Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is a remake of Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town. A name change was required due to complex legal issues around the Harvest Moon name, but if you loved Friends of Mineral Town, and have fond memories of your time with the game, this new iteration is shaping up to be a rewarding, and relaxing, experience.
The game focuses mainly on your life as a farmer. You inherit a farm from your Grandfather and move to the country to see if you can find success from working the land. You’ll need to use a variety of tools to till the earth, water your crops, harvest them, and look after the different animals that you can house in your barns and coops. Years are broken up into four different seasons, each lasting 30 days and giving you small windows of time to grow different seasonal vegetables and fruits.
You can look after chickens, cows, sheep, rabbits, and alpacas, all of which provide different items you can use or sell. You can also fish, wander around town speaking with NPCs, learning more about their lives and interests, and helping them out. There are even a group of Harvest Sprites, life-saving little people that you can befriend and who will help you out on your farm so that you can go and do other things for the day. There is also a multitude of farm, house, and relationship-related goals for you to work towards, and a whole lot of mining to be done.
The biggest concern about games like this, from a personal point of view, is that the balance between how much time you have in your day and how much stamina you have feels way out of whack, but Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town gets this just about perfect for me. In the early game, confusion makes it seem like you never have enough time, but you rapidly learn to focus on a goal and work that into your routine. The farm grows at a good pace, as does the work required to keep it going, so you will need to befriend those Harvest Sprites to ensure you can focus on more than just the farm.
The nearby town is filled with NPCs who run shops and businesses, all with their own little stories that they are happy to share, and finding the time to speak with them, attend social events, and explore is just as important as making sure your crop is doing well.
We find stamina systems to often be needlessly punishing, but Friends of Mineral Town offers you a multitude of ways to bring your stamina back up, and also has a fatigue system that you can use when you really want to push yourself to do a bit more hard work. Add in the fact that tools don’t break, they level up just by using them, and you can have a nice relaxing dip in the hot spring to bring back both your stamina and your fatigue, and you have a game that is actually respecting your time as a player while trying to give you a little challenge.
While you will need to wait until we have more time in the game and a full review on the site for our complete thoughts, it has been a wonderful experience. Best of all, Song of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town will be available on PC on Steam as well as the Nintendo Switch. Anyone hungry for more of that very special Nintendo feeling, but may not own a Switch, will certainly want to keep an eye on this when it launches on July 14.