SoS: Pioneers of Olive Town Review

My Rating

  • Graphics 8/10
  • Content 4/10
  • Story 4/10
  • Mechanics 6/10
  • Total: 5.5/10

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is the latest release in the “Story of Seasons” franchise. If you are unfamiliar with Story of Seasons, it used to be Harvest Moon, but something happened and the makers of Harvest moon split ways, and now there’s two glorious farming/life sim franchises budding from the same precious seed.

I snagged it while it was on sale on steam about a week ago. And… I mean, I’m glad I did. I love story of Seasons. I’ve been on board with these games since the first SNES release a million years ago. I’ve been a big fan of some, and barely touched others (I’m looking at you, Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley.) but this one… This one is nice and snug in the middle.

I liked it in the same way you like getting cute fuzzy socks for Christmas when you were really hoping for a new Kindle. They look nice, and having warm feet is good, but they’re way too bulky to fit in my shoes, so I’ll probably only whip em out when everything else is dirty.

It’s a cute game. It has the typical story of seasons feel, all the typical mechanics those of us who know the games well expect. You can fish, you can marry any of the designated marry-able bachelors or bachelorettes regardless of your character’s gender. You can wear anything or any hairstyle regardless of their gender too, which, I mean, took them long enough, but I’m glad they’ve finally abandoned hetero restrictions. You can raise a nice variety of livestock and expand your farm through a cool, more natural system.

However, this game lacks a lot of shit that’s become standard in the life/farm sim genre. Especially with all the new competitors popping up. Stardew valley, for example, that abandoned the pretty graphics in favour of rich story and heaps of content (though I wish I could have both). Another awesome example that I had a lot of fun with was My Time at Portia. MTAP may have felt a little clunky with the animation and voice acting but took the established formulas of two different genres: farm sims and crafting survival games, and smooshed them together and made something that felt incredibly fresh and BIG.

Compared to those games, and even past Story of Seasons titles, the “Pioneers of Olive Town” world feels small. Literally, the map feels small. It feels like there’s less to explore. The festivals are lackluster. Only a couple of them actually make you do anything to participate. The story itself is sweet and wholesome as you expect from this company, but there’s not much to it. I completed the main quests before the end of my first year, which is unusual for my first playthrough of a Story of Seasons game. There’s no purpose to the things you’re doing on your farm besides selling and collecting materials to upgrade. And the personalities of the NPCs don’t vary from each other a whole lot. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between Jack and Damon for the first few days.

I don’t know if I’m going to keep playing. I got Pillars of Eternity 2 at the same time so maybe I’ll try that out while I wait and hope that future updates bring a nice big chunk of content for Pioneers of Olive Town, because I want to love this game so damn much. I believe a small bundle of content was added yesterday, with a few added quests, and it’s not like Stardew was perfect from day one, right? Riight?? No, seriously, I’m asking you — I got a shit memory.

For those of you who love the Story of Seasons Franchise, I tentatively recommend it provided you can get it on sale. Judging by the reviews on steam, a lot of SoS fans really loved it, so maybe you will too, and despite all my whining, I did not hate it. I liked it. Like fuzzy socks, remember?

Hey I managed to go a whole blog post without saying ‘fuck’! 😁

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