It isn't quite clear how or why a game like Doraemon: Story of Seasons came to be, but that doesn't mean that it isn't absolutely wonderful. To those who don't know, the Story of Seasons series are a farming life-simulator games that used be a part of the Harvest Moon series. After developer Marvelous lost access to the Harvest Moon license, the company continued to make similar games under the name Story of Seasons. With this version of the popular series, Marvelous decided to partner with the famous Doraemon anime and manga series. Doraemon has never been particularly popular in the West, but is still massively successful in Japan.
Doraemon: Story of Seasons begins by dropping you in the shoes of the main character of Doraemon, Nobi who is, for lack of better phrasing, a really dumb kid. Nobi and his robotic cat friend, the titular Doraemon, find a very suspicious looking seed while they are exploring and decide to immediately plant it rather than doing some research first. This seed almost immediately begins growing into a massive tree and causes a horrifying storm to appear. This storm then opens up some kind of dimensional portal that sucks up Nobi, Doraemon, and three of their other friends and sends them to a new town called Natura.
Dropped in a New World
Upon making it to Natura the group realizes that they are incapable of making it home anytime soon, and are unsure what they are supposed to do next. They decide to get jobs in Natura, so Nobi winds up working on an old farm with the intention of putting it back in working order. Other than a few cutscenes and small quests, the rest of the game takes place in typical Story of Seasons fashion. You are tasked with planting crops, building friendships with other townsfolk, taking care of animals, and a lot of other objectives.
I think Doraemon: Story of Seasons is an absolutely beautiful game. Like most farming sim games of its ilk, this one adopts an isometric view of the world, but blends together 3D and 2D art. All of the character models are completely three-dimensional, which is fun for Doraemon fans who have never seen their favorite characters this way. The true beauty of this games comes from the environment which is done in a faux-oil painted style that fits the cute little world extremely well.
A Lot to Keep You Busy
Like I said earlier there are lot of farming related tasks that players can do to keep themselves busy, and these features are simplified compared to games like Stardew Valley. Players only have to worry about watering their plants every day and regularly dropping fertilizer on them to make sure they can get the most of their crops. Taking care of animals is very similar in that players need to make sure their livestock has enough food and are taken care of properly. Its relatively easy to get lost in a loop of taking care of the farm continuously and purchasing different upgrades for buildings.
For those who want a little more out of the world of Doraemon: Story of Seasons, there is quite a bit to do. One of my favorite activities in the game was mining in the mine to the north. You can take a pickaxe and work through several layers of the mine in order to acquire ores and fossils. Ores can be used to upgrade equipment, whereas fossils are a great source of income early on in the game. Those who want to do other activities can also go fishing or forage in the wilderness for rare plants which are both great ways to make cash as well.
Try To Avoid Repetition
The issue with Doraemon: Story of Seasons is that it can become very repetitive if you allow it to. There were times where I found myself in a rut of fishing for hours at a time trying to make a lot of money as quickly as possible. I eventually had to stop myself and go, "This isn't fun anymore". The upside is that when this happened all I had to do was pack up my fishing rod and go do something else. There is enough to do that you can pretty easily find something else to fill your time whenever you get bored or feel stressed out.
I think my only real issue with Doraemon: Story of Seasons is more of a problem with the genre itself. I understand that for balancing reasons restrictions need to be put on how much players are able to do in a given day, but it is incredibly annoying to have to fight against the clock and the stamina bar simultaneously. A lot of the time it stressed me out not being able to complete certain actions before being forced to take a nap or go to sleep for the night. It really feels like just one of these mechanics would be more than enough to restrict the player appropriately, but Story of Seasons continues using both because they always have.
A Very Pure Experience
For fans of both farming simulators and the Doraemon series, Doraemon: Story of Seasons is a must-play. It isn't as complicated or as challenging as other games in the genre, but its adorable characters and the sweet world are more than enough to fill most players with joy. I for one left every play session of Doraemon: Story of Seasons with a smile on my face.
TechRaptor reviewed Doraemon: Story of Seasons on PlayStation 4 using a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PC and Nintendo Switch.
- Wonderful Graphics
- Cute Characters
- Wide Array of Activities
- Stamina/Time Cycle Overwhelming
- Can Be Repetetive