Doraemon: Story of Seasons - Announcement Trailer | Switch, PC
Who it Caters to
Most of us spent our childhood playing Harvest Moon games, and since then, the farming genre has slowly transformed into a lovely niche. In fact, in the past few years, a lot of new farming video games have seen the light, while Harvest Moon has evolved into Story of Seasons. With this new entry, the franchise not only appeals to its own history but also features one of the most popular characters from the manga and anime world, giving birth to a match that probably none of us could have ever imagined.
Doraemon: Story of Seasons is a game that attracts people just because it features Doraemon, Noby, and their friends, but also because it has almost everything a farming game needs. How about a relaxing adventure in a beautiful town? Time to take care of another farm, you guys!
What to Expect
After finding a mysterious seed that turned out to be a magical, gigantic tree, Noby, Doraemon, Sue, Sneech, and Big G end up in a distant land, dragged by a tremendous storm. To be honest, nobody would bat an eye if the premise of Doraemon: Story of Seasons would have been an anime episode, especially in the times of isekai.
After a lot of introductions, the bunch decides to help the people in this town in gratitude for their hospitality... and because no help is 100% free, after all. This is how you end up with a whole farm at your expense, growing crops, milking cows, fishing, and exploring every corner of Natura town in search of any clue about what happened and how to return home. All in all, this is an updated version of the same old Harvest Moon formula, now with better graphics and the power of crossovers.
The best part of Doraemon: Story of Seasons has to be how it looks. Anime games are known for the cel-shading technique, but blending 3D elements with hand-drawn watercolored backgrounds feels extremely cozy and inviting at the same time. Every cutscene seems straight out of a Doraemon anime episode or OVA, but the Story of Seasons' essence remains untouched.
Even if the gameplay is nothing new, the chosen color palette and the watercoloring give this game a personal feeling that differentiates Doraemon: Story of Seasons from games that went the pixelated or full 3D way, like Stardew Valley or even the upcoming Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town. However, maybe in favor of showcasing such gorgeous landscapes, the game now makes you “pause” the game and navigate the overly saturated menus in order to find information that should be right in the HUD.
If the visual section stands out, we have to say that the sound department just complies with what is fair and necessary. Music loops may very well feel boring after a while, and transitions are never perfect in these games, but at least Doraemon: Story of Seasons has a nice set of background themes. Sure, it's more than safe to assume that this game's soundtrack won't get stuck in your head for years to come, but at least it fulfills its role perfectly.
Another thing to mention is that, regardless of the language you choose to play, every text dialogue has some Japanese voice acting accompanying them, with words and grunts that anime fans will find greatly familiar. Maybe you don't care about that, but we find it to be a nice touch!
Some people say that if you played a farming video game in the past, you've played them all... and sadly, this applies to Doraemon: Story of Seasons. It would certainly be unfair to compare it with more innovative games like the aforementioned Stardew Valley, but this game doesn't even bring new mechanics to the Story of Seasons franchise itself. Wait, in fact, there is one revolutionary element: you are not inheriting your grandfather's farm!
In Doraemon: Story of Seasons, all months have 30 days, and 1 second IRL equals 1 minute in-game. However, you can always take a nap and skip a few in-game hours if you want to, or just go back to your house and sleep until the next day. In terms of mechanics, it plays just like you'd imagine. You need to grow your crops, sell them to earn money, invest your coins in more seeds, buy animals and sell their products, help the people in town until you're friends with them to access to some new areas or events, attend the town festivals and participate in all the contests, help/save the town's harvest sprites (in this case, the Koropokkur), do some mining and fishing, expand your house, craft some goods, help the Goddess, etc.
The new element to it is that since Doraemon is one of the main characters, his gadgets are an important part of the gameplay, and being in an unknown land, returning home is your ultimate goal and what moves the plot forward. Like in any other farming game, however, you have the option to take your time and play at your own pace, but you can also go for a min-maxing approach! Would you rather finish the story and go back to your home, or just settle in your new farm and amass a vast fortune?
While the Switch version feels just like playing Harvest Moon back in the Game Boy era, using a keyboard and mouse configuration in the PC version of Doraemon: Story of Seasons feels weird, uncomfortable, and hard to get used to, so playing it with an Xbox controller is very much recommended. Another uncomfortable aspect of the game is the lack of some extremely valuable information that used to be there in all the farming games, like a stamina bar or your amount of coins (things that you can find by opening the menu... an avoidable extra step). Then again, this is not innovative; if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Doraemon: Story of Seasons can be defined as a remake of the old Harvest Moon games, but nobody would be surprised if this was nothing but a fan-made mod. We agree that it looks beautifully current on the outside, but the core mechanics tend to feel outdated and boring at times, with the addition of Doraemon and friends as a lovely gimmick. Other farming games have a lot of secrets and mechanics that keep you hooked for in-game decades, and even the old Harvest Moon classics are fun to revisit; Doraemon: Story of Seasons, on the other hand, is one of those games that very few will still play after one or two years of farming with Noby.
A beautiful game, and the anime art-style fits it perfectly.
Simple gameplay for kids, but grown ups new to the genre will enjoy it too now it features some of our childhood heroes.
Playing it with a mouse and keyboard is rather chaotic at first.
Sometimes events and cinematics feel too overwhelming, although you can skip most of them. The intro and tutorial are like an hour long!
Nothing new to the genre other than featuring a world famous franchise like Doraemon.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Franchise milking is not new, but the fact that Doraemon: Story of Seasons brings nothing innovative to the table is hard to avoid, even more so when Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town (a remake of one of the best games in the series) is just around the corner.
Farming games have evolved a lot, and this game could have taken advantage of that. On the bright side, this is still a pretty good game for those that are not too picky or just want to try out their first farming simulation video game. Oh, and let’s not forget that this is, in fact, our first anime crossover in the Story of Seasons franchise, considering how Hamtaro was exclusive to the Japanese version of Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns.
So, have you tried Doraemon: Story of Seasons already? Let us know in the comments what’s your opinion!
Author: Rod Locksley
Hey! I'm Rod, and when I'm not watching anime or playing video games I'm probably writing about them, but I'm also a graphic and web designer, and I even published a comic book and worked like 4 years for a well-known MMORPG. Curiously, my favorite series are quite different from each other, so I'm still trying to understand what I really like in an anime...