Rune Factory 3 Special - Switch Review

Rune Factory 3 Special by developer Marvelous Inc. and publisher Marvelous, XSEED GamesNintendo Switch review written by Jim with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

We here at Chalgyr really like the Rune Factory games. Just go check out Pierre-Yves's Switch review of Rune Factory 5, Natasha's PC review, and Nick's Rune Factory 4 Special Xbox One review. I haven't actually played a Rune Factory game since Tides of Destiny on the PS3 but being a fan of Story of Seasons and other such games, I was really excited to try this remake out.

When starting the game like most of these games I have to pick a name for the character, I went with the default Micah. There is no option to play as a female in this game, so for some that may be a bummer. After picking a name I had to put a birthday in for Micah and away I went. Micah is an amnesiac who also happens to be half monster. One of the villagers named Shara finds Micah while he is in monster form and hurt outside. Micah is part Wooly, a sheep-type monster, who is one of the cutest monsters in the games. Shara decided to bring Micah inside and nurse him back to health. Micah wakes up shortly after as a human while no one is around and leaves Shara's house. Shara ends up seeing human Micah and asks if he is a traveler. After explaining he can't remember anything other than his name she and the village elder, Shara's grandfather let Micah stay in the village.

Micah is given a home inside the Sharance Tree and under the tree is a field for farming. After the game goes through all the tutorials on how to farm Micah will have his first fight using a hoe to attack. After beating the first few monsters who attack Micah will be given a choice of a few different kinds of weapons. I went for the two-handed sword but found out it wasn't for me as it was just too slow. I later switched to dual swords and they are much faster and stuck with them for the rest of the game.

There are four different dungeons in the game. One for each season and each with its own boss who after beating Micah gets some of his memories back. After beating the first boss Micah will be able to switch back and forth from his human and wooly forms. Micah must still keep the fact that he is a half-monster a secret so he must make sure he doesn't transform in front of anyone.

While trying to get his memories back Micah also can farm. Micah will be given the tools needed to start farming and from there he can buy seeds from the store in the village or find a few hidden under grasses and weeds that grow in the fields. Micah can grow veggies, fruits, and flowers. Micah can keep, sell, or craft with these. Everything you grow will have a level. The higher the level the better the crop is. There are items Micah can buy or craft to help raise the levels of crops. Micah can eventually buy a kitchen and kitchen tools to cook, a furnace to make and upgrade weapons and farming tools, an apothecary set to make potions and healing items, and a crafting table to make accessories that Micah can wear to boost stats. Micah will need items he finds from defeating monsters, farming, and mining to use for these.

Once Micah has a barn he can become friends with monsters by giving them food. A home-cooked meal works best and by doing this Micah can get byproducts from them like milk, eggs, wool, and other things needed for crafting. Micah can also find these by fighting monsters and they will sometimes drop the item but raising them himself can give you a better quality item.

The rate Micah can get money from selling things seemed to be just right as the pacing of the game seemed just right for me. It is an RPG so there was enough to do as Micah will get requests from the villagers through a bulletin board, Micah's mailbox, and later an owl. Finishing these quests will get you closer to the villagers and Micah will sometimes get a reward from items to money. It's a good idea to take on quests for the girl you like best as there are eleven bachelorettes. All of the characters are charming, even the non-bachelorettes. I enjoyed each one's story from the secrets one might have to just the silly moments you can have with them.

Everything Micah does in the game has a level and as his levels go up the better he will be at things or the more health or RP he will have. Lots of things cost RP: using tools, weapons, and magic. It all takes RP so leveling up lots of things is a good idea. It is easy enough to do though as there really is a level for everything in this game such as sleeping, eating, using tools, crafting, cooking, fishing, you name it there is probably a way to raise the level of it by doing it.

Every in-game month is a season and each lasts thirty days. In that season there will be birthdays that Micah will learn as he speaks and becomes friends with the villagers. Giving someone a gift that they like on their birthday will greatly raise the level of friendship with that person. There are also multiple festivals in a season from fishing, and harvest festivals, to ones with mini-games. These give a nice break from normal farming and adventuring. Winning one of the festivals will reward Micah with items though it always seemed to be cooking bread. Buying or earning recipe bread is how Micah learns new crafting or cooking recipes if his level is high enough.

Once Micah picks the woman he loves he can propose to her and then Micah will be on his last quest. Even after this quest and the credits roll the game doesn't end. There will just be no more story content after. Micah will have a wife living with him and can continue to farm, adventure, and finish any requests from the villagers. The quest on the bulletin board will be random daily. Micah can only do one request at a time and only one type of each request. So, Micah can do one bulletin, one mailbox, and one owl request per day.

One of the things Micah can do is go on what the game calls adventures. There will be a list to pick where Micah should go and each with a recommended level. Micah can get some decent loot from doing these but they can be challenging as the level layouts are always random and if Micah isn't at a high enough level he can get beat easily. Every adventure ends with a tough boss fight. These adventures do nothing to advance a story but they are fun to try out.

Micah can bring along a monster friend or a human friend to help out when you go out. They will level up as you and they defeat enemies. I got around to beating the game without them but you can also invite one of the ladies you like on a date and bring them to one of four romantic locations.

The gameplay is smooth but there are some frame rate drops in certain areas mostly in the fields. For me, there were a few spots that did it and since this is a remake of a Nintendo DS game I think the Switch would be strong enough to handle the game. Other than that one issue I really enjoyed the rest of the game. The music was good, the graphics were good when there were no frame rate issues, the real-time fighting was fun, and the characters were all unique. I loved learning about each one and then had a hard time picking a girl for Micah.

Once the game is beaten, the newlywed mode will be unlocked. This gives you a short story with each one of the bachelorettes after Micah gets married to them. They are short but fun little side stories but they end way too fast. I beat one of them in less than an hour though there are eleven of them and they all unlock no matter who Micah married in the main game. I also thought it was funny when in newlywed mode I picked the wife Micah married in my main game and some of the other female characters were asking if she and Micah had done anything 'kinky.' I wasn't expecting that from this game!

Overall I loved Rune Factory 3 Special and I am not sure how I missed out on it on the DS. I am glad it was remade on the Switch and even though I beat the story I will keep playing. It was a truly charming story with good pacing and fun to play. It felt like the length of the game was just right, long enough to feel like an RPG but not so long that it takes a lifetime to beat. The frame rate issue was the only annoyance but even with that I really liked this game.

Score: 8.75 / 10



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