Memories come up, don't they? A little over 15 years ago, Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town was the young dream of many aspiring farmers, only a little later that uplifting farmers could swing a fucking fork in “More Friends of Mineral Town”. But The Story of Seasons is just a remake or more. In our test you will find out - so: Put on your pants and prepare forks for dung.


But let's start where Harvest Moon ends for Marvelous, because after the great Marvelous and Natsume split, Natsume famously retained the naming rights of Harvest Moon and did not continue the brand with the quality that was used for earlier parts. Marvelous has been releasing the Japanese original series Bokujo Monogatari in the West for several years as “The Story of the Seasons”.

The story of the seasons: Friends of the mineral city have parallels not only in names, but also in the game. Many of the characters in this section find themselves under a new guise in the current spin-off for the Nintendo Switch.

Farm life is calling!

The beginning of The Story of the Seasons: Friends of the Mineral City should be familiar to many. You remember the wonderful childhood that you should have spent on your grandfather's farm. After his tragic death, he comes as he has to - you inherit a magnificent court! Well, there is no doubt about the magnificence because, unfortunately, the yard has fallen over the years.

Maybe you can imagine what will happen next. It is up to you to restore the courtyard to its once beautiful splendor. First you have to clear the field from us, stones and branches. However, it's not a job for a day because there are larger stumps and rocks in the field that your current equipment cannot break. Additionally, the stamina meter takes a line through the bill because every time you use the tool you lose a little of your stamina.

After clearing the appropriate planting space, you need to sow the seeds, water the plants daily and harvest the first crops after a few days. Then there is the little farmer of joy. The choices of vegetables or flowers to plant are numerous. There are a number of options per season. Unfortunately, even the planting is very nervous - in summer you are in typhoon season and bombard your fields with stones and branches. Hence, you can lose some of the seeds of plants. That means good management in the care of the fields so that your crops are not bombed.

If you are really a complete layman on a farm as there is a library with all the information about livestock, farming and everything that life on the farm has so much to hand.

More animals than in the original version

In addition to growing vegetables, as soon as they are bought, you need to take care of various animals. The difference to the original version from 2003 to 2006 While in the past you could only keep and care for white chickens in your hen house, it is now also possible to breed brown chickens and even angora rabbits.

With enough love the chickens lay an egg every day, angora rabbits provide you with wool. In a large barn, on the other hand, you can raise four different types of cows, which can even give different types of milk such as coffee milk and fruit milk. The cows are joined by alpacas and sheep, which have to be shaved every week.

An important part of the story of the seasons is taking care of all of your animals every day. They want to be brushed, fed and milked or shaved. The better you take care of your animals, the better they will be and the higher the quality of the goods produced. If you don't want to take care of your animals or it gets too stressful, you can ask local combinations to help you with your work. So they take care of the animals, but they can also help you with the field work.

On sunny days it is worth sending your animals out. For this purpose, the bell is set up accordingly on the stables, with which you can lure the animals outside. Here's how to keep your pet food when you've planted enough weeds. Chickens and rabbits just use what they find in nature, you don't have to plant anything extra here.

Farmer is looking for a wife - great love is waiting

As known for the Story of Seasons series, you can also find your only true love in Friends of Mineral Town. However, it is worth turning to the villagers every day or giving them a suitable gift to stand up for.

Candidates available to you for a relationship and even a wedding are marked with a heart. The color of the heart indicates the respective level of relationship with the candidate. New to the remake are two unprecedented candidates. Brandon is an artist who stayed with God and who makes his daily living with his works. Jennifer lives in a tent in nature and is all about esotericism. So if no one was there for you in the original, you have two new chances for great love!

But wait, 2 new ones? Even if you have to choose a gender at the beginning of the game? You heard it right! Fortunately, in the newest offshoot it is possible to marry your own gender! It is of course much more difficult to choose who to spend your happy future with.

Farmer's life greets you every day

What sounds really exciting on a piece of paper unfortunately becomes a bit monotonous in the long run. In the beginning you wait for a lot of random events, but over time they wear off and there is nothing “new” to discover, especially after the first year. Sometimes you get up in the morning, you run to your animals and fields, you see in nature what can be for sale, you run to all the villagers to have a quick word with them, and then you run back to bed.

Sometimes you really have to hurry, because the day goes by very quickly with friends of the mineral city. He's been in the game for 10 to 15 minutes. Since some stores are only open at certain times, it becomes a pretty stressful day if you are not fully planned because the jerk harvest might not help you with your work or some random event will bring you back in a few hours.

So from time to time it is very monotonous every day with which it has to be worn weekly until finally a new event follows. But even events are not necessarily a yellow egg in Friends of the Mineral City. In contrast to Rune Factory 4, for example, where you always actively influence the outcome of really different events, sometimes you just have to drop vegetables or visit the festival site for your sheep to be assessed. It's even worse if you don't have a suitable animal in the stable, then you actually only visit the festival site for a short time. So the day goes by when you haven't done anything. A few exceptions are festivals where you can cook for yourself or take part with your pets.

Endgame farming

As barren as every day in Friends of the Mineral City, some activities await you for the finale. For example, it is possible to marry the goddess of the harvest or kappa. To do this, you will need to collect certain gems and meet other conditions that are only possible later in the game. So if your goal is to marry one of the standout candidates, you will be busy after both the first and second year! So don't be put off if you get a loan after the wedding.

Another point you probably can't get out of your hand with the console is the many innovations that keep coming back over time. You really did it too. Here is a new type of seed, like a new machine, or even an innovation for your home like a private bathroom, which makes it harder to decide what to spend next. So somehow you are always motivated to challenge the monotonous everyday life.

Lost sound?

The new chibi look makes it easier for fans of the series to find the game immediately likeable. The design fits the game like a fist on the eye, especially the animals have become really cuddly! Marvelous' visual improvements to the original were good, and the old-fashioned style took it to a new level. Visually, I also liked the newly added blur effect, which actually makes the world look a little more realistic than it looked in Game Boy Advance times.

I am disappointed with the acoustics. On the plus side, however, the appropriate rhythm will be broken around your ears in every season when you are not in town. In town, you can expect the same nostalgic sound that players should know from the original version - they might like it, but you don't have to.

However, what is really disappointing is the fact that there is no sound at all when it rains. Even the pulsation of droplets cannot be heard, only their steps resonate as an echo. The steps themselves always sound the same, you can only hear the difference when you are in grass, sand or snow, otherwise your steps always sound the same. Whether trampoline path, stone path or nature itself - the path is the path. It may be a high level now, but because of the rare sound choices, this step stands out very strongly. After a while, this attractive and unfortunately very present Geter was more annoying than always the same mulberry from the city.

In general, the technology is not the best, the villagers like to walk the walls or just suddenly disappear from the picture, but life on the farm has given me a lot of joy again, even though the game has been watched for years.

Infobox

Number of players: Solo
Age: from 0 years
Difficulty: easy to medium
Long-term motivation: Medium

Publisher: Marvelous Europe
Developer: Marvelous Europe
Year of publication: 2020
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Language: German, English, Spanish, French
Cost: 49,99 Euro

Summary

Marvelous was able to strike a good balance between familiar features that are particularly dear to the nostalgic, especially me, and some innovations. To my liking, some things could have been further modernized without icing over the old meaning of the game too much. Most of the time I mention some technical minutiae, such as seldom used sound and some graphical errors. Developers have not exhausted the performance of modern systems, probably neglected them - the available room for improvement is clearly visible. Even if the look and the cute style are quite harmonious: there would simply be more.

This is particularly noticeable in a direct comparison with genre competitors such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons. In addition, there are small disturbances that can be avoided: always sounds the same, or fishing lures that remain completely rigid even in liquid waters. Certainly the details, but that hurt the gaming experience a little.

There are still fun moments, and plenty, if you are a fan of the genre or love ideas like this for the game. There are also successful improvements such as: B. inserted abbreviations that did not exist in the original. Also good and modern instead of nostalgic: the articles are stacked in the inventory. Again: All details only, but this time with a positive influence on the gaming experience. 

But all in all, Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is ideal for simulation lovers, because then the game can develop its addictive potential. It doesn't matter whether you know the original version or not. If you can't gain anything on agricultural simulations in general, friends of the mineral city won't be able to teach you anything better. 


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