Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is a colorful, pleasant farming simulator that features 3 distinct towns and seemingly endless collectibles. Fans of Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing will enjoy the customizable environment and timed events. The game is also undeniably cute. However, if you’re not into repetitive tasks and fetch quests, you may want to look elsewhere.
Game Name: Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS Publisher(s): Marvelous, XSeed Games
Release Date: 6/23/2016 (Japan), 2/28/2017 (US)
Price: $39.99 USD
At the start of the game, you’re an average human (you may choose male/female) sitting down to dinner with your family. Your father, who appears to be what the Japanese would call a Salaryman, announces that his new job will require a move across the country. You choose this moment to announce via emoji that you want to move out and become a farmer. Your family is aghast at this decision, but your father agrees to let you follow your dream. His brother, “Uncle Frank”, agrees to take you under his wing and teach you the way of the agrarian.
You begin the game with a humble farm near Westown, so named for its over-the-top frontier theme. Later, you’ll discover Lulukoko (Hawaii-themed) and Tsuyukasa (Japan-themed). As you progress through the game, you can upgrade your farm with additional animal sheds, fields, and home improvements. Your tools, clothing, crops, and animals can all be improved with the right amount of resources and cash. Fishing, cooking, and courtship are also included. The charming anime-style graphics and calming music were clearly made with love. There’s no shortage of things to do in this Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns. If you have a long train commute or a job with an inattentive boss and lots of time to kill (I have neither), you can while away the hours in the fields. If you’re a completionist, you’re going to get a lot of mileage out of this title.
To boost your standing in the community, you can fulfill part-time job requests in the surrounding towns. Your neighbors will call on you to chop wood, weed their fields, or ship them a certain type of crop. You’re rewarded with small amounts of money and the occasional gift, but the main goal of part-time work is increasing your Town Rank. Since you’re able to sell anything you can find on the ground, money won’t be an issue. If only I could get rich on radishes and fallen maple branches in real life!
You also won’t have trouble maintaining your crops. All they need is daily watering unless it’s raining. Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns doesn’t have weather events that destroy your crops, unlike the Rune Factory series. If you can’t make enough sales, there is no Tom Nook banging on your door. At worst, your crops will die and your barns will be full of “doo-doo”. That’s not me being coy, by the way. The game actually refers to animal manure as “doo-doo”. It seems like Story of Season: Trio of Towns was designed to be relaxing rather than challenging.
There are some strange gameplay design choices in this title. For example, when Uncle Frank gives you your first set of farming tools, he mentions in passing that you can buy new tools if you accidentally throw yours away. I didn’t understand how that situation would come up until it happened. The same button you press to open your tools menu is used to discard items once the menu is open. You can’t get tossed items back. A protective mechanic against throwing away key items would have been a better choice here than Uncle Frank’s friendly warning.
Some of the part-time jobs are odd, too. Most involve going to someone else’s farm and pressing “A” to water, weed, shear, milk, or chop. There was a great opportunity for mini-games, or even more complex button-pressing commands, that was missed. Other part-time delivery gigs require you to pick up a package from one NPC and deliver it to another. Sometimes, the two characters are in the same room when you make the transaction. Again, if I could make a living IRL by handing a bouquet from one person to another person 10 feet away, I’d have it made in the shade.
We are fortunate enough to live in an era with more video games being released than ever before. Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns pays tribute to is spiritual predecessor, Harvest Moon. Unlike Harvest Moon, however, this title isn’t breaking new ground (pun definitely intended). Fans of the farming-sim formula will likely be pleased, but not surprised. While it was a fine way to pass the time, I don’t think this title has enough gameplay variation to hold my interest until the long winter.
Cute animals and character design
Optional online play
Easy to jump into
Names of your character, farm, and pets have 6-character limit
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns will keep you entertained until the corn's as high as an elephant's eye, as long as you're OK with spending most of your time running and pressing "A".