Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town by Xseed Games is the 5th entry into the Story of Seasons franchise (previously called Harvest Moon) and celebrates a massive 25 years of the series. Over the last 25 years the series, as well as casual farming sims in general, have gone from strength to strength. Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town ( SosPooT from here on in. I can’t be bothered typing that name out every time 🙂 ) has a strong pedigree to fall back on but being the 25th-anniversary release obviously carries some serious pressure. So does SoSPooT live up to its expectations?
Your entire life you have dreamed of living the kind of life your grandfather did. A pioneer, building a town out of the wildness, growing food from the soil, taming wild creatures to produce food and using the fruits of labour to build a town and a community. After years of dreaming you decide to set off for Olive Town and take over your grandfather’s farm and become a member of those brave pioneers of Olive Town.
After undertaking an arduous journey that all but destroys your trusty little moped. You rock up to your grandfather’s farm to find it a dilapidated (surprise surprise!), overgrown mess. Well, you wanted to get your hands dirty so now is your chance. Can you rebuild your grandfather’s farm and in the process bring tourists and prosperity to Olive Town?
Starting with nothing but a few tools, such as an axe, hoe and watering can you undertake the massive task ahead of you. Can you restore the farm to its former glory? Can you rejuvenate Olive Town and bring in the much lusted after tourists? Maybe, just maybe you will even find a Husband or Wife?
SoSPooT has a wonderful, cutesy, cartoon style to it that is so chilled and relaxing. Everything in SoSPooT is visually calming. Soft palettes combined with gentle music make for a great calming experience.
Probably the biggest graphical thing of note is just how damn adorable the animals are. Seriously they are adorable! While the rabbit, to be fair, looks like the scribbling of a 5-year-old after awakening from a sustained fever dream, The cow is, without doubt, the absolute cutest! From its oversized face to the little bell tied to its tail. Everything about it just screams plush doll. Yet Marvelous and Xseed, unfortunately, have no plans to release a plushie range as was confirmed in my interview with Decibel PR director Sam Brace.
As you would come to expect from a game within the casual farming genre SoSPooT is a calming relaxing experience. It is a satisfy and fulfilling grind that unlocks at a rather decent pace. There is no combat of any kind. You are here to master the world around you not kick its teeth in and submit it to your will. In fact quite the opposite. SoSPooT looks like a simple farming sim on the surface but in just a few weeks in-game time and magical secrets start to unlock.
At first, it begins with small cutscenes at the beginning of the day that has absolutely no context of explanation to them. Rather than being frustrating these are quite intriguing and pique your interest in what the game is teasing to come.
I won’t go into too much detail here for the sake of spoilers but SoSPooT at its core is a wonderful message of how much can be achieved when mankind work in harmony with nature rather than against it. That been said it doesn’t stop me from forgoing any and all decorations on my farm and essential strip farming the land on an industrial scale…but that’s just me.
Everything in SoSPoot is dictated by your skills, Whether it is farming, animal care, draining or cooking. Each time you level up a skill, (which is quite fast to be fair) you gain new items to craft and new bonus such as increased quantities from crops or less stamina used when mining. The balance between grind and progression is set perfectly to be fair. You level up skills at a decent pace yet not too quick to feel like you haven’t earned it.
Outside of farming, there are a whole host of characters that reside in Olive Town for you to build and cultivate relationships with. Some a marriageable and some are not. Each one has there own special cut scenes and interactions. Whilst the dialogue from them can become annoying and repetitive the fact there is such a wide gallery of people to talk to and get to know will always keep you busy.
The characters range vastly in their personalities too. From the weird mayor of the town to the wannabe pirate who runs the hotel, The overly friendly tour guide that welcomes tourists to your town to the town mechanic who in his spare time likes to dress up as a cow for reasons I am yet to discover.
SoSPoot is full of locations to discover and visit. activities to carry out and secrets to unlock. For a game that is so chilled and relaxed, there is a hell of a lot of content.
I have genuinely loved my time with SoSPooT. The game is so wonderfully charming and relaxing. On a personal note, it made my recent stay in the hospital bearable! There are some minor issues with the game running on the Nintendo Switch switch such as freezing for a second or two when travelling across your farm. Even more so as your farm becomes more and more full.
Load times can be a bit long but at the end of the day, this is the Nintendo Switch and not a powerful next-gen console. Speaking of the Switch, it is the perfect home for SoSPoot. A charming, wonderful relaxing game that can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere.
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is quite simply a delight to revel in. Hours can be lost so easy as you tend to your ridiculously cute animals, unlock the secrets of the sprites and restore this former frontier town into a tourist hotspot.