Story of Seasons, we do this every time we cover the Series, mainly because I’m old and still get it mixed up with its original name, a series that still goes on today under a different developer. The last game was a remake of a fan favourite, this one is a totally new release hoping to push the series onward, grab a horse and come down to the farm.
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is a traditional Farming Sim/Slice of Life game, you pick your character and are initially thrown into the task of cleaning up the farm which leads into bigger and better things.
Now the main “objective” of the game is to improve Olive Town and make it a popular tourist attraction, this is done through various side quests and events throughout the years of running your farm, it’s Story of Seasons so there is a massive focus on your farm in establishing the future of Olive Town.
Naturally the narrative here isn’t quite JRPG standards but there are a few interesting threads to keep you plugging away interacting with people and wanting Olive Town.
Seasons Paint A Story
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive thankfully improves on the graphics and art direction of the previous release which was a major issue for me, making it look cheap. While Olive Town doesn’t exactly push the console to its absolute limits, the game is still a gorgeous and colourful chibi styled game.
The music of Story of Seasons is engaging as can be for a Slice of Life game, it’s all a little cutesy and addictive. No voicing acting but the animals more than make enough noise to keep the sound levels high!.
The Fun of the Farm
One thing I noticed from the get go with Pioneers of Olive Town was how focused the game starts out. Most of the time SoS is usually happy to leave you to fixing up your farm and getting on your feet, Olive Town requires ALOT more work to even get your farm to a standard where you can work with it.
Nature has taken its toll on your land, trees, weeds, rocks and puddles to contend with and it takes quite a while until you get ahead of all this and be able to focus on your farming duties.
Olive Town needs sprusing up and your just the Farmer/Divine interventer to do so, you’ll be taking on quests to improve the town by providing material to fix buildings & filling up the Town museum with pictures of animals, fish and other findings to really draw in people from around the world.
Of course mining is back and it’s business as usual, you explore the mine, find goodies and bop some pesky Moles on the head, a fantastic distraction from the sometimes mundane life on the farm.
Crafting seems to have taken the center stage in this game, sadly to its determent. The crafting machines have been a staple of Story of Season for a while but here it would seem the developers have gone a little overboard with the crafting machines. A HUGE bulk of your time is spent finding raw materials for your crafting machines to get more materials to fix properties, get new tools/features or just get yourself new threads. This really slows down the opening hours as you’ll be relying on these machines to help you repair your farm and actually get round to what brought you here!.
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town still has those familiar gameplay beats, various events to tackle and of course marriage after you have built a strong enough bond with another character. There is also the levelling up system in which the more you do something, the better you do it and you also build Stamina.
When you first start Story of Seasons you will find yourself quite limited at what you can do but after sometime you’ll have more stamina and you’ll have come across some pixies who also help boost stats and offer bonuses, another distraction from the farm life.
While Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town does a fantastic job in making sure you have plenty to do during the days and seasons which will no doubt consume your hours, it unfortunately doesn’t do them as smoothly as I would like.
Initially the game was provided in quite a state, alot of loading and crashing and frame rate issues up the wazoo, fortunately it has been patched up…..mostly.
The game still seems to struggle under its own weight, especially the more stuff you have going on, later in the game with a fuller town and better equipped farm is a nightmare of dropped frames and stuttering!.
The way the game controls also seems finicky and I found it awkward to choose where I wanted to put crops and the like, it almost felt like an ice level in a game where everything was a little too floaty. I managed to get used to it after a while but it never really felt right to me throughout.
A Bountiful Crop
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is a strange little title in the post Stardew Valley world, yes it’s just as fun as you’d expect from the series but it feels so budget at times and they managed to make the grind feel even more like a grind which was unexpected.
The amount of extra stuff to do during your days is welcome and despite the shortcomings I still love my time with Olive Town, it’s just very hard to suggest it’s full price tag when it’s this messy and really wants you to craft when all you really want to do is farm.
Fun addictive timeless gameplay married with grind and bugs. Much like seasons you take the good with the bad
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Straight from the streets of SouthTown, all Dunks Powah'd and ready to Bust A Wolf. Catch me on Twitch/YouTube.