Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns celebrates the series’ 20th anniversary
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is the latest game in the long-running Story of Seasons series formerly know as Harvest Moon. You’ll assume the role of a young city slicker who has always wished for a life on the farm. Celebrating the series’ 20th anniversary, the Story of Seasons series has always had a special place in my heart.
Not only does Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns have the charm of being a farmer, but its character building of the people around you is what manages to give the game a life of its own.
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher: Marvelous USA / XSEED Games
Genre: Farm simulation, life sim
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
Embark on a farming adventure
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns begins with you starting out on your own as a farmer to prove to your Dad you have what it takes to run a farm. At this point, the game just really throws you into it. While the game still has the infamous drawn-out tutorials, Trio of Towns asks you what you want to learn from your Uncle Frank.
So, if you already know what you are doing you can completely bypass asking for any explanation. This option to ask only what you need to know goes a long way in getting your new farm started. It allows new players to get a full explanation of everything and for veteran players to just fly through them.
Refined and intuitive gameplay
Gameplay wise, Trio of Towns remains pretty much unchanged from the previous Story of Seasons games. It even harkens back to several mechanics from Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning. While customization has been pretty much marginalized in Trio of Towns, farming is still done by simply pressing one button.
By continuously holding down the A button, your character will continue to use the tools they have equipped. But, be sure not to just keep holding it down as that will burn right through your stamina metre pretty quickly. If your stamina depletes, you will pass out and spend the rest of your day at the clinic.
The real variety in the farming gameplay for Trio of Towns comes down to how you want to grow your crops with different fertilizers and tool upgrades. Instead of upgrading tools at your house and hunting down blueprints, you visit Ludus in Lulukoko to upgrade certain attributes of your tools. Upgrades can be increasing the tools effectiveness by making it lighter, or simply changing its colour.
Upgrading your tools
Upgrading your tools is the best way to get more work done in less time. Sadly, Trio of Towns has an over reliance on forging for items to get better upgrades. While you can buy materials straight up, it can get pretty pricey the further you go.
I found myself getting upset for getting rare and expensive gems over copper and iron to upgrade my tools. Still, the upgrade system in Trio of Towns allows you to create specific tools for certain situations. That said, I still think Trio of Towns could have stuck to the traditional upgrade system of older games in the series.
A trio of towns to explore
Trio of Towns’ gameplay feels just as smooth as the previous Story of Seasons games and allows for more customization of your tools and how you want to run your farm. However, farming is just one half of the story when it comes to Trio of Towns. The biggest new addition to Trio of Towns is that you now have three different towns to explore and to do business with.
Each town has its own culture, items to buy, and a variety of different villagers to befriend and romance. Additionally, each town has a town rank—the higher the town rank, the more things will be available for you to purchase in stores and the more you will earn from part-time jobs. Town rank can be increased by befriending the locals, shopping around, doing part-time jobs, and shipping produce to the town.
It’s here that you start to feel a connection with each of the three towns, as you rank up with them, the more you begin to make each town a better place. This gives the game a real sense of community and that you are the reason why each of these towns are thriving.
A colourful cast of characters
What’s interesting about these three towns are the people that live in them. Trio of Towns has an extremely colourful cast of characters that you’ll have the chance to befriend. Furthermore, veterans of the game will notice that Trio of Towns has one of the largest villager rosters in ages.
Trio of Towns also makes it easier to talk to each of the villagers to gain friend points. You can simply wave to them and that counts as talking to them. You’ll be spending most of your time finding what items different villagers like. Because of this, I often had a dedicated plot on my farm specifically to grow items to turn into gifts.
For befriending villagers, you are rewarded with very fleshed out friendship events that look more into a character’s background. I can say without a doubt, that Trio of Towns has some of the best well written character development in the series. I feel like that I’m not only seeing part of their background but as the player, I am becoming a true friend that this person can rely on.
Aside from planting crops, raising animals, and getting a girlfriend or boyfriend—you’ll have to complete your Dad’s farming tips to progress through the game. These are goals that your Dad has you do to show that you are a true farmer in his eyes. This harkens back to A New Beginning with town plans. However, they are a bit more challenging to complete and can last much longer.
This fixes an issue I had with previous games in the series of a “now what” issue. Where I had completed just about everything, but was still trying to get married, and all I would be doing is running through the same motions day after day without much mix up. The different things to do in Trio of Towns should last you a long time, as you try and do everything.
A unique visual charm
Trio of Towns has a clearer art style and direction than previous Story of Seasons games. The game offers its own unique visual charm that you will love, with a more colourful and cartoony aesthetic.
Character representations have an authentic Japanese feel that are well detailed and the game’s music is catchy and upbeat. The 3D effect offered by the Nintendo 3DS is nice, but in Trio of Towns it really is not necessary and does not add any value.
All in all, Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is easily one of the best games in the Story of Seasons series. It is also the best example of where the series has come since the days of the Super Nintendo. The farming mechanics are simple to learn, yet offer a nice depth to delve into to make the farm of your dreams. The world building in the game is probably some of it not the best in the series. Even the characters with no portraits have a ton of cool things to say.
Couple the world building with a large variety of things to do and future DLC to add more content to the game, this is a game you will be coming back to for months or years to come. I can truly recommend Trio of Towns to fans of the series and even newcomers. Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is the 20th anniversary game that the series deserves.
+ Gameplay is refined and intuitive
+ Rewarding Gameplay
+ Amazing character development
– Relies too much on foraging for upgrades
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5 /5