The Bokujou Monogatari games have allowed us to interact and build relationships with townsfolk, eventually forming a lasting relationship with one special man or woman. Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is no exception. In fact, it might just be the entry with the most realistic depiction of a romantic partnership in the series. Sure, the notion that you’re the only person of marriageable age who’ll get hitched is a bit odd, especially considering Ludus, Iluka and Siluka are childhood friends, but everything else in the game makes perfect sense.
A big part of this is the transition from friend to lover. Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns has two events for each romanceable character before you even begin seeing the love events with bachelors or bachelorettes. You have to trigger these precursors before you’ll ever get to share more personal moments with these people. This makes sense, as each of these initial events builds up their backstory. You learn more about who they are and their place within their respective towns. It keeps you from suddenly leaping into scenes where you’re obviously rather familiar with someone and establishes a connection between the two of you.
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns’ actual relationships grow in a sense that makes them feel more real than other Bokujou Monogatari games. There are levels to them, meaning the love events you see get more intimate as your status changes. When the man or woman you love has a light green heart on their dialogue box, you can get a pendant to declare your intentions. If you give it to them, they’ll get the message and you’ll be a couple. Or, if you’re holding it and close enough to the candidate, they will ask you to become their boyfriend or girlfriend instead. It makes you feel like you aren’t the only one invested and as though you are getting to enjoy another step in your relationship before immediately heading off to tie the knot.
Proposing marriage is even a little more nuanced. In most Bokujou Monogatari games, you acquire a blue feather and give it to a loved one to take the next step. Since three different cultures are represented in Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns, the game acknowledges how traditions vary. The blue feather still exists, but you only give it to Lulukoko candidates like Ludus, Iluka and Siluka. If the man or woman you want to marry is from Westown, you need a wedding ring. People from Tsuyukusa will want a decorative comb. It’s a nice nod to the customs that exist in different countries, something that’s important in a game where we have towns that are inspired by American, Polynesian and Asian cultures.
The only element that isn’t present here is jealousy. Harvest Moon: Tale of Two Towns would keep track of other bachelor and bachelorette jealousy levels as you wooed one specific character, As you’d see events, get married and go on dates, the people you could have been with would start behaving differently. They wouldn’t accept gifts, ask for your help and might even demand apologies. Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns abandons that notion, making it much easier to build affections freely and find out who you really like best. In a way, this omission makes sense. With three towns and marriage candidates scattered across them, it’d be insane to think they’d somehow be aware of your every interaction with other possible candidates they might not even actually know. Leaving it out is more realistic and reduces stress.
Where Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns really shines is the phase after you actually get married. Your husband or wife will help you gather random, in-season items. They’ll also have breakfast, lunch and dinner with you every day. Of course, you’ll eventually have a child with them. Both your spouse and kid will join you at festivals and events. But, the biggest after-marriage surprise is wedding gifts. For a few days after the wedding, you can visit townspeople you’re friendly with and talk to them to get a free item as a gift to commemorate your union.
When it comes to relationships, Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns gets a lot of things right. It shows that bonds between people grow gradually. It understands that you don’t just go from acquaintance to spouse in the span of a few months. It even acknowledges that every culture has its own methods of proposing. This improves the experience for people playing, as it makes everything feel a little more real.