Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life - Switch Review

Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life by developer Marvelous Inc. and publisher Marvelous Inc. & XSEED Games—Nintendo Switch review written by Jim with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes.

Ever since I bought Harvest Moon: Back to Nature on sale at a Target years ago I have been hooked. I loved the game back then so much I had played, if I had to guess, over a hundred hours in it. Now when I see any game named Story of Seasons or even Harvest Moon or anything like it, even like Stardew Valley, I just have to try them. Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life is a remake of Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life that originally came out for the Nintendo GameCube and was another one that I enjoyed back then. I remember playing it with the window open in my room with a cool spring breeze coming in and I would play for hours. That was back in 2004 now nearly twenty years later we get a fresh take on the game.

For those that have never played a Story of Seasons game, it is a life/farm sim. Some of the changes from the original are in this one where you can pick your pronouns from he/him, she/her, and they/them. This doesn't affect the game much as no matter what you pick you can romance one of four men or four women. There is also some character customization you can do before the game starts and during the game. You start with a small farm with two fields, a barn, a coop, and a pasture. One field isn't very fertile while the second is a bit more fertile and will give you better crops. You start the game with a cow that Takakura your father's best friend and who lives in a cottage on your farm gifts you. You will also be given a dog who you can pick from two different looks. 

The game gives you plenty of tips on what to do like watering your crops twice a day, feeding animals, and using the tools you need to farm. For me, the game started a little slower than I remember. I had two fields full of crops, a chicken, a cow, and a horse that you get shortly after you start. Even with all that I found I still had a lot of time in the in-game day to do other things. You can fish once you get a fishing pole, talk to the villagers, get a daily recipe from the nature spirits, go dig in the mine for artifacts that you can sell, or gather flowers and wild herbs. But these artifacts can not be put in the shipping bin for Takakura to sell for you, however one of my favorite parts of this game is it lets you open your own shop stall in town. Also in town, you will find a bulletin board where you can find requests from the villagers for anything from crops, eggs, milk, fish, or even a cooked dish. I'm sure there will be other things too later. You will get rewards for completing these, but you only have so many days. The rewards can vary from seeds to wild herbs among other things.

Oddly enough the game never told me how to do this but by memory luckily I found the spot. Here you can pick a few items to sell and villagers will come and stand in front or to the side of your little stall. You talk to them and they will ask about an item that you can sell for full price or give a discount. Every villager will only buy a certain number of items. Three for most so talk to them more than once. Some will only buy one or two items and some will only buy if you discount it. You can sell just about anything this way but takes it takes time and sometimes villagers won't walk by for some time. There is another way to sell your unwanted items. Every four days a man named Van will stop by the village and set up his stall where you can sell just about anything. Also you can buy special items from him like upgraded tools. The only things you can buy at any time in town are seeds and food to eat right away at the cafe. 

There are three different kinds of crops: tree crops that can grow any time but will only bear fruit at certain seasons, flowering crops that grow above ground, and root that grow below ground. The only ones I see that made a difference are tree crops as they take up more space and don't need to be watered. Each crop takes different amounts of time to grow so best to keep an eye on what seasons they grow or they may wither away on you.

When a villager's happiness is high enough there will be small events that will play out sometimes giving you the option to pick what to say and sometimes you just read what they say in little cut-scenes that tell you more about that village and who they are. There is also a festival once every month. By doing these you can get closer to the person you are trying to hook up with or if you're already married you can go to the events as a family. Again these are just little cut-scenes other than them asking you to bring food to one and an ingredient to another other I do wish they were a bit more interactive. Even Back to Nature had interactive events every month and more of them than just four.

The game is played in chapters and in the first chapter where you just get started the story wants you to get married by the end of the first year. This is pretty easy by giving gifts to your favorite and then giving them a blue feather that you will get after a bit in the game. There are four seasons in the game and each one counts as a month and is ten days long. These short months help push the story of the game along, but can also come as a surprise to anyone who has played a story of seasons before as months are usually longer. 

Once you get married at the start of your second year you will get a child who starts as a toddler. You can pick if it's a boy, a girl, or either for a random choice. I picked either and got a son who I named Aiden. You can interact with your child and carry them, snuggle, toss and catch them, or sing them a lullaby. You will also be able to buy some toys for your child from Van once he has them in stock. Your wife will also help out with watering the crops a few times and this does come in handy as the second year picks up a bit where you can buy a third and even better field. 

By this time you might have more than one type of cow on the farm each with their own milk type, ducks, chickens, sheep, and goats. So even though things started slowly you may be having more to do once the second year comes up. You will have to watch your stamina, energy, and fullness. By doing things like watering crops your stamina will lower at first. The only way to make this go back up is to eat which will also raise your fullness. Run out and you will pass out for a few hours. After the first year however your home will have a shower and that will restore your stamina. I couldn't figure out what energy was, but it did lower and I could raise it by buying an item from Van.

I was also surprised to find some mini-games thrown into the mix like a strange line game where you try to make triangles and block your opponent from making ones of their own. I was really bad at this! There were a few others too that were easier. It just seems like most of this comes after the first year including new villagers. Also, starting later in the game, you can start to mix seeds and crops with other crops and certain flowers from an interesting NPC. Now you can make new kinds of crops by mixing them with others!

I have played a lot of this game and I can't wait to see even more of what will happen and how my son and family may grow over time. Even though things started slow I was quickly reminded why I loved the GameCube game all those years ago! Story of Seasons is a relaxing, and clean, game that I still love to this day, and it was only made even better by the additions and fixes this updated version made.

Score: 8.5 / 10



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