Before the break of dawn, I find myself meticulously tending the crops, this must be a good harvest. After watering the corn, spreading fertilizer, and tilling a fresh patch of soil for another section of tomatoes, I’m exhausted and my stamina has almost run dry. But I can’t stop here, I still need to collect fruit from my orchard, milk the cows, and collect the eggs from my growing number of chickens. Eventually, I will make time for brunch before venturing into town to continue my long list of tasks that lie ahead.
The life of a farmer isn’t easy. In fact, it may even be one of the hardest, but it’s also not without its rewards. There is nothing like being able to put food that you raised on your table. Watching the family cow go from calf to prize winning heifer is remarkable. As times and civilization have changed, many of us will never experience this lifestyle, but we thankfully have games like Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns!
Story of Seasons, or Bokujō Monogatari as it’s known as in Japan, is the current benchmark for farming simulators. This story, like always, starts off with your character taking over a farm. Sometimes they are overrun, sometimes they are provided by a town, but in this case, it's set up for you by your uncle, who lives in the nearby town. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t still going to take a lot of work to shape it into the farm of your dreams. Your father has asked your uncle to help you get a leg up on your new adventure.
Throughout the game, your uncle will stop by to check in on you, give advice, as well as dish out some sweet rewards. Depending on what difficulty you choose, he will even start you off with a nice chunk of change. While your farm is small at first, through hard work you quickly begin to see the fruits of your labor pay off.
The charm of this series has always been its ability to present new and obtainable objectives every time you pick up the game. One day you may be gathering materials to expand your barn, while the next you are collecting ore to upgrade your tools. Just as you get into a daily pattern, the seasons will change, or your town will have a festival, which will completely shake up your day. The festivals are the best chance to strut your stuff. Winning competitions not only raises your profits on that item, but it also raises your friendship level with members from all three towns. As you raise your friendship level, you can trigger friendship events with residents from all three towns. Each of the town's unique backgrounds in Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns really make each character's story interesting and helps to set this game apart from other games in the series.
Trio of Towns really feels like a mix between the first Story of Seasons game and Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns. Thankfully, unlike the latter, the game is not pitting the towns against each other. The first Story of Seasons game pitted you against other farmers around town. You would gain and loose land depending on how your farm performed against the competition. It did have a great subset of characters though that kept you wanting to interact with them. With Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns, you had to make a choice between which town you wanted to settle in. You could later move, you never really felt connected to the other town.
Thankfully, with Trio of Towns you don’t have to choose which town you want to live near. Instead, the game focuses on giving the player options of what they want to grow and who they want to sell their goods to. For instance, you can purchase radishes seeds from Westown and then after harvesting, sell them for a premium in either Lulukoko or Tsuyukusa. With this, Marvelous has brought back the shipping bin so that you no longer have to go to town just to sell your goods. With the flip of your sign, the designated town will pick up everything you want to sell on a given day. This saves a bunch of the busy work that previous iterations added by having you set up a shop in town or heading to select a merchant to sell a particular item.
Speaking of the towns, each one feels incredibly unique. As soon as you step foot into Westown you have vibes of the American Wild West. The train and western landscape make me feel like I'm stepping into an episode of Westworld. Lulukoko, on the other hand, has a Pacific Island theme while Tsuyukusa represents an eastern Asian village. These themes not only affect what you can purchase in each location but every aspect of the town, even down to the types of festivals and the gifts that the villagers prefer.
You can gift items to anyone at any time, but it may be worth considering saving your best items for that someone special. Like previous iterations, you have the option to date and eventually marry. Through the seasons, my character has been talking with Lisette and Siluka. Lisette really loves flowers. I tend to take her a fresh batch every day. Siluka likes fruit so having a variety of fruit trees has really helped to raise her friendship level. Even without gifts though, you can steadily raise a person’s friendship level just by talking with them.
One of the biggest additions in Trio of Towns is the quick talk button. While you can still have detailed conversations with everyone, you now have the option of pressing the L button to quickly greet someone as you’re running past. This is so much more natural than stopping to talk to everyone you pass by. It’s exactly like nodding or saying hello to a coworker as you pass them in a hallway. While this may seem like a small change, it’s a welcome addition; especially with three towns filled with villagers to greet.
Ironically enough, the Story of Season series isn’t really known for its story. This iteration has you visiting a farm with your mom as a small boy. As you grow older, this moves beyond a childhood fantasy and becomes your perspective career. Your father knows the challenges that lie ahead on this path since he watched his brother go through it firsthand. Not feeling you’re ready, he challenges you at every turn throughout the game. While never compelling from a narrative standpoint, at least this does create an interesting loop of new challenges to constantly face off against.
Trio of Towns is the perfect "first game" for anyone looking to get into the Story of Season's world. Just like the game's protagonist, you will get swept away by the charm of “farm life”. If you are a fan of the series, you know exactly what you are getting into. This latest version doesn’t really add much new to the series’ core gameplay, but honestly, that’s par for the course with this series. It’s a lot like buying the next Pokemon or Madden; you know exactly what you’re going to get. While different games in the series will have their highs and lows, you’re always getting a consistently good product. With that said, this is a fantastic game in the series and the perfect place to jump in for both green thumbs and novices alike.
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns was reviewed on the Nintendo 3DS with a code provided by the publisher. "I Gotta Feeling" was written by The Black Eyed Peas.
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is more of the same classic simulator that has been around since the SNES. A few minor additions put this iteration near the top of my Story of Seasons / Bokujō Monogatari rankings but the lack of innovation keeps it from raising the bar.
- Quick Chat Button
- Three Distinct Towns to Explore
- Endless Content
- Standard Formula With Few Changes