Well, at that time, the game wasn't called a little different on the Game Boy Advance? Right, in 2004 everything was fine in the Harvest Moon universe, Friends of Mineral Town was a very classic representative of the cute simulation series. However, in 2012 Marvelous lost the license to use the Harvest Moon brand, which is why the following games were released under the series title Story of Seasons.
At the same time, games from the Harvest Moon series continue to be created, but not at the original developer studio – because that takes care of Story of Seasons. Confusing? A little, and it gets even more complicated: Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is a reissue of the games Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town and Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town for the GBA, which in turn are both an implementation of the Playstation Game Harvest Moon: Back to Nature from 2001, which in turn is based on Harvest Moon 64 from 1999. Uff!
The difference between the two GBA versions is the gender of the character and thus the available flirting options. But enough of the history lesson, we played the switch remake and revealed whether the cozy little town of Mineralstadt is still as inviting in 2020 as it was on Game Boy Advance many years ago.
Source: PC games
The beginning of the game is already different from the original: while the character on the Game Boy Advance is lost during a country vacation with the parents and taken up by a nice, older man on his farm, the landowner on the Switch is the grandfather of the protagonist. We as players take over the overgrown farm in order to help it return to its former glory within the next weeks, months and years. Before starting the recovery project, we determine the gender and appearance of our character, and off we go. As usual, we first remove all of the wild growth, stones, branches and tree stumps from the field on the first few days and introduce ourselves to the residents of the village next to its name. Among them there are some marriage candidates of both genders that we are gradually getting to know (and maybe also love). Even if you don't feel like romance, you will visit the village regularly, for example to buy seeds, animals and tools or to do other things. Typically for genre and series, we have to consider the time and date when planning the shopping trips, because not every shop is open all the time.
Who so far with the farming sim genre only in the form of Stardew Valley Made friends, Friends of Mineral Town will discover many mechanics that the one-man development team Barone has also incorporated into his indie harvest moon. For example the mine outside the village where we dig ores and other resources or the festivals that take place on fixed dates in the village square. How long we can work depends on our stamina on the one hand and on the passing of time on the other. Those who go to bed late are tired the next day, and we should always keep an eye on our condition at the top left in the picture, indicated by a vegetable bar. Chopping, sowing, watering – all of this takes strength. If we overwork, there is a risk of fainting! After all: The hot spring is around the corner of our farm, there we recover from the hard country life and slowly fill up our strength bar when bathing.
<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/430x/2020/07/Story_of_Seasons_Friends_of_Mineral_Town_Preview-3–buffed.jpg" alt = "How you behave towards the residents and what answers you get
giving them affects how likeable they are to you. & nbsp;”/>
Source: PC games
As usual in the genre, we not only take care of growing vegetables and fruit, but also of living things, i.e. cows, chickens, pets and the like. Upgrading the barn and buying milking machines costs money that we earn by selling agricultural products. We put everything we want to get rid of in the sales box, the content is picked up daily at 5 p.m. and the proceeds are credited to our account. We invest part of this in seeds, but the prospect of an enlarged home or new, better tools is also tempting.
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Source: PC games
Friends of Mineral Town is considered by many of the series fans to be the best representative of the long-established series. The GBA game established a lot of things that can no longer be imagined without a faming title. Accordingly, Friends of Mineral Town no longer seems groundbreaking, but very familiar – even if you don't know the original. However, the switch remake is not just a bogus copy of the GBA title, series experts are offered something new, because some content has been changed, modernized and adapted accordingly. The rival system, for example, is now a thing of the past: if on the Game Boy Advance we were not able to drag our chosen heart leaf fast enough in front of the altar, a rival preceded us. In Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town, on the other hand, not only do we no longer have to be afraid of other admirers, we can also choose a partner regardless of gender.
Whether the lost time pressure is a good or bad thing depends on the player's preferences, but we think it's a shame that the NPCs lose part of their agenda. The remake provides new content elsewhere. We can now also keep llamas or Angora rabbits, for example. The larger, expandable bag and the stacking function make item management more convenient. Two new marriage candidates want to be enchanted (a man, a woman), thanks to several free memory slots, you can literally dance at several weddings. There are many other adjustments in the details, such as an unlockable lift in the mine, which transports us several floors at once, a new place for the pond on your property, or new fish species for fishing.
Source: PC games
We now have to address the technology of the new edition: Friends of Mineral Town now shines in 3D optics, neither detailed nor stunning, but still charming – the animals look incredibly cute again. The operation is simple and internalized, thanks to the map we do not lose orientation. The music splashes to itself, there is no voice output, but all the texts are in German. All in all, everything is working smoothly with our playable test version, since July 10th Switch owners can get an idea of it for themselves. In the coming time, the test will follow, in which we subject Story of Seasons to the long-term check. You should (like us) in Animal Crossing: New Horizons If you've just fallen into a lack of motivation or have already achieved everything in Stardew Valley (like us), the remake of Harvest Moon comes at the right time. With short days of around 20 minutes and the ability to set the easy level of difficulty (which starts with a lot of money, makes easier friendships and more), Friends of Mineral Town is particularly suitable for younger players or anyone starting out for the first time Sniff the country air.
Friends of Mineral Town's remake feels like I've never been away.
As indestructible as the principle of the game is, as familiar as it all feels, I am still faced with a difficult decision in the sweat of my face: Who should my character marry? The inhibited vagabond? The grumpy artist? The strict doctor? Or maybe the shy librarian? In the end it will probably be the new addition to the remake (the artist), more on that in the test in the next issue. And otherwise? Somehow it feels like I've written articles and / or opinion boxes about Friends of Mineral Town so many times, this is the first time. That everything feels so familiar is simply because the features and mechanics of the game have become so deeply anchored and established in the genre. That means: No, Friends of Mineral Town on the Switch does not reinvent the wheel. But it doesn't have to be (it is a remake, after all), for the most part I welcome the changes and I immediately felt at home in the small town. However, I would have liked a detailed look if you had to completely redesign the graphics.
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