Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town

released on Oct 17, 2019

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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I never had a GBA growing up. I tried playing the GBA More Friends of Mineral Town emulated a long time ago, but found it to be anything but enjoyable. the GBA being limited to so few buttons, the very small amount of backpack space, and so on made it really painful to play. I know there's the basket item, but that's honestly just another nuisance. my first Harvest Moon experience was Another Wonderful Life, which has no inventory limit, and way more buttons to work with. hearing that Friends of Mineral Town was so good, I totally didn't get it, honestly. it was cute, but... eh.
after hearing about how this remake improved things, I decided to just buy it. and playing it, it finally... kind of clicked. kind of. this game still isn't that great. but it's not actually bad, either. just, compared to others old and new, it's... dare I say... mid. sorry! I married Huang and played until some time after my character had the baby. so, I did put a lot of time into it. and I'm sure I'll play it again someday, it's a chill time. can't hate that.
this game has a lot of content that requires putting in a lot of time and effort. but it's not even anything really worth having. there's the town villa which requires 10 million G, there's the mountain cottage which requires you to play the game for 50 in-game years... there's also a beach cottage, but that one only requires giving the harvest goddess 150 presents. won't take you as long as those other two things, anyway.
anyway, then there's all the stuff in the mines. there's a lot of stuff in the mines. both mines. you can unlock elevators for these mines, but it does require giving the harvest goddess 100 gifts. and even then, it only takes you to certain levels. so unless you've made it to at least floor 50 in either mine, it's not going to be of any use. so that really sucks tbh. there's lots of stuff in the mines. none of it is really needed. but it's there!
basic gameplay is like... well, pretty much any other farming sim. as this is a remake, there's a lot of QoL here compared to the original, but it's just fixing problems of the original. the really nice thing about this game, for a Harvest Moon title, is you can marry whoever you wish regardless of the player character gender you choose. it's a shame I am... personally not a fan of most of them. wasn't in the original, either. I do like the newly added ones, Jennifer and Brandon... especially Jennifer. Huang is cute and great once you marry him, but that's about it.
the other special candidates besides Huang require ridiculous amounts of time and effort to make it happen. I like, half get it... and half don't. even worse, they don't live at your house or anything. I don't get it, really. even as a "just for the heck of it" thing, for all the effort, it's a shame. I know that is just how the original games had it but I think that makes it even worse somehow. but that's just what I think, soooooooo
the graphics... well, they work. nothing special. some of the chibi models look terrible. the redesigns of characters is something I'm mixed on. some of them are very cute. some of them are... uhhhhhhh.(Duke and Harris.......) I'm not sure why some of them were changed as much as they were, namely Jeff. I dunno, just feels weird. music is ok. as with many remasters/remakes, the vibes of the new music are not the same. but in this instance, it's closer than what other games manage.
overall, underwhelming, but not an actually bad experience.

I was excited about playing Harvest Moon again after so many years.
Then I found out that, just like Pokemon, despite being so important in my childhood, now is just a game that I don't have any interest at all in playing.
I don't think that's sad, is just how life works, you're not supposed to enjoy some things the same way you did once.
Which doesn't change the fact that I'll be forever grateful for what this franchise meant to me as a kid.

The original Back to Nature is by all means one of the greatest games I have ever played. I love that game dearly. This is a decent attempt at recreating that feeling but it feels lacking. There's a charm that is lost with a lot of the modern touch ups. Harvest Moon always felt at it's best with the clunk. Something about fighting the system to grow your farm added to the experience. The important atmosphere is still there. The characters still breathe the same air of quality. It's just not quite the same.

Despite loving the Harvest Moon series, this new game is kind of disappointing. Difficulty does not exist and the change of some characters is uncomfortable.

This game makes me violently ill. I know what my purpose in life is.