A few weeks ago we devoted ourselves long and broadly to the history of Friends of Mineral Town in the preview, so only briefly summarized here: The original from 2004 for Game Boy Advance is just a kind of reissue of even older series parts, hears now to the name Story of Seasons, because the naming rights of Harvest Moon lie with the publisher instead of the developer, but the fresh implementation for PC and Switch comes from the original studio. Now that's out of the way, and we can devote ourselves to the leisurely farm life for the test – which is sometimes not that comfortable!
In terms of content, there are some changes compared to the portable version over 15 years ago. There are two new marriage candidates (a man, a woman) to choose from, there are no longer any rivals who can snatch your adored ones away, but we can now marry whoever we want and are no longer forced to be heterosexual.
Particularly pleasant for young players or anyone who values comfort is the option to set the easy level of difficulty when starting the game. Then the country life begins with a comfortable financial cushion, and the friendship level of the village neighbors increases faster than in the normal mode, which in turn provides the gaming experience of the original. In addition, there are new animal species such as alpacas or coffee cows (you can guess what you get when you milk them three times) as well as additional pet options, several save slots, free saving and loading, additional village events, adapted mini-games, quality-of-life features like stackable items, more elevators in the mine, a new park in the city, fresh vegetables and fruits to grow, the possibility to move the character and so on.
Source: PC Games
Except for the elimination of the rivals who added tension to the original, all of these adjustments are very welcome and ensure that Story of Seasons feels classic in 2020, but not too dusty. Technically, there is nothing to complain about, the game runs smoothly and cleanly, but there would have been more visually than the simple 3D look with few details, stacked animals (the four-legged friends don't seem to have any collision query) and a few rather empty-looking areas in the environment. Despite the simple graphics, which are more reminiscent of tablet and 3DS games than a modern game, the charm has remained somewhat intact. A much nicer, thematically comparable alternative is Doraemon Story of Seasons, which comes up with an appealing watercolor look. An implementation in pixel optics, in turn, would probably have provided even more resemblance to the genre star Stardew Valley, with which Story of Seasons also competes. The popular indie title is younger than Friends of Mineral Town and was obviously inspired in many places by the original, but it implements the whole farm simulation topic in a more rounded, varied and better way – Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town cannot keep up with that .
Source: PC Games
But that doesn't mean that the remake of the classic Friends of Mineral Town failed. It just sets different accents and has been around for a few years, lower complexity also suits the younger players. The well-known gameplay cycle still works flawlessly today: looking after animals, tilling fields (or hiring the useful gnomes for it) doing things, talking to the neighbors, shopping, mining ore in the mine, going to bed, and all over again. If you have already managed your farm on the Game Boy Advance, the remake will surely give you a warm feeling of nostalgia. In this case, it doesn't matter that the genre has evolved since 2004 either. You shouldn't expect too much from the characters and the story: As usual, you come into possession of the farm after your grandfather dies, the personalities of the villagers are relatively clichéd, but it is easy to develop sympathy for them.
For those who feel most comfortable when it is meditative, Friends of Mineral Town could even be a bit too stressful in some places – time goes by really quickly, the stamina bar drops quickly at first, the opening times of the shops in the village are sometimes impractical and impractical the beating of stones in the mine is not half as interesting without beating monsters. Still, it somehow feels like coming home to Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town after many years and happy to discover that a lot is still the same. The friends now look different (and have different names), but are still very lovable.
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Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town in the test: Back on the farm (1) (Source: PC Games)
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