A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is a farm simulation role-playing game available for Nintendo Switch and Windows-based PCs. The game is an expanded remake of two previously released Harvest Moon titles on the Game Boy Advance. Players inherit a rundown farm from their grandfather and must work to restore it to a fully functional farm, complete with crops, livestock, etc. Characters work together as part of a community, offering help and friendship at every turn. The game can be complicated to learn, especially for younger players. There are also some scenes of alcohol use, as well as mildly suggestive lines of dialogue.
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What's it about?
STORY OF SEASONS: FRIENDS OF MINERAL TOWN takes players away from the bustling city streets and in to the fresh air and open spaces of Mineral Town. It's been 20 years since your last visit to the rural farming community, which was a happy memory of a childhood vacation to visit your grandfather. After your grandfather's passing, you return to Mineral Town after discovering that he's left his farm and its legacy to you. It's going to take a lot of hard work and dedication to restore the rundown land back to being fully functional farmland. There's debris to clear, seeds to plant, livestock to care for, and chores to complete, all with only so many hours in the day. Thankfully, you don't have to go through this alone. You're a part of the Mineral Town community now, and this is a place where everyone comes together. It's a new life with new responsibilities and many new rewards. Who knows? You might even find love in this new life, laying the foundation for a family of your own.
Is it any good?
If there's one lesson to learn from the Story of Seasons games (as well as the Harvest Moon games before it), it's that farm life is a lot of hard work. Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is no different, with a heavy focus on the daily grind of cultivating and maintaining your farm. The game is an irritatingly slow burn with limited options, especially in the beginning stages of the story. The biggest obstacle in these early moments is the player's stamina gauge. It's frustrating to wake up at the crack of dawn and attempt to clear out some debris to make usable land, only to be worn out and on the verge of collapse by lunchtime. Eventually, players are able to extend their workdays through careful planning and by restoring stamina with certain food and drink. But by and large, it's a long grind to feel like any real headway is getting made.
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is a remake of two earlier games previously released on Nintendo's Game Boy Advance system. As a result, it feels much smaller than expected, which is particularly ironic considering how long it takes to make much progress. Mineral Town, while populated with some interesting characters, is little more than a claustrophobic two or three city blocks and a town square. Interacting with characters means catching them at just the right time at home or stumbling into them on the sidewalks. After a while, the available options and stories of the characters open up a bit more, giving the player more to do to break up the monotony of the daily routine. Much like life on the farm, this is a game where the real rewards are harvested well after the seeds of repetition and exasperation have been sown.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about building a community. How can kids help to contribute to a strong community? What are some of the benefits to being a part of a positive community?
How do farms benefit us in our daily lives? What can games like the Story of Seasons series teach kids about the work and care required to run a farm?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Windows
- Subjects: Science: animals, plants
- Skills: Self-Direction: time management
Communication: friendship building
- Price: $49.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: XSEED
- Release date: July 14, 2020
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Cooking and Baking, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Horses and Farm Animals, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Comic Mischief, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol
- Last updated: July 27, 2020
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