because I always needed to be watching the in-game clock to be at someone’s house in time for lunch or get to a certain shop before it closed. Your mileage may vary on whether or not there’s too much to do in Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns, but I often felt like I could have used a bit more downtime.

Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is an absolutely huge farming simulation that will take you months to “complete.” This game keeps giving you new things to do, additional revenue streams to explore, more people to meet and extra animals to love. It’s easy enough to play, thanks to systems that quickly let you pull the equipment and items you need out of your bag and means of quickly traveling or earning a little extra cash. The only issue is that there might be too much there, as there are so many things you can do that attempting to every try and accomplish even half of the tasks is practically impossible. You really need to sort out schedules and prioritize here. Still, it’s better to offer all these options than pare back and provide too little.

Score: 8/10
Publisher: XSEED Games
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Developer: Marvelous
Platform(s): 3DS
Questions? Check out our review guide.
A review copy was provided by the publisher or developer for this review.

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