Overall - 75%
For better or worse, Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is exactly what you'd expect from the series. If you're a fan of farming games like Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley, be sure to check this one out.
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is the newest entry in XSEED Games’ Story of Seasons series. Is this farming game worth checking out, or should players stick to Stardew Valley? Check out our review and find out.
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town Review
The story of Pioneers of Olive Town starts as most farming sims do; you inherit a farm from a family member and move there to start work. You make your character and name your farm before finally getting to see your land. When you finally arrive, you realize your work is cut out for you, as the farm is an absolute mess. Weeds, broken down buildings, scattered rocks, and no house make this new area less than desirable. You are handed some basic tools and told to get started as you begin your new life as a farmer.
After a few days of work, the mayor starts asking you questions about improving the town. Olive Town is a tourist attraction, but it has been struggling as of late. Since you’re new to town, he wants your opinion on the matter. Eventually, he will make requests for materials that he can use to create new shops and other attractions. With your help, he hopes that Olive Town will become a popular tourist spot once more.
Farming in the game is simple. You plow the ground, plant the seeds, water them, and wait for them to grow. During all that downtime, you can clean up your farm and repair buildings. Typically in farming sims, your farm is enormous and cleaning takes forever. However, in Pioneers of Olive Town, you only start with a small spot. I like this premise, because you can clean it quickly and keep it clean. When you want to expand, you can build a bridge and get a whole other chunk of land. The game also has a special bag just for your tools, which means more inventory space for everything else.
Along with farming, you can raise animals like chickens and cows. You can sell the eggs and milk for cash or turn them into cooking materials. You do this by using crafting benches or taking requests. The downside to having a smaller farm is that you have to share space with the chicken coop, benches, and your crops. It can quickly get overwhelming when you have a big farm, but there are ways to make it easier. Sprinklers will water your crops and automatic feeders will feed animals daily. Of course, you can still do it all yourself if you so desire.
There is some combat in the game, but it is fairly straightforward. While mining, you might run into an enemy; hit them enough with your hammer and you win. You have to go deep to get the metals you need to upgrades and new buildings. The ore respawns quickly, so you can get it daily if need be. You also get a fishing pole early on so you can learn how to fish. Money isn’t hard to get in the game, but if you combine fishing with farming, you will be rolling in cash by the end of the first year.
The biggest time sink outside of farming is socializing. There are a lot of people living in Olive Town, and you want to talk to them nearly every day. Doing this will build relationships and unlock cutscenes. It is made that much quicker with the game showing where any person is at a given time. Honestly, this becomes too much of a chore for me. I started focusing in on the few I wanted to talk with and giving them gifts. If you raise your relationship far enough with a person, you can marry them and eventually have a kid.
Olive Town has other side activities to do as well. There is a museum that takes your treasures, fish, and photos and puts them on display. The town sometimes has events, but these are often cutscenes with no real input from the player. You can earn titles for doing tasks like clearing trees, finding sprites, and making certain foods. Of course, there’s also plenty of requests that the town folks will want to be completed.
There are some performance issues with the game, most notably frame drops. A recent patch improved things, but it is still noticeable. I also had the title crash, which is very rare on the Nintendo Switch. Your farm also gets puddles after it rains, which you have to scoop up. I’m not sure why this is so annoying, but it happened far too frequently to be enjoyable.
For better or worse, Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is exactly what you’d expect from the series. If you’re a fan of farming games like Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley, be sure to check this one out.
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