Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
A remake combining the content of the Game Boy Advance games, Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town and Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town, for the Nintendo Switch.
The series' international name was changed to Story of Seasons due to Natsume keeping the rights to the Harvest Moon title when Marvelous began publishing through their own companies, XSEED Games, instead.
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Having played the original in my childhood and wanting a "chill farming sim" game after burning out on Stardew Valley earlier this year, I thought to myself "why not?" only to find myself predictably regretting this impulsive purchase shortly afterwards.
My problem with the game isn't its simplicity. If anything, that's what I was looking for. It's that the game lacks any of that chill, relaxing vibe it should strive for. Sim games need a good art style, music and overall atmosphere to keep you going. This game just doesn't cut it. The art is serviceable at times, but why the hell do the bachelorettes look like 8 year-olds? Actually, don't answer that.
The music is all out of whack, instruments that should be rhythmic at most are holding the main melody. Some of the tracks, notably the new ones not present in the original such as the summer holiday steel drum one, are way too upbeat and feel like they trigger an underlying anxiety due to being at odds with the laid-back gameplay, not unlike a big chunk of Animal Crossing New Horizon's soundtrack.
Just listen to the autumn song yourself. Does this evoke the relaxing atmosphere of a beautiful fall day when you hear it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_E7rsLCKo7g&ab_channel=HarvestMoonAllSeries
And what really bothered me was that there's only one footstep sound effect. You spend the whole game running; over grass, dirt trails, hardwood floors, cobblestone streets, and yet it all sounds exactly the same. This kind of thing just helps contribute to the game's lack of identity.
The gameplay elements are basic, yet solid. There's a good game underneath, but it needs to be a complete package for it to work.
When I finished up my play of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, I didn't think there be a game out there that would fill the void New Horizons gave me, but thankfully I am wrong. Friends of Mineral Town may be a remake of an older GBA game, but with enough fixes to make gameplay to make it easier, and the access to gay marriage has enhanced this little GBA game to be just tops.
Honestly it's shocking how good a game can be by simply adding Lesbians into it, and along with the simple yet addictive nature it is to make crops and build your farm from scratch really makes you feel like you accomplished something. There is still plenty of game to be made, but it's nice to know that I have a wonderful wife, a neat little town to visit, and a farm to build even further.
As someone who played the original Mineral Town to hell and back as a child, I was very happy with this remake. They did a really great job to modernize the mechanics while preserving the spirit of the original. Only knocked off half a star because I wasn't fond of some of the characters' redesigns. (Poor Carter...)