STORY OF SEASONS: Pioneers of Olive Town - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch
Who it Caters to
Some people like action games, others go after thrilling competitive online experiences, and of course, many of us love a compelling narrative-driven adventure. But hey, sometimes we just need an escape, and what better than living a simpler life in a friendly community?
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is a recommended starting point for farming newcomers and a decent addition to the Story of Seasons series. Olive Town has a lot to offer, and you for sure have a lot to offer back. The challenges of rebuilding a dilapidated farm and bringing more tourists to this lovely town are waiting for you—and don't forget you could find the love of your life, too!
What to Expect
Pioneers of Olive Town is the latest addition to the Story of Seasons saga, a series of farming video games developed by Marvelous, the original creators of the classic Harvest Moon titles. By now, you probably know how these games go, but here's a brief explanation just in case: you inherit an abandoned farm, you meet new people from a nearby small town, and just like that, you start a second life, selling crops, fishing and mining to make money, taking care of cute animals, but also making friends and falling in love with a lucky bachelor or bachelorette.
It's a nice opportunity to sit back and relax, enjoying the benefits of a slow yet wholesome life outside the big city. Feeling adventurous already?
We love how Pioneers of Olive Town looks, and that's probably one of this game's big selling points. From the menus to the character models, completely in 3D, everything looks colorful and cartoony enough to give you a cheerful feeling while also giving you enough details to stand out in the ocean of farming games and mobile knock-offs. Maybe the character animations are not the best, and we have to say the lack of character portraits takes away some depth from them, but they all look and feel exactly as you would expect in a Story of Seasons game—less is more, and that's a rule.
This is more on the gameplay side of things, but Pioneers of Olive Town features an in-game camera mode that allows you to explore the region in first-person mode, perfect for admiring the beauty of nature!
You know we're always honest about things, and this won't be the exception. Pioneers of Olive Town's background music is suitable and varied but far from being memorable. There are several Story of Seasons games with better soundtracks that invite you to hum while playing—after turning off the console, even. Sadly, that wasn't the case for us... but maybe it could be different for you? Another hit or miss element is the voice acting, which instead of fully adapting the text to convey the characters' emotions, just repeats random lines over and over again. All that being said, sound effects are on point, so that kinda compensates to make you appreciate your time on the farm.
After inheriting their grandparent's farm, the protagonist abandons the big city and moves to a tent in the woods near Olive Town. As always, your goal is to bring this farm back to life, but this time things won't be that easy. Unlike other games, in Pioneers of Olive Town, you first need to gather enough resources to repair dilapidated buildings. That's right. Forget about making money to construct a barn, stable, and everything; all structures are already there, for better or worse. Another thing that changes is how you obtain your livestock. Just like these buildings, some tamable animals roam the farm area, so it's all about finding them a place instead of spending money on them. Of course, you can upgrade your buildings and acquire more animals—actually, you have to buy a dog as soon as possible if you don't want to miss the first pet event—but at least you don't start with an empty farm, wasting several days with nothing to do other than watering your first crops.
Something really cool about Pioneers of Olive Town is the skills system, directly related to the crafting feature. As you take care of your farming duties, you level up 12 available skills, slowly unlocking crafting recipes to customize your farm and make it more efficient. You can create machines that process raw materials, house decorations, and even jewelry for better gifts or extra profit. Some are easier to level up than others, and some are not available until later on, like beekeeping. This gives more value to everything you do while also encouraging you to try different approaches to farming, instead of just min-maxing or only talking to your soon-to-be spouse.
Your farm is not the only thing you need to take care of, though. Victor, Olive Town's mayor and an old friend of your deceased grandfather, will ask for help to help develop Olive Town and attract more tourists. Other than adding quests and rewards, it also helps make Olive Town feel more alive. It's not like there are not enough people to chit-chat, nonetheless; with over 30 characters and 10 romanceable options—same-sex couples are a thing, and your body type or clothes won't define who you are—there's always someone to talk to!
For those who fancy something more challenging, there are 3 mines and secret areas to conquer, a few minigames involving the sprites, and several events where you can participate and compete against your neighbors. Also, product quality/rarity is back, so if you enjoy that aspect of the game, you can spend your time running tests and improving your farming facilities for perfect goods.
Oh, and if you're proud of your farm or just need some tips and ideas, the online feature allows you to visit other people's farms!
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is not perfect, but it features several QoL improvements to make things easier or more interesting from a gameplay perspective. We love farming games, and we were so looking forward to this game. For those who always like comparing franchises, let's say Pioneers of Olive Town is more in line with the history of Harvest Moon, so most of you will definitely say it's better than Harvest Moon: One World; it's just different, though. We enjoyed both! Although yes, for what it's worth, we had more fun with PoOT...
Customization! We love crafting and decorating, but also comissioning new clothes and costumes.
We went for Blaire, the wannabe celebrity, but all marriage candidates are interesting in their own way.
It feels like a Story of Seasons game should, while also bringing new things to the table.
The soundtrack and narrative could be way better. Don't be shy to use fully voiced dialogues!
The lack of character portraits and the weird camera angles, but at least the devs are working on a patch.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Like we mentioned before, we were looking forward to this game, and it didn't disappoint us. Now we got married and have a monster farm up and running, it's time to try new things! Word of advice: being single is okay, especially with more marriage candidates coming soon!
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is out now, exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.
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...